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Apple TV, Harmony Remote & Xantech Xtra Link

March 27, 2007

Apple TVI’m as much of a gadget geek as the next blogger, but even I get fed up with clutter after awhile.

The last go-round configuring my media center ended up with only the TV, speakers, and a Xantech Xtra Link sensor out in the room, and all of the componentry stashed in a closet behind.

A Logitech Harmony 880 remote replaced the box o’ remotes, and communicates with the gear in the closet via the Xtra Link (an infrared remote extender).

Naturally, when I hooked up the Apple TV, it got wired into the closet too, with an IR emitter stickied to the front of it over the IR window.

After getting the basics working, this made the next order of business adding it to the Harmony 880, which is where things began to go a bit awry…


Not surprisingly, Logitech doesn’t have support for the Apple TV up on the Harmony site yet. This isn’t a show stopper — it’s essentially a Front Row remote as seen on recent Macs, so we can add it as a Mac Mini, and go from there (there’s an excellent run-down on how to do this here).

This works brilliantly — as long as I point the Harmony at the Apple TV. It doesn’t work in the slightest if I attempt to use it through the IR extender.

Which is a puzzler, since the Apple Remote works through the IR extender. It’s a little sensitive to being pointed right at the sensor, however, which most of my remotes aren’t.

I’m a little baffled by this — perhaps it’s a combination of the Harmony frequency being a little off from what the Apple TV wants, and the Xantech repeater frequency being a little off also? Just enough so that either alone will work, but not both together? Or maybe it’s a timing issue?

I ran out of time to figure this one out last night, but I’ll keep hacking away at it — if anyone has any ideas, though, I’d love to hear them…

[tags]Apple, Apple TV, Mac, Digital Video, Logitech, Harmony, Xantech, Xtra Link[/tags]

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3 Responses to “Apple TV, Harmony Remote & Xantech Xtra Link”

  1. Steve on March 22nd, 2008 1:49 am

    Wow, I’ve got the exact SAME PROBLEM using a Universal MX-980 shooting at a Xantech IR reciever. Apple remote works perfect….980 is a hit and miss.

    It almost seems like a sensitivity issue. Wierd…have you come up with a solution? This post is a year old!

  2. Chuck Lawson on March 22nd, 2008 9:56 am

    Interestingly, the problem has sorted itself out over the past few months. In that time, I’ve upgraded the Apple TV to version 2.0, and I’ve re-loaded the software on the Harmony 880 once or twice, and I’m kind of assuming that one of those has made a difference.

    Just a wild-ass guess on my part, but I wonder if Harmony didn’t have the frequency or timings of their Apple remote emulator just a little off at first, to the point where it was fairly close when used directly, but the problem was magnified going through the Xantech.

    In any event, it seems to be working well now…

  3. Steve on March 22nd, 2008 12:36 pm

    Hmmm, ok…glad you’re working now. Not me. I agree…it may be a timing issue because I notice how much slower the codes are sent to the ATV when I punch the keys repeatedly on the 980 remote as compared to the original, which seem to be very quick bursts.

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