The remote that isn't

In the last week, the effective range for the remote to my DVD player has been limited to about three feet. This reduces its utility considerably.

I’ve wiped off the faceplate on the player to make sure it wasn’t dusty, and swiped my thumb over the exposed IRED on the remote to no avail.

I didn’t figure the batteries would make a difference – it’s not like the emitter dims if the voltage drops a bit – but I replaced them anyway. Nope.

Anybody have any thoughts on what else might be the problem?

I know you don’t want to hear this but, worse case scenario - both emitter and receiver are failing.

Cite: Stormtroopers by Stern
There were two LED switches, one with the components near and another with the components afar.
The afar ones did not work. Swapped components to test.

(Near) NE NR
(Far)  FE FR

(Near) NE FR
(Far)  FE NR

(Near) FE FR
(Far)  NE NR

(Near) FE NR
(Far)  NE FR

(Near) FE FR
(Far)  NE NR

Every combination worked except

(Far)  FE FR

So, buy an off the shelf remote, program it for your DVD player and test.
If it doesn’t work, break out your soldering iron.

There’s a chance there’s IR interference in the room. Some units, when they sense multiple IR signals, just don’t do anything. The reason it works when you get close is becuase your body is blocking one of the signals. You can check for this by using a digital camera. Here’s how, take the camera, turn it on. Now, while looking at the LCD camera (this won’t work with an SLR) point the DVD remote at the lens and hit a button. Does the end of the remote look like it has a little light bulb. Good, that’s the IR bulb. Now look around the room for another. BTW this won’t work with all cameras.
Check the common culprit, the couch cushions. If a remote slips between the cushions, often times it will land just right so that not only is the end of it sticking just barley out the front, but also a button is being pushed.

This is where I would start, your symptoms describe this problem.

Good thinking, Joey P but the DVD player’s remote is the only significant one in the room. The TV’s tuner died years ago so it’s really a monitor now, and the remote is in a drawer somewhere. I doubt the batteries in it are alive. The only other remote is the one for the CD player, and it’s sitting on top of the player.

I did do the camera-test and at a range of an arm’s length, the DVD remote shows up fine. I then stood by the player and did a slow room scan – no flashes.

Will Repair, I’m not grasping what you’re trying to tell me. Are you saying there are two emitters and receivers, one set for near and one set for far? I’m peering at the business end of the remote and I can see one tiny chip on the other side of the clear lens. The receiver is hidden behind the plastic front, presumably on one side or the other of the display. Or did Stormtrooper have two sets of gear?

Years ago, I had a remote that was failing like that. I opened it up, and inside I found a potentiometer that was hand-adjustable. I just turned it up and the remote worked fine again.

N6. Saying that both transmitter and receiver may be bad. You need a remote to test.