Why doesn't my remote control extender work with the new cable box?

In our living room I have a home theater set up including DVD/VCR and a digital cable box. I have the outputs wired through the wall to a small television set in our bedroom so we can watch movies or digital cable while lying in bed.

I have a remote control extender called “EZ Remote” to control the devices from the other room. Rather than using radio waves it passes the signal through the electrical system to an output sensor that sends the IR signal out to the devices.
It works well.

At least it did. Recently the cable company gave me a new box with a DVR. My old remote works on it, I didn’t even have to reprogram it. But for some reason it will not work with the remote control extender. The DVD/VCR still respond so I know it’s not the extender malfunctioning.

This doesn’t make any sense. I’m using the same exact remote as the old box. The remote works on the new box perfectly while in the living room. But it will not respond when used with the extender. One thing, though. When watching the TV in the bedroom if I try to change the channel using the remote control extender there is a slight wiggle in the screen. So the box must be receiving some kind of signal. Why isn’t it responding?

Is the new remote/box IR, RF or (increasingly common) Bluetooth?

It’s IR, same as the old box. And the remote is specifically a Time-Warner remote.

If you’re sure that the link is IR and that the old remote works on the new box when in the same room… not a clue. I’ve done a lot of work with IR/RF remote (and, showing my age, US) and the only thing I can think of is that the IR amp/discriminator in the new box is fussier.

Have you tried using the remote that came with the new box?

Most likely angle. The new box’s receiver is more fussy about angle. Did you try your remove control from the same angle and distance as the extender’s sender ? Well something about the extender is not good enough.
The wiggle ? That’s your eye moving…
eg moving in expectation of seeing the channel change.
You move your head but your eye is else being moved, so when you stop moving your head your eye corrects again. You think you made one smooth move, but your eye is zip zap zip ! Or it might be the stress in your body sending vibrations through the eye…The jaw clenching can do it.

The box did not come with a new remote. When I swapped the boxes out they told me I could use the same remote. And when I’m in the living room the old remote works perfectly.

No, and NO!

The receiver sensors are right up to the IR sensor on the box, and we fooled around with it for a long time. Has nothing to do with angle.

And this suggestion that it’s just my eyes is absurd. While it’s slight it is still noticeable. And 2 other people noticed it. When I push the channel button of the remote to the transceiver module of the extender there is a wiggle in the picture. So the box is getting “something” from from the remote control extender. I tried it with other, unrelated remotes and got nothing, so it must be sensing something from the correct remote. it’s not just responding to random IR singals. Yet won’t respond to the command from the correct remote.

This is perplexing! And it’s going to screw us up as we like lying in bed watching digital cable. We’d like to continue doing that without having to rent another box.

I’ve contemplated buying a different remote control extender, but in the past I’ve used those that worked on radio waves and they worked like crap! This one has always worked well, and for the DVD/VCR it still is working well.

How old is the EZ Remote? Some newer devices use higher-frequency modulation (ie: they transmit shorter pulses of light) and older universal or learning remotes just can’t keep up.

Older remotes ran at 36-40 KHz, but newer ones are zipping along at 56 KHz and beyond.

I considered this in my reply, but read carefully: the OP is using the same remote and the new box is responding properly to it in the room. It seems unlikely that the remote is transmitting on more than one carrier frequency (that is, 40kHz that the old box read and 56kHz for the new one).

I’ve had a number of remote extenders because I prefer to hide the video stack in an adjacent closet or cabinet and not stare at the bridge of the USS Enterprise while watching movies. Even the best of them is quirky and erratic; the ones that use carrier-current communication are much more so.

I’d go to an RF-based system, which is usual for distributed video watching these days.

Is it possible the IR sensor in the new cable box is more sensitive than the old one, and is picking up both the direct (reflected) signal from the remote and the signal from the extender? I wonder if that could cause enough distortion in the signal to make it not work.

The “EZ Remote” is the remote extender unit, not the remote itself. It consists of a small box that pugs into an outlet. A small sensor is placed near the television in our bedroom. Another small box is plugged in near the cable box in the living room small sensors are set up near the DVD/VCR and cable box. The device sends the signal from the remote to the living room sensors via my house electrical system. This allows me to control them while in my bedroom. I have the outputs of these devices feed through the wall and into the input of a small TV in my bedroom. This allows us to watch digital cable TV and DVD/VHS in bed without having to buy another DVD/VHS unit nor rent another cable box. All those devices would also clutter up the small dresser the TV in the bedroom sits on.

I’d link a picture of the EX Remote, but I can’t find one. Perhaps they don’t make it anymore. But I’ve had it for years and until now it’s worked fantastic (it still works great with the DVD/VCR).

The EZ Remote is, as you say, an older unit and not a particularly pricey one. All remote extenders have shared problems; retransmitting the IR signals, whether they are digitally reconstituted or not, leads to waveform blurring and errors. Using the AC lines as the transmission medium (carrier-current) has limitations of its own.

It would be easy to say the device is just outdated if it did not work with a new remote/unit. Why it will not work with an existing remote and new (theoretically identical) box is puzzling, but there are many subtleties to IR signal transmission and decoding, any of which might be causing the problem. Perhaps the new box is more demanding and needs a cleaner IR signal, which the distortion of the EZ Remote just misses. Perhaps the new box has a new remote that will work better - ask your cable company about getting a new one that precisely matches the new box, not one years old that is just “compatible.”

Other than that, you may just need a newer and more capable extender. Or, as I suggested, an RF remote that will reach an RF-to-IR receiver.

Some IR extenders also have little “spider leads” that you can glue right to the receiver point on each piece of equipment (as opposed to using one “blaster” that tries to hit all of them in one fan). If yours has that option, try it.

Recently I bought an IR extender and I did not even find one that works through the house electrical circuits. I suspect that, as others have said, it just doesn’t work very well, and your luck just ran out. It is clear that what comes out of that system is not the same as what goes in. Your old box tolerated the difference, the new one does not.

I will offer a few WAGs as to what might solve your problem;
Replace the batteries in your remote. I’ll bet you already did this.
Time Warner uses many different boxes. Ask them for another brand, or better yet, go to the store (do they have stores?) and experiment with your system.

You say that you have the outputs wired through the wall. Could you run another line through the wall for a more traditional IR blaster? They are cheaper than the wireless models and more reliable. I paid about $35 for mine (I don’t remember exactly what brand I got). BTW, this is what I would do. It has the highest probability of working properly (imho). I find that looking for solutions to problems like this suck down more time than I am comfortable giving up. I used to like troubleshooting, but it has gotten tiresome. I’m not sure whether the problems have gotten more numerous and complicated or I have gotten older and stupider. Probably both.

So I tried everything, assorted IR blasters and such. Nothing worked.

I kept testing my EZ Remote control extender and it continued to work on everything except the cable box. I bought a set of TERK remote control extenders for $39, was sure they wouldn’t work but I could always take them back to the store.

Lo and behold the damned things work! We can change the channel again in the bed room! It also allows me to use my Sony Glasstron
again, which lets me watch TV in bed without disturbing my wife.

Now why do the TERK units work on the cable box when my old workhorse EZ Remote won’t?:confused: