Weekly column: Infrared remote enables 2-room TV use, Canon SD4500IS

Originally published second week of December 2011

Q. I have a 42-inch plasma TV monitor that does not have a TV tuner. I used to hook it up to a cable DVR, which cost an extra $15 a month on my cable bill. Since I did not use it often, I returned the DVR to the cable company to save the $15 a month. Now the question is: How can I get TV signal to this monitor?

Can I buy a TV tuner or a DVR with a TV tuner and feed it with an HD antenna? The other option is to hook it up to the cable DVR in the family room just on the other side of the same wall on which the monitor is installed. The problem is that I need to walk out to the family room if I need to change channel, etc. What do you think I should do?

-KWOK CHENG, Vallejo, Calif.

A. You can get a component with a tuner and connect it to the monitor, but I do not think that is the best solution. How about a solution that provides full functionality of your family room cable DVR, without being in the family room?

What I suggest is connecting the monitor to the DVR in the family room but using an infrared remote repeater to control it. An infrared remote repeater will receive the signal from the remote and broadcast it via radio waves to a transmitter in another room, which will reproduce it and control the device. An infrared remote repeater can be purchased for $30 or less.

First, connect the monitor to the DVR through the wall. Set up the receiving unit of the remote repeater near the TV. Then place the transmitting unit in the same room as the DVR, facing it. You can then use your remote as if it was in the same room as the DVR. There is nothing to program since the repeater just reproduces whatever signal goes into it. Just take the remote from room to room and enjoy your televisions.

Holiday product highlight: Last week I discussed a premium-priced compact camera for serious photographers and professionals. This week we have a compact camera for everyone looking for something much more affordable and aimed at the consumer market.

Canon’s SD4500IS is a 10-megapixel compact that is regularly available for $170 or less. It has a 10x optical zoom lens with optical image stabilization, 1080HD video recording, and a wide variety of shooting modes for every situation. It all comes packaged in an attractive shell that is available in several appealing colors. The big appeal, of course, is the picture quality, which is as good as it gets for under $200.

If you are looking for a small, affordable camera as a gift, the Canon SD4500IS will definitely make them smile when they open it, and smile even more over the years as they use it.

Questions? Email Don

Comments are closed.