Sometimes there are minor annoyances in our lives that we allow to grow, rather than doing something about it. I can think of plenty of personal examples. When it comes to home entertainment media, one of those minor annoyances that I’ve allowed to percolate is my uncontrollable remote control collection.
As I mentioned in another post, I have a variety of media devices in my living room and I’ve somehow managed to ignore the fact that they each have their own controller. My coffee table is no longer a coffee table, but a repository for electronics controllers. I finally decided to get in control of the situation and find the best solution to consolidate them all.
The Logitech Harmony seemed the most effective device I could find, but it left one crucial item out of the mix – a universal receiver for the Amazon Fire TV. Now, if you have a Fire TV, or if you’ve even seen the controller, you know it leaves a lot to be desired. It’s small and limited in function, and the hip directional wheel should never be included on a product that doesn’t have an Apple logo. I want that thing gone.
I’ve tried a some other options with the Fire TV, such as using the Android app or using my TV monitor controller with CEC, but I’m on a mission here to consolidate, so those are just temporary (and not device reducing) solutions.
By the way, if you’re not aware of this, CEC is actually some pretty cool technology. If your HDMI TV/Monitor is CEC enabled (some manufacturers call it by another name so do some research) then you can use the pass-through feature to control your HDMI connected device. That is, as long a the HDMI connected device supports CEC. Unfortunately it’s one of those things that is generally turned OFF by default, so you have to figure out how to turn it on.
I’m constantly amazed at the number of things Amazon got right with the Fire TV (the remote not being one of them) and you’ll find that CEC works right out of the box. I can control my Fire TV with my Monitor remote, but it’s not ideal and I have no control over how it’s programmed and not all controls are supported.
What I like about the Flirc Universal Remote Control Receiver
The Flirc is a USB dongle that attaches to your Fire TV or other media device. Among others it supports Playstation, XBOX 360 and Rasperry PI. It includes software for Windows, OSX or Linux to allow you to easily setup the pairing between your device and your Universal Controller. Because they’ve worked closely with Logitech, it supports Harmony devices right out of the box.
The original Flirc came out in 2013 and received a lot of attention for its ability to control Raspberry PI apps such as XBMC/Kodi. The new version, 2.0, adds many new software features, hardware features, and partners.
For something that merely connects your remote to your devices it might seem expensive, but the Flirc uses an ARM processor for control and that means this is much more than just a listening device. It’s a little computer that works with your remote to handle all of your device’s communications.
Once you download the software for your operating system and device, Flirc’s PC app guides you through each step of the process in only a few minutes. After your remote is paired, you’re all done. Plug the Flirc into your device and go.
If you add the FireTV or Kodi device to a Harmony Remote, as I’ve mentioned before, it works without any additional configuration. Flirc should work on any device that supports USB keyboards.
Flirc.tv, Inc. is a small electronics maker located in Northern California, USA. They make products for the Raspberry PI and media controllers.
In the Fall of 2016 they began shipping the 2nd Generation Flirc Universal Remote Control Receiver.
FLIRC USB (2nd Generation) Universal Remote Control Receiver
- Designed to work with Fire TV
- Software for Windows, Linux, OSX
- Supports Logitech Harmony remote
- Works with Playstation, XBOX 360, Rasperberry PI and Kodi
- Simple setup and pairing
- Great support from Company
This Wireless Receiver is consistently rated as one of the top remote control devices for home electronics including the Fire TV.
Some customer reviews
I highly recommend the FLIRC for remote control support. It works perfectly with both my Windows based HTPC and my Raspberry Pi.
Works flawlessly with my Harmony 650 and Amazon Fire TV. I added the Flirc / Media Center device to my remote before the Flirc arrived and created a Watch Fire TV activity. Upon arrival, I plugged the Flirc into my Fire TV and everything worked right out of the box.
Windows software (or Mac) must be downloaded to perform installation. Once i found that out, installation was a snap! Great little device!