Enabling lirc for Microsoft MCE Remote Control in Ubuntu 9.10

MCE Remote ControlSo far my experience with getting XBMC in Ubuntu 9.10 hasn’t been too painful. Everything is set up quite nicely and I just decided to tackle the last piece of the puzzle to enable full girlfriend compatibility: the remote control.

I had an old MCE remote control left over from an old HTPC system I had, along with IR receiver so I thought I’d try to use that. I think it’s an aftermarket MCE copy remote – looks nearly exactly the same bar the missing Microsoft logo at the bottom (see other remotes here).

This is what I did, with significant help from this post on the XBMC forums:

Install lirc

lirc‘ (Linux Infrared Remote Control)  is the software Linux uses to recognise commands from your IR control/remote. To install it I opened a terminal window and typed:
sudo apt-get install lirc
The configuration takes place in the terminal window. Unfortunately I hadn’t a clue what I was doing and skipped the configuration. I restarted it by opening a terminal window and typing:
sudo dpkg-reconfigure lirc
The first screen will be for remotes, I chose
“Windows Media Center Transceivers/Remotes (all)”
For Receivers I chose
“Microsoft Windows Media Center V2 (usb) : Direct TV Receiver”
Don’t worry about the Direct TV part, it just references the mceusb2 driver that you need.
To check what configuration you have type
lsmod | grep lirc*
The first time I did it nothing was output, so I knew something was amiss (I reran the configuration as above)

Install the USB receiver

When I plugged in the USB  receiver, the red light came on, but how did I know it worked? First, I tested the remote AND the receiver on my Windows 7 box. The Media Center interface started up correctly so I knew the batteries were good and everything was OK. After some Googling I discovered this command:
lsusb
This lists the connected USB devices. I could see
Bus 004 Device 002: ID 0471:0815 Philips eHome Infrared Receiver
so I knew the receiver was working OK.

After that, a reboot and quick test in XBMC confirmed everything was working. Stoked.

Next job is to get the HTPC suspending (sleeping) and resuming (waking up) using the MCE remote control only.

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15 responses to “Enabling lirc for Microsoft MCE Remote Control in Ubuntu 9.10

  1. Thank u, i followed your instructions and it worked! hahaha i forgot it was linux for a moment, it was too easy xD

  2. Really neat to find this description. it worked like charm.

  3. Finally something that worked. Cheers!

  4. Think you, I have been looking for a way to use my remote with ubuntu and this works for me.

  5. Cheers for this excellent guide. the only one that worked for me. now I can ditch xbmc live and have xbmc & boxee and, more importantly, keep the missus happy.

  6. Thank you, this saved me from hours of frustration.

    • Sweet and simple, just install lirc.
      At first I didn’t see the ‘Windows Media Center Transceivers’ option, but when I reconfigured (dpkg-reconfigure) it was there. Maybe I just overlooked it 🙂

  7. Thank you Mark, like others here I had been struggling with this. Easy when you find the right blog. Cheers

  8. Worked like a charm on the Hauppauge HAU-226 remote on Ubuntu 10.10 x64.

    Thanks!

  9. This is a bookmark!
    Worked perfect with no fuss!
    Thanks mark

  10. Edit: worked on Revo 3700 with Ubuntu and XBMC Dharma

  11. Great guide. I have been having problems installing and updating LIRC for days. This setup my remote (MCE) in a matter of minutes.

  12. Thanks – worked on my Phillips Pronto pretending to be a MCE remote!

  13. Pingback: HP Microserver XBMC Ubuntu 12.04 Update

  14. Pingback: Issues with Windows Media Remote

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