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Software development, Microsoft remote control

The purpose was to use the Windows remote control in my own program. Understand how this worked, took some effort to understand. On MSDN a nice C++ example was supplied that showed almost all important information. To get a working C# program I found a nice example: Programming for the '10 Foot Experience' via Remote Control (Part 1 of 2) written by Bruce Thomas.

How to use
The Windows remote control uses at least three interfaces, one of them is the keyboard (via the WM_KEYDOWN message or key down signal GUI). That is the easiest part to implement, just push the button and look. Than, there is WM_APPCOMMAND, the application command message that is used by a number of applications, such as the remote control. To catch this message a special hook (WndProc) must be used. Finally, some commands come via the WM_INPUT message. This message is used for raw input from computer devices and has some specific demands. The function must register the Window handle together with type of commands so the sending process knows where to send the message to. It is possible to omit the handle, in that case the WM_INPUT message will only come when the windows does not have any controls.

The software of Bruce Thomas gives a very good example.

On Windows MCE and on Windows XP (SP2?) the Microsoft IR control can be used. That is nice to know, because without making special software, the Microsoft remote control can be used if the applications can handle the button commands. On Windows XP most button commands are not supported. However, when also the software update KB888795-v3-x86 (MCE rollup update 1) is installed, then allmost all IR remote control functionality seems to be available. It is sufficient to keep the Ir installation files in sp2qfe, after starting the initialization. Than map contains all files needed to get the remote control working. When aborting the installation, that map is still there and it could be saved somewhere else.
Even on Windows 2000 the remote control works partially when the files in sp2qfe are used for installating the IR receiver. Unfortunately the application commands do not work (registering fails), so if those commands would be used there is still some development to do.

If you want to use the normal TV remote control than Winlirc might offer a working solution (see the Interesting links chapter for the URL).

Interesting links
Interesting links, well: Microsoft MSDN, here you can find a lot of information on almost any subject related to Microsoft Windows. On Sourceforge, Winlirc can be found. Here you can find a solution for making your own IR interface and using your own IR remote control.

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Date: january 3, 2006