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Home Automation - Control Home Theater Lights with your Universal Remote

Updated on December 11, 2016
Enjoy home theater! } image credit: iStockphoto sdominick
Enjoy home theater! } image credit: iStockphoto sdominick

Remote control overload

Are you on remote control overload? You're in your home theater and on the side table next to you are are a dozen remote control devices -- each one controlling a separate device.

In addition to that, you must get up out of your easy chair to switch off the lights in the room so that your HDTV viewing is at its best.

If that is you. you might consider consolidating your remotes and automating your room lights with an Insteon home automation network.

Insteon home automation network

Insteon is a type of home automation network that can make home living safer, more convenient and even more fun. Don't be put off by the term "home automation network" -- that simply means the way that "smart" devices in your home communicate with each other.

Insteon is the type of home automation network chosen by do-it-yourselfers because of the following reasons:

  • Insteon command signals are sent over both the existing electric wiring in your home and a designated radio frequency.
  • Dual-band Insteon communication network makes the network reliable. Radio signal interference is not a problem with simulcast powerline signals.
  • Insteon is also more flexible. Insteon-compatible devices can operate on either RF or powerline signals, or both.
  • Insteon devices are low cost and modular. Purchase only the modules you need for a particular application and expand later if you wish -- including lamp control with your Smartphone, or even irrigate your tomatoes with your Smartphone
  • Insteon home networks require no monthly or annual charges, unlike some other home automation systems.
  • There are dozens of Insteon-compatible devices for almost any home automation application.

IRLinc - INSTEON IR Receiver | image credit: Smarthome
IRLinc - INSTEON IR Receiver | image credit: Smarthome

How to convert signals from your universal remote into Insteon controls

Turn your lamps into "smart lamps"

Let's say that you have a couple of table lamps and a floor lamp in your home theater room. You turn each of these lamps into a "smart lamp" with an Insteon plug-in dimmer such as the dual-band LampLink.

The LampLink features on and off switches or 32 levels of brightness so you can choose the exact lighting level you desire.

Link your universal remote to an INSTEON IR sensor/receiver

Next you plug an INSTEON IR Receiver module into an unswitched wall outlet near your home theater equipment. The module is black to match the color of your equipment. The IRLinc comes with a credit-card sized separate remote for added flexibility.

Now place the module's IR sensor within sight of your easy chair where you will be controlling all equipment.

The IRLinc works with the IR codes embedded in most universal remotes. Set your universal remote control to work with the IRLinc following the instructions in the IRLinc manual.

Now your universal remote is linked to the INSTEON IR sensor/receiver which can serve as a controller for dimming the lamps in your TV room using one plug-in Lamplink for each lamp you wish to control.

Create the lighting mood scene best for watching movies

Finally, create the lighting scene you desire when watching movies. Turn on the table and floor lamps. Set the LampLinc to exactly the brightness level you want. Then link the LampLinc to the IR Receiver following instructions. That't it.

Consolidate your remote controls

What I have describe above is the simplest application of the IRlink -- converting your universal remote into a tool to control your INSTEON devices while still retaining its functionality to control your HDTV and other media devices.

You can enhance your experience by adding drapery control to your INSTEON home automation system. Now with one tap of your finger your lamps dim to the level you want and your drapes close. You are ready for your entertainment experience.

Finally, program your universal remote to control your other media devices -- DVD player, CD player, and more.

Have you consolidated your remotes?

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