For those of you with a PC or even a Mac that runs on Windows or Linux, you are in luck as you will be able to add a simple IR circuit that will allow you to remotely control your computer via a remote control!
This could be a great simple hack for your new media PC TV if you don’t have any kind of IR remote control capability yet.
LIRC is a package that allows you to decode and send infra-red signals of many (but not all) commonly used remote controls.
Former versions focussed on home-brew hardware connected to the serial or parallel port. Descriptions how to build this hardware can be found here. Current versions of LIRC also support a variety of other hardware. An up-to-date list of all supported devices and the status of the according drivers is available on the left.
The most important part of LIRC is the lircd daemon that will decode IR signals received by the device drivers and provide the information on a socket. It will also accept commands for IR signals to be sent if the hardware supports this. The second daemon program called lircmd will connect to lircd and translate the decoded IR signals to mouse movements. You can e.g. configure X to use your remote control as an input device.
The user space applications will allow you to control your computer with your remote control. You can send X events to applications, start programs and much more on just one button press. The possible applications are obvious: Infra-red mouse, remote control for your TV tuner card or CD-ROM, shutdown by remote, program your VCR and/or satellite tuner with your computer, etc. I’ve heard that MP3 players are also quite popular these days.