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Old 03-18-2013, 12:29 AM   #1
Bob Munck
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Conflicting Remotes

My 90-year-old mother is in a nursing home and very dependent on her TiVo (Premier) and Vizio TV. Her new roommate has an LG TV. It turns out that Vizio and LG televisions use the same coding in their IR remotes. Result: two old ladies sitting in their wheelchairs turning each other's TV on and off and changing each other's volume. They had no idea what was going on, and it took me awhile to figure it out. (At least the TiVo keeps them from changing each other's channels as well.)

Both are on Medicaid, can't afford new TVs (Medicaid takes all but $35/month of whatever income you have). I can't give my mother a new TV; Medicaid would consider that "income." A little box of electronics in the sub-$100 range would probably be acceptable. The TVs are about 8' apart, there's no way to separate them further and IR bounces all over the room.

A possible solution would be a small receiver that uses different IR codes AND has a controllable AC socket that the TV can be plugged into. But for under $100?

Any suggestions?
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:41 AM   #2
Edmund
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Switch tv's with a neighbor?

You need an addressable Rf remote like the mx-350 rf remote and separately sold mrf-260 RF basestation. Its setup so its RF only between the remote and basestation, then the basestation sends IR out over a cable tapped to the front of tv, so the only commands reaching tv is over the IR cable.
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Old 03-18-2013, 12:38 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Edmund View Post
Switch tv's with a neighbor?
"Neighbor" is an interesting concept in a nursing home. The average stay is 6 months. Mom has been there two years, has had five roommates die. The other residents who have TVs have mostly ancient CRTs.

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addressable Rf remote like the mx-350
Way too expensive. After TiVo, cable, and phone charges, there isn't much of that $35/month left. Also, it's not a TiVo remote, which is what Mom is used to. She's sharp and alert, but has memory problems, not to mention sight, hearing, and arthritis in her hands.

I've discovered the "Next Generation Remote Control Extender" which might be a good solution, but has other problems. Amazon sells it for $38.50.

With our parents going through old age and nursing homes -- Mom's the last survivor -- I'm coming to realize how badly many of our technological marvels work for the old and disabled. For instance, going through a menu tree to turn closed captions on and off is pretty much impossible for my mother. I may need to come out of retirement and start writing software again.

Thanks for the suggestion. I appreciate your help.
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Old 03-18-2013, 01:06 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bob Munck View Post
Mom has been there two years, has had five roommates die.
This may sound cold, but I think she just needs to be patient a little while longer. It would appear that things will work themselves out.

Seriously, if your Mom can get up and turn the TV on and off manually and adjust the volume, just use the Tivo remote to change channels on the Tivo. Otherwise, there's not much else that can be done without getting a different TV.
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Old 03-18-2013, 02:15 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by mr.unnatural View Post
a little while longer.
You'd think so, but it turns out that if you make it to 90, your life expectancy is another 4.5 years.

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if your Mom can get up and turn the TV on and off manually
She can't. She needs a lot of help to get from her bed to her wheelchair. Also, the manual buttons on the side of the TV are very difficult/impossible for her.

Mom is fortunate that she still has the mental facilities to appreciate TV and to read -- the Kindle has been a great boon, because you can increase font size and it's easy for arthritic hands to hold. The TiVo is likewise important, because everybody goes to bed around 7:00, before interesting shows are on.

TiVo and Kindle are both known for the high quality of their user interface, but both have serious problems for someone like my mother. I've considered hacking into both devices and rewriting their user interface, but that may be beyond my current capabilities. I'm old, too.

Last edited by Bob Munck : 03-18-2013 at 02:21 PM.
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Old 03-18-2013, 02:57 PM   #6
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Could you make a couple of tubes around 1˝-2" long that are just wide enough to fit over the TVs' IR receivers? Have them pointed at the location where each of them sit. This may cut down on the amount of reflected IR reaching the other TV.
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Old 03-18-2013, 03:16 PM   #7
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If you go with Next Generation extender, with battery gizmo in the remote, tape up the front of the remote so no IR can get through, let the remote communicate with flying saucer basestation via rf. Then tape up saucer also, attach a two-headed repeater cable, tape one end to the tivo, and another to the TV. So the only IR reach the components is coming over the cable. And the neighbor tv signals are also blocked.
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Old 03-18-2013, 03:43 PM   #8
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... tape up the front of the remote ...
My plan exactly. The two problems with it have nothing to do with TiVo: 1) Mom won't be able to swap the batteries; she doesn't have enough strength or agility in her hands. We'll have to show the aides and nurses how to do it. (I live in another state, visit every two weeks.) 2). Nursing home rooms are like hospital rooms, and have severe requirements on electrical wiring. No extension cords, no power strips, no octopus plugs, limited wall outlets. That wall wart on the extender may make it necessary for me to coerce the Home to get an electrician to put in another wall outlet.

The good thing about this solution is that we can undo it when the roommate leaves, put it back if the problem happens again. Also, the Home can use the same solution for other conflicts, (but not for someone else with a TiVo, Vizio, or LG TV).
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krellion View Post
Could you make a couple of tubes around 1˝-2" long that are just wide enough to fit over the TVs' IR receivers? Have them pointed at the location where each of them sit. This may cut down on the amount of reflected IR reaching the other TV.
This idea was my first thought.
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:19 PM   #10
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I never heard of giving your Mom a present being called "income" and that sounds ridiculous.

What if the TV "breaks" and you take it out for "repair" and the "repair shop" substitutes a different model?
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:36 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Krellion View Post
Could you make a couple of tubes around 1˝-2" long ...
Tried it, for various lengths and diameters of tubes. The room has glossy paint on the walls, linoleum floors, a fair-sized window, and lots of glass-covered pictures of great-grandchildren. It's like a pinball machine for IR photons. Also it's crowded, too much furniture, knick-knacks, and people maneuvering around; the tubes didn't stay in place long. Finally, it distressed the roommate to have something attached to her TV.
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:59 PM   #12
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I never heard of giving your Mom a present being called "income" and that sounds ridiculous.
Medicaid is run by the state with federal contributions, and subject to the winds of government legislature and bureaucracy from all levels. Not an environment in which logic and clarity flourish.

They are paying a lot of money to keep Mom there, and therefore they put a lot of effort into making sure it's necessary. You may not be aware that you must "spend down" pretty much all your resources before you will be accepted for Medicaid. An obvious way of cheating the system would be to hide a bunch of money, spend down the rest and go on Medicaid, and then receive "gifts" paid for from that Cayman account. Small gifts are fine.
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Old 03-19-2013, 12:17 AM   #13
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http://www.amazon.com/Sewell-Repeate...emote+extender

I am using something similar to this for operating things inside a cabinet. In your case put one of the transmitters over the IR window on the TV and put some black tape over it so that the window is blocked from receiving other signals. Then put the receiver in a position where only she can aim the remote and the other one cant see it.
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:29 AM   #14
Bob Munck
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Originally Posted by SNJpage1 View Post
http://www.amazon.com/Sewell-Repeate...emote+extender
put one of the transmitters over the IR window on the TV and put some black tape over it
I have to put emitters on both the TV and TiVo, tape over both so they won't control the roommate's TV.

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Then put the receiver in a position where only she can aim the remote and the other one cant see it.
Won't work; this room is like the mirrored funhouse at the circus. When I was testing, I drew the curtains around both beds, put the TiVo remote under a light blanket on Mom's bed, aimed it straight down, and pushed TV Pwr. Mom's TV turned on, the roommate's turned off. TiVo remotes seem to be pretty powerful; I'll need to tape over the top end of the remote.

Too bad I can't disable the TiVo remote's IR emitter; it would prolong the battery life significantly.
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