Red Eye

Remote control translator for UK NTL/Telewest Digital Cable Receivers

Now you can control your NTL/Telewest Pace or Scientific Atlanta 4000/4200DVB Digital Cable receiver with Pronto/Marantz programmable remotes, learning remotes, infra-red extender systems, many VCRs, DVD Recorders, and Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004/5.

5-May-2005 : Setup & Troubleshooting guide added.
23-Nov-2004 :  Toshiba RD-XS32 Red-Eye firmware workaround available  Updated information here.
10-Nov-2004: Philips HDRW720 confirmed as working with Red-Eye to control digital cable STBs. More information here.
1-Sep-2004 : Telewest Explorer 4000/4200DVB (Scientific Atlanta) STBs A new Red-Eye firmware version had been produced to support these STBs. More information here
Quick links
Setting up Windows XP Media Center Edition to control NTL/Telewest STBs.
Setting up GUIDE Plus+ systems (Philips DVDR80, HDRW720)   to control NTL/Telewest STBs.
Red-Eye Serial – control NTL, Telewest and Sky Digital STBs from a PC RS232 port, for PC based PVRs and home automation systems.
Foxtel Australia Pace STBs
Pros & Cons of using Red-Eye instead of an IRDA compatible video/remote sender

New style NTL remote - click for larger imageTelewest Silver Remote - click to enlargeIRDA type remote for DiTV1000,2000,4000 - click for larger viewThe Problem….

The remote controls (pictured right) for the Pace NTL/Telewest digital cable set-top box (STB) models 1000, 1010, 2000 and 4000 use an unusual infra-red signal protocol, based on the IRDA standard. This system was designed to allow for devices like keyboards for internet access, and game pads for interactive games. (This remote will be referred to as the IRDA remote.)   Note that only the black version of the new NTL remote (far right) uses IRDA, the blue version (below right) is for the 4001,4010 and Samsung STBs  (see below).
The Telewest Scientific Atlanta Explorer 4000 and 4200DVB STBs also use the same IRDA system.

The use of this IRDA based system causes problems for users wanting to control the Pace STB using most types of  universal remote, programmable remotes like the Philips Pronto, VCRs, DVD recorders  with set-top box control, or via an infra-red remote repeater/sender system (for control from another room).

A few IRDA compatible remote control repeaters and universal remotes are available, but the choice is somewhat limited, and there are problems with limited range on some of them. Of course you may already have a learning remote and/or repeater and don’t want to buy a new one just to accommodate your new cable box.

New styl NTL Blue RC5 remote - click for large imageBlue RC5 Remote remote for 4001 cable box. Click for larger imageThe blue remote controls (pictured right) for the NTL Pace 4001,4010 and Samsung boxes use a standard RC5 based remote control systeml which is compatible with repeaters and learning remotes.
Red-Eye is not needed for (and will not work with) the Pace 4001,4010 or Samsung STBs, or the Telewest PVR.

Although some Pace 4000 series STBs can be controlled by either the IRDA remote or this blue RC5 remote, there are some reported problems with the implementation of the RC5 codes, including the lack of the i (info) button function.
See here for more information on the issues with the 4000 series STBs.

Red-Eye in position on the front of the STBThe Red-Eye Solution

The Red-Eye device overcomes these problems, by translating commands from an alternative, more standard  remote system (RC6)  into Pace IRDA commands, and sending them to the cable box. These alternate commands can be learned by learning remotes, programmed into remotes like the Pronto, and will pass through normal IR repeater/sender systems. See this page for a list of Red-Eye compatible remotes.
Several DVD recorders and VCRs also support these alternate codes.

The Red-Eye is a small unit which fixes to the front of the Pace STB, and connects to a socket on the STBs rear panel to obtain power. (Although these STBs have an  ‘IR-In’ socket, it is not enabled to receive commands, so Red-Eye needs to be fixed to the front of the cable box to allow its infra-red signal to be seen by the STB.) Red-Eye can also be mounted a few inches away from the STB if there is a clear line of sight to the STB’s infra-red receiver (to the left of the display digits) – e.g. on the inside edge of a cabinet etc.

When the Red-Eye is fitted, the STB will respond to commands from both the original NTL/Telewest IRDA remote and a Red-Eye compatible remote (or compatible VCR,DVDR etc.). This allows, for example, the original IRDA remote to be used in the same room as the receiver, and a Red-Eye compatible remote to be used in another room via an infra-red repeater system.   Note that Red-Eye will NOT allow the use of the original NTL/Telewest IRDA remote from another room via an IR repeater/sender system – you must use a  Red-Eye compatible remote from the other room.

See the setup guide for examples of typical applications & setups

To summarise…

What Red-Eye WILL do :

* Enable the use of a Pronto, learning remote or other Red-Eye Compatible remote in the same room as the cable box
* When combined with a standard infra-red repeater/sender system, Red-Eye enables the use of a Pronto, learning remote or other Red-Eye Compatible remote from another room. You can use any standard IR repeater, (including those built into some video sender systems), not just the few designed to be IRDA (digital cable) compatible.
* Enable some VCRs and DVD Recorders (which have set-top control functions) to set the channel number on the cable STB for automatic timed recordings. See this page for a list of VCRs and DVD recorders known to be compatible

What Red-Eye WILL NOT do :

* Allow you to use the original NTL/Telewest IRDA remote from another room via an infra-red repeater/sender system. You need to use a  Red-Eye compatible remote from the other room.

For further information, please see the Frequently Asked Questions page.



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