IR vs. RF Remote Control

In the market for a TV console or cabinet for your brand new flat screen? Before making your purchase, you must first consider what type of remote control you intend to utilize.

In today’s electronic market, there are two primary types of remote control systems available to consumers, IR based systems and RF based systems. IR stands for Infared and means the remote must be pointed directly at the receiver. RF stands for Radio Frequency and means the remote is multi-directional.

Just about every remote that comes with any piece of A/V equipment these days uses an IR based control system. This type of system works great if all of your equipment is sitting at eye level and directly in front of you with no obstructions between you and the equipment. In today’s homes, however, this is usually not the case. More often than not, people are hanging their TV’s on the wall and putting all of their equipment in a nice piece of furniture below, or simply setting the TV on top of a cabinet which holds the equipment. This can cause some functionality issues with an IR system.

Radio Frequency (RF) operation provides up to 100′ range though walls, floors and doors, indoors or outdoors. Self-adhesive “emitters” affix to the infrared sensors on the front panels of your components. The emitters relay IR commands to components out of sight to the RF base station front blaster. The emitters plug in to the RF base station rear flasher line outputs via their 10 foot cables. An IR/RF Universal Remote Control can be programmed to operate equipment placed throughout the house.

When asked to consult on an A/V layout for a new-construction vacation home back in 2005, I developed the drawing and 3D rendering shown below:



And this is how it actually turned out…


Cabinet doors open to reveal the A/V components behind them.


Cabinet doors closed to conceal the A/V components behind them.

All the A/V equipment is controlled via an Osiris MX-350 Universal RF Remote since the components are hidden behind the wooden doors of built-in cabinets. Here is how it works…

mx-350It’s been nearly ten years, and everything still works flawlessly. Although it is time to upgrade from the 220 lb. Sony CRT TV to a flat panel HDTV :)

Don’t have built-ins to hide away your A/V components? Below you will find a sampling of TV consoles/cabinets that lend themselves to both IR and RF Remote Control.


Butler 1782140 – This sleek, modern entertainment center features a low profile design for your wide screen television. It has three storage compartments (with doors) for A/V components. The outer doors have European hinges attached nearest the outside edges and open outward. The center door opens downward. Each door has a touch-sensitive, adjustable magnetic door catch.


Butler 3359140 – This entertainment cabinet features glass doors that allow IR remote controllers to have clear transmission to A/V components stored behind them. It is beautifully crafted from mango wood and also from Butler Specialty Company.


Global Views 2479 – This beautifully crafted cabinet sits atop the Marcel console (GV-2463, sold separately) and artfully hides your flat screen television. It is achieved in hardwoods, white American oak veneer with a black stain, gold leaf eglomise panels, and finished with an oversized brass plated knob. Piano hinges on the doors allow them to fully open and fold away; there are grommet holes on the back for wiring. Flat strap brackets and anti-tip wall brackets are included.


Uttermost 24483 – Weathered, reclaimed fir wood media case accented by six drawers in a broken-away, aged red paint finish, making a modern statement with polished nickel ring pulls. A/V components can be placed in the open compartment for direct transmission of Infared (IR) signals.

Click here to see all television consoles/cabinets currently available in our store.