We Value Your Privacy

We and our partners use technology such as cookies on our site to personalise content and ads, provide social media features, and analyse our traffic. Click below to consent to the use of this technology across the web. You can change your mind and change your consent choices at anytime by returning to this site.

Update Consent
Loading ...

Difference Between IR Blaster and IR Extender

Updated April 17, 2017

Infrared blasters and extenders are common in modern home theatre and audio systems. Designed to increase the range and effectiveness of IR systems, blasters are core components of any extender package. Given that the vast majority of components are controlled via infrared, making sure the signals get there, regardless of installation circumstances, is critical. Without the blasters emitting signals to components, the extender kit is useless.

Loading ...

Common Problems

Infrared signals are blocked by solid surfaces. IR is a form of light, invisible in most instances. As a result, these signals can also be interfered with by intense external light sources, such as sunlight and fluorescent bulbs. Many custom installations involve hiding components behind cabinet doors, wiring closets and access areas in basements. Since the line of sight is obscured by these solid surfaces, extending the IR signal to directly control audio/video components becomes necessary.

IR Extenders

Extender kits incorporate a few components to do their job. Signals from the remote control are sent to a receiver, or "eye." This small component sticks to a television or other device, typically within sight and range of the primary viewing position. Alternately, these receivers are found in wall plates or tabletop versions. Specialised eyes used to block competing signals from plasma screens are common with modern flat panel installations. From the receiver, the signal travels to a distribution block. The individual emitters or blasters plug into this block, controlling the gear. All of this is powered by an AC power plug inserted into the distribution block.

IR Blasters

Blasters are the small teardrop-shaped units that carry the IR signal from the distribution block to the components tucked away in a cabinet or closet. These emitters stick over the top of the IR sensor on the individual components, directly controlling the device. Many times, these blasters have black plastic covers to protect them against "seeing" direct IR signals or other light sources. Installers often stick black electrical tape over them for this purpose as a field-expedient measure.

Other Blaster Types

Some IR kits have cone-shaped units that sit free-standing in a cabinet. This single cone sends infrared signals to all components in the cabinet or closet. Since components will only address IR signals coded specifically to them, this single IR source works without confusing the various devices in the environment. These units have an attachment that converts IR signals to radio frequency to pass signals through doors and walls, converting them back to IR so the components understand the commands.

Loading ...

About the Author

David Lipscomb

David Lipscomb is a professional writer and public relations practitioner. Lipscomb brings more than a decade of experience in the consumer electronics and advertising industries. Lipscomb holds a degree in public relations from Webster University.

Loading ...
Loading ...