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Flirc USB dongle review: control your HTPC with any remote

We’re always looking for easier and more comfortable ways to control our devices. No matter whether we’re choosing a Android TV Box below $100 or an expensive barebones computer like the Gigabyte Brix Pro to fit with whatever powerful hardware we can come up with; we will want to make it comfortable for us in any case, so we can relax and unwind, instead of focusing on why the cursor isn’t moving on the screen. To this end, we have many options. Some people like the feel and tactile feedback of a wireless HTPC keyboard, while others like the technology behind software apps like Yatse or Kore -Android apps you can install on your smartphone and connect to your HTPC via Wi-Fi-, so I’d say we have plenty of options to achieve this comfort.

Flirc USB dongle review remote
The Flirc USB dongle is an IR receiver that can be used with -almost- any remote.

Unless, of course, you don’t want to get a new remote, or use a keyboard, or download an app. Maybe the best and most comfortable way for you to control your media is that IR remote you have used up to until now with your TV. Or perhaps you have too many remotes in your home, and think that getting any other remote, no matter how fancy or keyboard-like it is, would not be necessary. What are your options then? Perhaps you could get an USB IR receiver, so you could hook up your old IR remote to your new HTPC TV Box. Right?

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Flirc USB dongle review: a tiny lifesaver

Wait, don’t throw your old IR remote just yet. At least not until you’ve read our Flirc USB dongle review. This is a very simple-looking device, with the appearance of a small, short USB dongle; however, in this Flirc USB dongle review you will realize the huge potential the Flirc USB receiver brings to your HTPC setup. Take any device with a USB port, such as the NVIDIA SHIELD TV or even the better-priced Tronfy MXQ Android TV Box, and you will quickly realize this device is compatible with all of them. But what does it do?

Flirc USB dongle size
The Flirc USB dongle is tiny, making it easy to connect with any USB port on your HTPC.

Well, according to our Flirc USB dongle review, and the official Flirc website, this is a product that lets you use any remote with your media center. Receiving your commands via its IR receiver, this device translates it into commands that your newer devices -which might only have USB ports- can understand and carry out. Regarding the Flirc Fire TV compatibility, this device is completely compatible with Amazon Fire TV, and in general with lots of other devices. Some users report that there’s a huge list of hardware that can be used with the Flirc IR receiver, no matter if you’re talking about remotes, or the devices you want to control. Basically, if it has an IR emitter, it can -most likely- communicate with the Flirc receiver, and, if it has a USB port, it can be -almost certainly- controlled via Flirc.

Flirc USB dongle review: would you recommend this device?

Flirc USB dongle package
Flirc USB dongle review: tiny USB device bridging the gap between IR devices and USB ports.

This tiny device, priced at slightly below 20 bucks, comes to satisfy a very specific need: if you perhaps have a remote you want to use, but the remote is IR-based, and your device only has USB ports, then this infrared USB receiver is for you. Of course, as a personal note, I would be wary about recommending the product; not because of the product itself, since it has gotten very good reviews and seems to do its job properly, but rather because of the technology it uses. IR remotes are very directional, meaning you have to point them at the device to get the desired response. However, if you pair this up with one of the recommended remotes, such as the Logitech Harmony (we will review it soon as well), which have ways to circumvent this limitation, then you surely will see a better performance and gain from owning this little USB IR receiver.

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About the author

Alejandro

Alejandro is an electrical engineer, working as a software developer and part-time writer. He has a passion for technology, languages and games, and has been around the web since 2004.

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