IR vs. RF Remotes – What’s the Difference?

IR vs. RF Remotes – What’s the Difference?

There are two main types of remote controls—IR (Infrared) and RF (Radio Frequency). This article will explain the pros and cons of each type, and help you decide which remote choice is right for you.

IR Remotes

IR remotes must be pointed directly at the devices you are trying to control. These remotes will not perform correctly unless there are no obstructions between the remote and its devices. IR remotes have a performance range of about 30 feet and are currently more commonplace than RF remotes—mostly because of their cheaper costs.

Consider using an IR remote if you are only using your TV in one room.

RF Remotes

RF remotes can be used even if you’re in a different room from the device you are trying to control—its signal can penetrate walls and flooring. RF remotes generally have a performance range of around 100 feet. Most electronics do not come with RF capabilities built-in. However, RF systems can be added on in most cases by using an extender. This will take your RF signals and convert them into IR signals so that your devices will “understand” or respond to your signals.

The benefits of RF include the abilities to be controlled from a computer, and to allow you to control multiple devices (such as video, DVD, audio, and lighting) with a single remote!

Consider choosing RF if you have a home theater room with multiple devices or multiple entertainment devices throughout your home. Although RF remotes are pricier than IR remotes, they offer greater convenience.

The Verdict

If you want a straightforward, simple remote, and only need it for one function, IR is the way to go. However, if you plan on using multiple devices, and want to be able to use your remote in different rooms, invest in a single RF remote.