This Instructable will take you on my journey to replace my old Netflix/Vudu Bluray player with a PC based entertainment station for my LCD projector. I wanted to be able to access and control Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, Crackle, NBC, ABC, and the Weather Channel using only a simple remote control.

Along the way, I'll give you the full details you need to replicate this project, but at the same time I'm going to expose you to a very interesting combination of tools which will allow ANY MICROCONTROLLER the ability to take full control of a connected PC to create sophisticated, yet simple PC interfaces and "assistive technology" systems. Read this with your "idea cap" on and I'm betting there are at least a hundred different ways this material could come in handy!

The setup works likes this: (Refer to image two.) My universal remote sends IR signals to my microcontroller. The microcontroller sends commands to control the PC web browser over it's programming cable either as a mouse or by changing pages depending on what buttons I press on the remote. I've seen remotes which are compatible with PC computers as an optional mouse, but this setup is an advanced control system allowing us to send any data/controls to the PC. The system we're building will allow the remote control to act as mouse and software control with plenty of room for your own enhancements.

Here's the project in action!

Required materials and related links:


  • The Pocket Mini Computer w/IR Kit : An "Open Source" micro based on the Propeller: (source)
  • A Universal Remote that is Sony Compatible (source)
  • A dual-core (or better) Windows based PC
  • A USB-A to micro USB cable (source)


Useful References:

Assistive Technology Related websites:

Step 1: The Pocket Mini Computer

You might be scratching your head at the requirement of a Pocket Mini Computer.

What's a Pocket Mini Computer? I'm glad you asked!

The Pocket Mini Computer is an open source "mini computer" design which uses the Parallax Propeller microcontroller as it's brain. The kit from Propellerpowered.com comes pre-loaded with a retro-style BASIC. The hardware itself is extremely powerful & featured.

Update! August 2014: The original PMC two board kit was upgrade to a new design which is completely compatible with the PMC 2013 used in this project. You can get this kit from Propellerpowered's Tindie store.

The new kit is easier to build and contains many newly added features.

The Pocket Mini Computer hardware specifications:

  • Parallax Propeller Quickstart Board (8 cogs, 32K RAM, 64K EEPROM)
  • Improved VGA Output
  • Stereo R/L Audio Output
  • PS/2 Keyboard/Mouse Input
  • Wii(tm) compatible controller connection
  • Optional microSD adapter connector
  • Optional iR connector
  • Experimenter's port

The Pocket Mini Computer is language compatible with Spin, Assembly (PASM), C, and BASIC.

COLOR BASIC features:

  • 4094 available bytes free
  • 64 and 256 color modes
  • 1 "SIDlike" audio channel
  • 127 character re-programmable character set
  • plot, line, and box graphics commands
  • I/O access commands
  • 95+ BASIC Commands, operators, and functions
  • SD operating system
  • Full screen editor (requires a microSD card.)
  • Ability to execute non-basic binary programs
  • Extended memory features (requires a 23K256 SRAM chip)

More details about the Pocket Mini Computer can be found on this Wiki.
Schematics and Source Code are available for anyone who wants to "roll their own".

<p>Good http://salonbisnes.ru/</p>
Why not use LIRC? You can even use a sound card with a simple IR receiver.
Thanks so much for posting this! Now my <a href="http://www.theundercoverunit.com" rel="nofollow">entertainment</a> system will be off the hook. That will help me stay out of the miami sun all day.
Is the tv playing the movie &quot;Next&quot; w/ nicholas cage?
Your camera is freaking me out. Are you underwater or something?! Also, Can't you just get an IR USB device and skip the microcontroller?
I've played with those IR USB devices. They simply don't have the kind of power I was looking for in regard to PC control. This give me full control over the PC and programs.
It is youtube's &quot;stabilize video&quot; plugin. I've turned it off. It did make things appear a little weird.
Thank you!
I got started with computers 32 years ago working with machines having probably same capabilities as your pocket computer. If your computer's BASIC is as easy to use as GWBASIC, there should be no limit to what can be done regarding control applications as today's PC is overkill. <br>Congratulations on your instructable !
Thanks Rafael61! The BASIC in this project is easy to use as GWBASIC, but because of the power of the Propeller it's much more powerful. Even better, because the BASIC is written in Spin, you can add new commands to it.

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