If you love the feel of stereo sound in your home theater system but hate the tangled wires that prevent your viewing experience from being truly state-of-the-art, then wireless infrared (IR) technology, including an IR extender, will help you create the home theater you have always wanted. Whether you want to be able to view in multiple rooms or just want to hide all the “evidence” of DVD players, cable boxes, etc. in a neatly concealed closet or cabinet, an IR extender will make sure your signal remains strong. A good IR extender, such as the X10 Powermid PM 5900, will go through walls, through doors, and even around corners to keep your signal intact.If you are evaluating IR extenders for purchase, you must take a few minutes to determine exactly what your needs will be when it comes to controlling your devices. The user who needs only to control a cable box and Blu-ray player has a very different set of requirements than the user who has a gaming system, multiple televisions, and even customized lighting in the area where they wish to use this technology. Consider not only how easy the product is to install, but also what types of technology may interfere with your installation and how reliant the machine will be on your remote hitting its target squarely. Some options actually allow you to remove all devices completely from the line of sight while others require specific placement.
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What Is the X10 Powermid PM5900?
The X10 Powermid 5900 is an IR extender kit with a futuristic pyramid transmitter and receiver that enables users to control audio and visual equipment using a remote control. Whether you are looking for 10 feet in range or as many as 100, you will easily be able to use your remote, when paired with this IR extender, to control VCRs, cable boxes, and even stereo equipment in another room. The kit also comes with an optional IR extender cable to allow users to place the equipment entirely out of the line of sight in a room.The X10 Powermid is particularly appealing to users who want great range and also value the sleek lines of their décor, since it can be removed from the line of sight completely thanks to its RF signals. Additionally, this particular product comes with a number of expansion options since you can easily install additional Powermid receivers and, if you like, even additional Powermid transmitters to control audio and visual equipment from as many rooms as you like. This is one of the only products on the market offering this unique set of features.
This IR extender comes with just two pieces in a basic kit, making it simple to install and easy to start using. The IR extender kit does come with an additional cable to create the best range for your system while keeping your rooms clear of the clutter associated with in-home stereo, gaming, and home theaters equipment. The IR kit comes with tabletop transmitters and receivers, uses AC power, and is less than three inches wide. It also comes with a one-year warranty and has a range of 100 feet.
How It Compares
We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare:
- HD TV HookUp IR S6A
- Gefone Kit GIRE0108
- Inteset Technologies IR3856EM
- Ease of Use
- Design Quality
The X10 Powermid PM5900 is one of the easiest IR extender options on the market because it truly is a “plug and play” alternative with high-powered range and easy power options. The pyramids each plug into an A/C wall outlet in the two rooms in which you plan to operate. Once you have plugged in your IR extender kit, unless you opt to use the IR extender cable to allow you to place the receiver behind the line-of-sight in a given room, you are done with the installation. The company projects you should be able to install your new IR extender in about five minutes.
This IR extender kit is not just easy to install. It is also highly unobtrusive. The sleek, black, small pyramid shape fits in easily, blending in with most décor, and the optional IR extender cable makes it even easier to create an environment in which your IR extender set up simply blends into the background.
The X10 Powermid PM 5900 comes with a one-year warranty, as long as you purchase it from an approved retailer.
- Sleek design
- Easy installation
- Runs on AC power
- 100-foot range
- Not compatible with devices that use RF remotes
The HDTV HookUp IRS6A is great for users who may find that other options for extending their IR range do not work in their lighting conditions due to fluorescent bulbs and other complicated interactions in the systems. This unit, which has an in-wall infrared remote, is a little more difficult to install than other options but is likely to resolve any issues you have with your lighting or tech incompatibilities. A 40-foot range creates quite a bit of flexibility for users.
- Ease of Use
- Design Quality
This IR extender kit consists of an in wall IR infrared remote control extender that must be mounted in the wall in a standard J-box. Once the in-wall receiver of this IR extender kit is mounted, run a cable from the receiver to the IR control block, place the IR emitters over the IR receiver of your device, and then you are ready to power up. We gave this device three stars for ease of use because it is extremely easy to use but a little more complicated to install than other options. However, once the installation is complete, the system is very easy to work with and requires less “tinkering” than some other systems.
If you were looking for a product that would blend into the background, then this IR extender could be right up your alley. The devices can be wall-mounted in a typical box that would normally hold an outlet and appear to simply be part of the background when you are done. If anyone does notice it, it will be mainly just that you appear to have particularly modern outlets in your home.
This product does not come with a manufacturer’s warranty, although some online retailers may offer return options if it does not suit your needs.
- Can be installed in areas with compact fluorescent lighting
- IR extender can work with nearly all types of remotes
- 40-foot range
- Installation may take a little longer
The Gefone Kit is ideal for someone who simply wants to have a central location into which they can plug all of their devices and then be done with the IR extending process. The technology permits users to control as many as 10 devices using the machine although there are only 8 ports, so you will need additional hardware in order to reach your full 10-unit potential. Interestingly, this flexible machine also offers users the option of powering it with a USB cord as well as using a traditional wall outlet.Gefone is working hard to establish a reputation for excellent customer service and high levels of customer satisfaction, which means that this product comes with a lot of highly responsive, fast support in the event that you have difficulties getting it running.
- Ease of Use
- Design Quality
This device is highly affordable and comes with very simple installation instructions that include some cords and extension devices. It may be used to fully control eight devices one it is installed and only requires you plug it in to get it started. Interestingly, you can also power the distribution block with a USB cable should you wish to do so. We give the Gefone kit three stars only because it will not work with certain RNG devices and may require some tinkering in order to function with plasma televisions.
This device is highly unobtrusive, but it does have a number of cords, which may leave some users feeling cool toward the machine. However, the full 10 devices that can be powered using this IR extender and the fact that it has multi-room range certainly help make up for the little black box angle inherent to its design.
Gefone offers lifetime warranties on all of its products, provided they are not abused and you purchase them from an authorized retailer.
- Easy to install
- Lots of good customer support
- Supports a lot of devices
- USB power cord option
- Not ideal for controlling plasma televisions
If you like your cables hidden whether you are dealing with computers, televisions, or gaming systems, then the Inteset IR remote control repeater-extender-emitter could likely provide you with the solution you are looking for. This highly affordable option is a favorite with gamers, who use it for Xbox One and many other streaming devices as well. This product has a powerful dual band IR receiver and can work with nearly all audio and visual devices. It also can accommodate eight devices and offers three charging options: standard, 12-volt, and USB cable. The company also provides U.S. based support for the product.
- Ease of Use
- Design Quality
The Inteset Technologies IR 3856EM is easy to install and makes the process of using your remote to control as many as eight devices extremely simple. Once you have placed the IR receiver where you usually aim your remote (the company recommends near the television), you can simply run a wire from the television to the box. Plug into a wall outlet and get ready to enjoy your newfound control and power. The unit also has three options for power, although only the traditional outlet plug is included. The unit may not work with some plasma televisions and AT&T Uverse boxes, but can be housed in the same location without compromising functionality as long as it is not too close to these devices.
This device is uninvasive and, thanks to the simple installation process that requires no additional wiring, can be easily placed nearly out of sight in your room. However, since the remote must be aimed at the receiver in order to get a response, you will need to be prepared for the device to be somewhat visible after installation. In some cases, users report needing to have very good aim when it comes to getting the remote to elicit a response from the device, so the only issue with design may be that you will need to set up your lounge area in such a way as to allow you to easily target your Inteset device.
Inteset offers a one-year warranty provided you purchase the product from an authorized retailer and can demonstrate that the device was not abused.
- Works with nearly all audio and visual devices
- Three options for providing power
- Works with Xbox One and other gaming systems
- Works with most streaming devices
- Great customer support
- Does not work with Cisco RNG or Marantz devices
The X10 Powermid PM 5900 IR Extender: Worth Every Penny
Although the X10 Powermid 5900 is slightly more expensive than other IR extender options in this review, it is well worth every penny thanks to the sleek design of the technology, the highly responsive system, and the easy installation. Nothing appears to come close to this option when it comes to infrared remotes and extenders for easy installation, modern design, compatibility with other types of technology, and range, which for the X10 is about 100 feet through walls, around corners, and even out of closets.