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U-verse remote


U-verse remote

Just got U-verse Friday last.  The new remote works about half the time.  How do I get one that works ALL of the time?

Message 1 of 6
ACE - Expert

Re: U-verse remote

The problem may not be the remote, but IR interference from your TV or lighting.  Do you have more than one U-verse TV Reciever?  If so, try using the other remote to control the reciever (not the TV because it won't be programmed for that) and see if that's any better.


If so, then maybe it is the remote.  If not, and the original remote works better in the other room, then you have to deal with the IR interference issue.  After you've done this test, come back for more.


*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
Message 2 of 6
ACE - Expert

Re: U-verse remote

jdunham - I guess you you use the term remote to include the overall operation of controlling the TV. There are three components for controlling the TV - The remote, the IR traveling from the remote to the Sensor in the STB and the Sensor.

The only deficiencies I have never seen in a post that specifies a problem with a remote are weak batteries and worn out volume down.

There are many posts about IR interference as Jefferr mentions. You can test for this by making a tunnel from the STB to your arm with the remote with a pole and blanket. See how the remote works in the dark.

The last one - IR sensor is too sensitive has many posts as well. This is resolved by covering the sensor with anything that has low transparency. This covering may also mitigate IR interference.

Here is more info -

IR Issues

Going back 5-6 years there are many posts about IR interference. Remedies included taping over the IR sensor, hiding the STB, turning off auto brightness on the TV.

A common fault was the info button press corrupting to an STB mute action. The number of reports of this have totally fallen away. My personal initial primary problem was getting the zero to register. But, one day long ago that just went away.

Niles Audio Corp. makes IR repeaters & has a video on their web site showing the fragility of the IR coding that is used for U-verse & other boxes. They said their new line of repeaters could handle it. Oddly, a U-verse customer posted in this community that they had a NIles install that was not working & after they contacted Niles they did not get any satisfactory resolution.

I came to believe that the IR sensor is too sensitive, That the DVR is worse than other STBs. That command type buttons are worse than the number buttons. That, somehow software updates can make it better or worse, So, it is a moving target. Hard to pin down.

I noticed that the U-verse remote does work better than my Logitech Harmony model 700. I looked at the IR signal through a digital camera. It appeared to me that the Harmony IR signal is stronger than the U-verse remote. This reinforces my theory that the IR sensor is too sensitive.

Recently, my most common problem was FF and Play Buttons often corrupted to chan up and chan down more than six times a night while watching recorded shows, exclusively.

I happened to notice that I had a specific kind of "duct tape" covering the blue light on the STB. Actually, it just looks like duct tape, but is electrical tape available at the Home Depot in the electrical dept. -

This tape has a degree of transparency. I thought I would use it to cover the IR sensor. The remote has never worked better. In over 100 evenings since I applied the tape - watching recordings while FF through the ads - I have not had one chan up - chan down corruption . Previously, there would have been at least 6x100=600 occurrences.

Almost all button presses are accepted & none are changed to a different action.

RF Issues

It should not be a surprise, but it is, that half the problems with the RF remote are IR. I run an STB well hidden for a second TV. I had the IR sensor covered with black tape. I replaced the black tape with the "duct tape" & saw an immediate improvement in response to menu buttons. The number buttons were already good - see below for that solution.

The STB using RF must be hidden due to the dongle conversion of RF to IR. If it is not hidden it is subject to the following problems:

IR corruption - Ironically, the RF remote was often offered as a resolution for IR problems. But, if the STB is not hidden nothing has changed to eliminate theI IR corruption problem. If the corrupting light can be seen by the STB IR sensor it will continue to corrupt the IR signal.

If the STB IR sensor can see IR from another remote, it will respond to it.

If another STB can see the IR generated by the dongle, it will respond to it.

Note that hidden means the IR does not see outside light - If you have an optical repeater(like the Niles mentioned above) it is IR subject to corruption. If you have an IR receiver that produces RF to go through a wall, it is still IR subject to corruption. Any optical link open to the room is still open to IR corruption.

Only if the remote is RF (like the point anywhere remote) transmitted to a well hidden device will it ward off IR corruption. The ultimate solution is a wireless remote app. These are available, but incomplete & other devices do not yet support wireless remote. But, the Buddy TV remote can be used for a u-verse STB.

Previously, I found the RF remote lacking in RF power - in the same room, twelve feet away, hidden only by a thin sheet of cardboard. One method to increase RF power is to hold the remote under your chin while pressing a button - using your head as an antenna.

A better way is this antenna placed in the battery compartment -

With this antenna, the channel numbers are almost always accepted. With the "duct tape" in place, the other buttons work almost every time. The remote now works better than ever.

But, recently, I discovered that weakened batteries triggers poor results due to low power. If the remote starts acting up go for fresh batteries. Before I realized the batteries were low I was getting better RF by holding it against a metal arm of a reading light.

To increase RF sensitivity - Cut off the base and one leg of a wire coat hanger (one piece). Hold the short leg perpendicular to the dongle and wrap the longer end around the dongle a few turns until the two perpendicular ends are about the same length (about 3”). Cut the longer one to the same length as the shorter one.

STB Issues

Once IR and RF issues are resolved, there are timing issues with the STB to contend with. Numbers process fast and Menu items process slow. You need quick, light touch on some numbers to avoid duplicates and a slow, strong press on menu activities. Effort is required to suppress the urge to press again while waiting for a response. It takes concentration to get effective results. Frequently a second press immediately cancels a slow responding first press. Current IR and RF issues amplify the effect of the timing issue.
*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
Message 3 of 6

Re: U-verse remote

JefferMC, thank you for the suggestions.


We only have one U-verse TV.  We've never had cable or any other non-broadcast feed before, so this is all new to us.


I hadn't thought of interference from the TV or room lighting, so I'll experiment with that.  The gateway box sits beside and a bit behind our ancient CRT-type TV, so that's probably not a source of much interference.  Room lighting seems more likely.

Message 4 of 6

Re: U-verse remote

Aviewer, that's a lot of information.  Let's see whether I can sift through it.


Yes, I used the term "remote" in a very general sense.  At this point I don't know how to separate a failure in the controller from a failure in the receiver or interference in between.


Weak batteries are not the problem.  The controller is brand new, but, just to make sure, we tested the batteries (good) and even tried a different set.


You mentioned a worn-out button.  That can't be the case because when it quits working ALL buttons except the power button fail to work.


I will attempt some tests for IR interference, but I'm not hopeful.  I'm not sure that a definitive test can be run.  The controller will work perfectly for several hours, then abruptly quit working and stay that way for some time.  I'll have to prepare my test and wait for it to quit.


When you refer to the possibility of the sensor being too sensitive, are you referring to the sensor in the base unit (the gateway) or the transmitter in the controller?


You refer to an STB.  I have no idea what that is.  Please clarify.  Is the "set top box"?  If so, I assume that's the same thing as the gateway.  You also seem to refer to the DVR as an STB.  We're new to all of this, so the terminology is tripping us up.


When you refer to taping over the sensor, is that on the gateway?  There's also a sensor in the DVR and another for the TV.


Partway through your message you switch from IR to RF.  I thought all of this equipment ran on IR.  What part is RF?  There's also a reference to a dongle, but I have none that I know of.  (I was ill the day this was installed, so I may have failed to absorb some of the technician's explanation.)


One last tidbit.  AT&T called today to see how I liked the new U-verse installation.  I told her about the remote problem.  She had me go turn it on and try pressing buttons.  It came on and gave a screen that said to press "OK" to watch TV.  The "OK" button, and all others, were ignored when pressed.  She had me press that "AT&T" button and try again.  No joy.   Finally, as she continued to talk, I started pressing "OK" over and over again.  After about 20 presses the controller started working again, and at that point EVERYthing worked.  I told her this was exactly what it had been doing for days.  Her response was that, since it was now working, the tech support was successful and no more needed to be done.  At that point I was starting into a coughing spell and couldn't argue the point.  I'll call them again tomorrow, but apparently they view intermittent problems as non-problems since sufficient persistence "fixes" the problem.


Many thanks for your suggestions.  I'll experiment with the IR sensitivity tomorrow.




[edited for privacy]

Message 5 of 6
ACE - Expert

Re: U-verse remote

jdunham - Thanks for the detailed comeback. It is a lot of info & it is complicated. Starting by saying you are really talking about multiple things, not just the remote itself was just what came to me to open up the subject. I actually did not go far enough, naming three areas, there is a fourth - delay. More on that later.

Back to the beginning - Thanks for the details on the remote (itself) issues. I think we can rule that out for now.

IR interference test - I believe the tenting method is a definitive test for IR interference. If the tent blocks out all outside light from TVs or CFLs or whatever - If the STB responds well when tented & not well when open to the air, there is something in the air that is interfering with the IR signal.

Terminology - STB is Set Top Box. DVR is a special STB. The one with the hard drive storage built in. The IR sensor is on the front of these boxes. They are usually near the TV & the remote is pointed at them. The gateway (aka RG) has no IR function.

So, I am talking about the sensor on the STB/DVR that is acting up. If it is too sensitive the tape will correct the problem. I am not making this up. Many people are very skeptical. When you see it for yourself you will be amazed.

If you have IR interference, it may be hard to track down. If it is the TV you may or may not be able to fix it with a setting. Other sources may be even harder to find & change.


The good news is the somewhat transparent tape appears effective for both IR interference and over sensitivity of the sensor. This is not 2+2=4. Nor, is it scientific. It is only suggestions based on aneccdotal experience.

It probably was not a good idea to include the RF in my response. That is the next level in the saga. You can ignore it for now.

One last tidbit - Your call in for support. They are not prepared to address this issue. You may find an install/repair tech that visits the house that may have an idea about this. Your call reminds me of one I had - After some work I got a courtesy call about how everything was working now. I said the repair was a success. Then was asked if there was anything else. I said yes I had a problem from time to time. When it started going in circles I was asked if it was happening at the moment. When I said No, I got -  be sure to call in if it happens again.

I believe your experience of having a period of no remote response, followed by it clearing up is the delay issue. The STB was simply backed up. When the queue cleared it responded. When pushing a remote button, watch for the green oval light on the STB to blink. If it blinks, it validates the IR signal. Further delay is in the STB process. Wait for it. If you press the button again, your original request may appear briefly & then be removed quickly by that second press.

When testing IR be sure to work one press at a time - watch for delay in the STB.

Please try the tenting & try covering the front of the STB. I think you will find it works best just before it does not work at all.
Keep posting.

*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
Message 6 of 6
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