Quote:I feel as if the remote control end of it has been shoved to the side while other features have been worked on and implemented.
Probably because it has. Linux has LIRC which is pretty much standard. Under windows there are a bunch of programs, girder, eventghost, etc. Each htpc software, media portal etc all seem to write their own plugin system for remote control support. So nothing is even remotely standard. To top it off the cheap remotes install themselves basically as keyboards and aren't configurable at all. A double whammy.
I am the developer of winlirc, so clearly I am biased, but winlirc could potentially really solve your problems, not just for XBMC but maybe other programs. Essentially winlirc just decodes signals, and outputs the name of the button on a socket. Any program can listen to this socket message. And for the user all he/she has to do is bind the name of the button in the LIRC config, to an action inside your program. Historically WinLIRC only supported home brew serial receivers. A few people on ebay etc commercially made them, but they aren't that widespread. But all that has changed, I rewrote the entire program, and ported a large part of the code over from the linux version. So now we have a plugin system that can support pretty much any remote control. I've just finished a plugin for the firefly mini remote.
Next up is the MCE receiver. The MCE receiver, like some of the other hardware I have, gives access to the raw timing information of the signal. So with an MCE receiver we can support any infra-red remote control, not just the MCE one. That is the plan for the anyway. I just need to buy one first
Check out the audio receiver. An infra-red receiver hooked directly to the line in on your sound card.
You can decode pretty much most remote controls with that, and it costs only a few pennies.