Best answer: Absolutely! A Raspberry Pi can make for a great media center computer, so attaching some sort of interface for a remote is a must. The good news is that there are several ways to get it done, and none of them are expensive. For most people, the best and easiest way is to use a FLIRC USB Universal Remote Control Receiver.
Amazon: FLIRC USB Universal Remote Control Receiver ($23)
Works with any remote on any computer
OK, so the FLIRC USB Receiver isn't a "regular" IR receiver you would wire in, so why is it our best answer? Because it's even better for almost everyone.
You'll probably be wanting a way to use a remote control with your Raspberry Pi to use with media center software like KODI. That means the important part is that you can use a good, full-function remote to watch your movies and shows; not how the signal zaps from your hand to the enclosure the Raspberry Pi is in. And that's where the FLIRC Receiver shines.
It's compatible with almost every remote you can buy, including super-functional models like the Harmony 650 and it's simple to set up. You plug it into a computer and run the setup software (and yes there is software you can run on the Linux-based OS you have on your Raspberry Pi as well as Windows and Mac) and walk through a few steps to tell the receiver what you're doing with it and what remote you're using. Then, it just works.
If you're looking for a way to use a good remote with your raspberry Pi-based media center PC, the FLIRC USB Universal Remote Control Receiver is the best way to do it.
A DIY option
Maybe you need an actual IR diode for a different sort of project, like a controller for an RC car. Or you could just be one of those folks who love to do-it-yourself. We have you covered, too. The Geekworm IR Control Kit for Raspberry Pi includes a control board you connect to the GPIO pin header and a companion remote. The board has an IR receiver, IR transmitter, and two buttons that can be programmed through the GPIO on your Raspberry Pi.
It works as-is with LIRC if you want to use it as a media center remote, and you can also use it to receive commands via IR then pass IR commands to another device or send IR commands when the buttons are pressed manually or virtually through software. If you would rather tinker or need an IR receiver for a different project, this is what you want.
Works with everything
The FLIRC USB Universal Remote Control Receiver was designed to make it easy to use a full-featured remote with your media center PC, no matter what operating system you're using. It works great with the Raspberry PI and everything is literally plug-and-play. It doesn't get any easier.
A must have
Still the best
The Harmony 650 Universal Remote isn't the companies latest product but it's still one of its best. And it works perfectly with the FLIR USB Remote Control Receiver.
It does everything
Like most Raspberry Pi control boards, the Geekworm IR Control board can do a lot of different things. You can use it to control your media center, or get fancy and use a Raspberry Pi as the brain in youe next Battlebot. This was built for the D-I-Yer in you.
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