How to Control your Media Player with your TV Remote with HDMI-CEC


Problem / Outcome Summary

  • This how to guide discusses how to get your TV remote working with your Media Player using HDMI-CEC

This guide applies to:

  • Any Media Player or Media Device that uses HDMI-CEC such as Plex, XBMC, Kodi, Chromecast

Why might I want to do this?

  • Because it is the simplest and most effective way to control your media player
  • Because it’s easier than setting up a separate Infrared receiver on your Media Player and works just as well
  • Because the remote control applications found on Phones and tablets are generally harder and more clunky to use, even when designed for your specific media player

To be clear, what is HDMI-CEC?

HDMI-CEC is a standard designed for controlling devices over the HDMI interface, in full this acronym is High Definition Multimedia Interface – Consumer Electronics Control. With this standard, you can control media players plugged in using HDMI, from the standard TV remote which receives it’s keypresses via the TV’s built in Infrared receiver and sends them down the HDMI cable to the connected media player.  In addition it is possible to switch the TV on and select the appropriate input source from the media player, with noteable examples being Chromecast and Plex that do this.  Of course, standard DVD players connected with HDMI typically do this as well.

The standard is one that is common across all brands today, as it has been mandatory to support the CEC wiring standard since the inception of HDMI 1.0 in about 2005.  It has however been optional to implement the features, so if you have an ealier model Television it may not fully support HDMI-CEC, however typically common big brands such as Panasonic, Sony and Samsung should have at least basic support included.

How do I know if my Television Supports HDMI-CEC?

Many Television sets support HDMI-CEC, however even though this is a mandated standard, most brands call it their own name for marketing reasons.  In addition sometimes it is disabled in the Television for some reason, so be sure to go into your televisions menu and check that it is enabled.

Below is a list of known Manufacturer marketing names for HDMI-CEC, that may show up in your Television Menu.

  • Anynet+ – (Samsung)
  • Aquos Link – (Sharp)
  • BRAVIA Link / Bravia Sync – (Sony)
  • HDMI-CEC – (Hitachi)
  • E-Link – (AOC)
  • Kuro Link – (Pioneer)
  • INlink  – (Insignia)
  • CE-Link / Regza Link – (Toshiba)
  • RIHD (Remote Interactive over HDMI) – (Onkyo)
  • RuncoLink – (Runco International)
  • SimpLink – (LG)
  • T-Link -(ITT)
  • HDAVI COntrol / EZ-Sync / VIERA Link – (Panasonic)
  • EasyLink – (Philips)
  • NetCommand for HDMI – (Mitsubishi)

How do I make it work?

Actually, the beauty of HDMI-CEC is how easy it is to make it work.  If your TV has one of the above  marketing names and it’s switched on, it’s probably already working and you may not have ever realised it.  If you have just enabled it on your TV in the menu, it’s worth while shutting down your media player and restarting it if it’s not instantly working.

Try controlling your media player with your standard TV remote, you might be surprised.

However, if your TV has one of the above marketing names for HDMI-CEC and it’s still not working, double check if your media player supports HDMI-CEC as well.

Final Word

I recall the first time I saw this working with the amazing XBMC (now renamed to Kodi).  It really does work and is a godsend for people building custom media players simply because it’s another level of complexity that you don’t have to address.  In my view there is still nothing better than a traditional infrared remote.  I really dislike having to unlock my phone and especially giving it to other guests just so they can control my system.  A standard remote is there on the coffee table for anyone to use, it’s logical and natural and doesn’t require training.

If you have any issues or questions about HDMI-CEC, hit me up in the comment section below, or in the forums.