Infrared controller - suggestions?

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I want to control two entertainment centers with infrared from HA. Both are projection systems, with screen in the front of the room, up high, so the IR receiver for the screen is high up, but the main entertainment center components (like a BD player, HDMI switcher, game consoles, streaming box, and so on) are to the side of where the screen drops down and from 2-4’ off the floor. At the back of the room, in a box coming down from the ceiling, is the projector.

A good while ago (10 years or more), I tried using different types of IR blasters and controllers to control another entertainment center setup in my old house. I found one major issue was the strength of the IR signal. With a projection TV 15-18’ from the entertainment center, I don’t know if one IR device can control the entertainment center, the screen, and the TV.

I had ordered this IR device from AliExpress over a month ago and it’s stuck in shipping hell. I can’t even verify if it’s left China at this point. (I know it sat in the port for at least 2 weeks without moving to the next step in processing. We all know how shipping is problematic right now.)

I’d like to find an IR device I can use for this kind of setup. It needs to work with HA so I can control everything from my phone. I don’t mind if it’s an ESP device and/or I need to flash it. I can handle some soldering (would rather not, if avoidable). If it has a strong enough signal I can put it in the mount area with the projector and it can still reliably control the devices across the room, that’d be great. However, if that’s an issue, then I need something small so I could use multiple items in the room. (Maybe one mounted by the screen IR receiver, one near the TV, and one on the entertainment center shelf, for everything there.)

Also, I’d like to find something that’s easily in stock, and available from someplace in the US, so I don’t have to deal with waiting for weeks or months due to shipping issues.

I know that’s a lot, but does anyone have suggestions for IR controllers that can solve these issues?

I think there is a consensus around Broadlink over here.
Plenty of documentation on using them with HA.

I have no personal experience, but with Logitech Harmony going dark, I’ll have to find a replacement sooner or latter, and Broadlink will likely be a no-brainer.

Aren’t there issue with Broadlink phoning home and tracking activity? Or is that something that can be turned on and off? In our case, it’s not just about tracking. We have rural internet. While sending commands and info back and forth isn’t high bandwidth, for us, bandwidth is an issue. Also, without some kind of cable internet, a device that has to connect to an outside server frequently can have problems work because there are times the connection isn’t there or is super-slow.

And is signal strength much of an issue with IR devices these days?

I can recommend the Broadlink. I’ve had mine (a mini) for 2.5 years and it’s been working without trouble. It’s strong enough to basically see around corners. Mine stands on top of the TV unit and some of my equipment is in a shelf underneath.

I second (third?) the vote for Broadlink here!

So having a unreliable internet connection won’t be an issue with Broadlink? I don’t want to try to use it and have it not respond because it can’t connect to a server or something like that.

It’s local only.

Thanks!

While there is an overall concern, here, about privacy, on the other end, it’s just practical: Until we can get Starlink, I have to be aware that the connection is usually good, but can disappear from time to time or slow down to dial-up speed. (But cellular internet is FAR better than our old ViaSat system. When a storm was coming in, we couldn’t even get a good connection to see the radar and see how bad it would be or how big it was!)