If your MCE compatible remote stopped working in Ubuntu 14.04 or another newer release of Linux, check for this weird problem!

Note: The issue described below is not the same one that is affecting many users of recent versions of Ubuntu. For a solution to that problem, see Make LIRC work in Ubuntu 18.04, so that you can use your infrared remote in Kodi.

If you have found this page you have probably already come across several other pages that try to tell you how to get the MCE USB remote working in Ubuntu. Maybe you are a Kodi user and you came across this thread, and you tried everything but nothing would work – in fact, when you ran the ir-keytable program (which you’ve almost certainly already installed if you’ve found any other pages on this subject) in test mode, you may have found that on the keys that work at all, you got strange combinations of square brackets and letters instead of the expected output. Well, before you give up, and especially if you’re installing Ubuntu (or some other *buntu variant) on new hardware, here are two things to check.

First, if you are using a USB infrared receiver, try a different USB port. In our case, this made the difference between getting no response at all out of the thing and the aforementioned cryptic square brackets/letters.

But also, try running sudo ir-keytable one more time, and look to see if maybe it’s finding more than one IR device (even if you are sure you only have one). For example, when we ran it, we were seeing this (and I hate to say it, but it took far too long to dawn on me that we were seeing TWO devices there):

$ sudo ir-keytable
Found /sys/class/rc/rc0/ (/dev/input/event4) with:
	Driver ite-cir, table rc-rc6-mce
	Supported protocols: NEC RC-5 RC-6 JVC SONY SANYO LIRC RC-5-SZ other 
	Enabled protocols: RC-6 
	Name: ITE8704 CIR transceiver
	bus: 25, vendor/product: 1283:0000, version: 0x0000
	Repeat delay = 500 ms, repeat period = 125 ms
Found /sys/class/rc/rc1/ (/dev/input/event10) with:
	Driver mceusb, table rc-rc6-mce
	Supported protocols: NEC RC-5 RC-6 JVC SONY SANYO LIRC RC-5-SZ other 
	Enabled protocols: RC-6 
	Name: Media Center Ed. eHome Infrared 
	bus: 3, vendor/product: 1784:0008, version: 0x0101
	Repeat delay = 500 ms, repeat period = 125 ms

The real IR device is the “Media Center Ed. eHome Infrared”, so what’s the “ITE8704 CIR transceiver”? We have no idea – maybe there’s some vestigial circuitry for an IR receiver in the computer, and it’s detected during startup, but there no actual IR receiver there? In any case, once we realized what the problem was, we found the solution in a post in the Kodi forum:

edit : “/etc/modprob.d/blacklist.conf” and add the line:

blacklist ite_cir

And reboot

The prevents the operating system from seeing the non-existent IR receiver, and only lets it see the real one. We then reinstalled lirc (which we had removed because so many pages had said it wasn’t necessary) and all of a sudden our remote came back to life, with all the buttons working in Kodi again.  If you have a similar situation, you can try blacklisting the driver for the non-existent or non-functional device in a similar manner.  And if that isn’t the problem, perhaps one of the links mentioned above can help.  That’s Linux for you sometimes – the solution to a problem takes about 30 seconds to implement, but finding it takes HOURS.  🙁

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