An infrared (IR) remote control is the most commonly used type used by many consumer electronics. IR remotes send a low-speed burst of light up to 30 feet and require direct line of sight with the to affect control.
The easiest way to understand how IR remotes work is to compare it to a flashlight. You point the flashlight in the direction you want to illuminate. Anything outside of that ray of light will remain dark. This is the same concept IR remotes utilize; you must be able to point the remote directly at the unit you want to control to have it work properly. We have all experienced the limitation of IR remotes when the dog sits in front of the TV and we can’t change the channel until he moves.
Radio Frequency (RF) remotes are easier to use because they don’t require line of sight to affect change and can even be operated from another room. Your garage door opener is an example of an RF remote. Although the garage door is closed and you are outside, you are able to open the door from outside without direct line of site to the receiver. The RF remote can communicate with the receiver even though there are walls or other obstacles in the way.
This is exactly how an RF remote can work for your AV equipment. You can place your equipment behind solid doors or cabinets, or even in other rooms and still have total control of their operations. Since it works on a radio frequency rather than a line of site, you don’t have to point the remote directly at the equipment.