Sometimes setting up two devices to communicate with or control one another involves a complex system of computer code. Sometimes the system is more reminiscent of a MacGyver fix. The G-Link cable, which uses a wire and an infrared transmitter to simulate a human pressing a remote control, fits into the latter category.
A G-Link cable has a single-pin jack at one end and an infrared emitter at the other. Some models are Y-shaped; the cable splits and connects to two emitters. The emitter is often built at a right angle to the cable; the cable lies on top of a device and the emitter dangles loosely, facing toward an infrared receiver. The point of the G-Link cable is for one device to emit infrared signals to control another device, which replicates the effect of a user pressing buttons on a remote control.
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Manufacturers use this cable in different ways. For example, some Philips DVD and hard drive recorders use a G-Link cable to change the channel on a satellite or cable receiver to facilitate unsupervised recordings of programs on different stations. On some Samsung TVs, you browse program listings on your TV screen and choose a program with your TV remote; then, the TV uses the G-Link cable to change the channel on a cable box or to begin recording on a device such as VCR, in both cases reducing the need to use more than one remote control. G-Link cables are less common now that many manufacturers and TV providers offer devices that combine a cable or satellite receiver and a digital video recorder in a single integrated box.