These days it is pretty easy to setup a Home Theater PC using a cheap computer (raspberry being my preferred choice).
Still, the remote control is many times the weak point.
It is easy to buy or refurbish an infrared remote transmitter, it is less easy/cheap to find an infrared receiver.
Thus, you can find some cheap telco+receiver like these :
I then thought it would be fun/interesting to use an arduino for this.
Quickly googling, I found 2 ways to achieve this :
-turn my arduino into a HID device (probably the cleanest way but more complex) thru the use of the v-usb firmware
-have the arduino send (over serial) the expected datas to LIRC (less complex but more prone to errors)
Lets do some mad googling and collect some interesting pointers
-setup LIRC and a FDTI232 adapter : here
-the arduino IRRemote lib as you will need to decode the incoming signals : here
-some arduino code which seems to turn the arduino into a lirc receiver : here
-another possible interesting thread : here
-a similar project with interesting links especially around irman protocol : here
-similar project using IRMAN protocol : here
-related, on attiny85 : here
-v-usb track : here