Maybe one more question: In using the Xantech remote IR receiver, do you think I can use a standard 3.5mm cable with the male/female stereo jacks instead of hardwiring the CAT5 cable? I need to span about 35 ft.
A IR block, where each plug connects to one of your devices > and a single IR emitter mounted to your entertainment center, which receives signals from your remote and passes them on to the right devices (e.g. blu ray, dvd, vcr, cable box etc etc). You can hide the wiring for the IR block in your entertainment center, and just run one wire to the IR emitter on your entertainment center. There are cheaper solutions, solutions which are more expensive, and solutions with connections for more devices. All depends on waht you need. Smarthome.com and monoprice.com are good places to get good prices, and find what you need.
There are tons of various extenders available. Just a simple receiver near the TV, and an emitter near the box. It depends on how much money you want to spend, and if looks are important. Sometimes, the RF-based ones are cheaper than wired packages, but are much bigger and not as reliable.