I've recently been fixing up my VDR setup to work with FreeSat and make it brother/parent friendly. I've applied the EPG patches to get the 7 day guide, setup an autologging in user under gdm with vdr-sxfe running and that left getting the remote working. For some reason my old serial dongle wasn't happy with lirc - it got detected ok, and would show some signal when buttons were pressed but didn't work with the old config. The entire hardware of the box has changed, so it seems likely something isn't quite right (in particular the lirc drivers spew out warnings about SMP bits so I should probably try the dongle under a single core setup to rule that out, but there's also a move to 64 bit involved).
The easy solution to have something sorted for Christmas was to pickup a cheap remote from eBay. This ended up being a Cyberlink remote + USB dongle combo. Worked just fine when plugged in, turning up as a normal input device and the obvious keys doing the obvious things. I wanted all the keys to work though, as I'd got used to having a lot of the VDR functions instantly accessible rather than having to work my way through the menus. Various searches suggested I'd need to use LIRC to access the odder keys. That seemed a lot of hassle for something that was doing the decoding itself. Some playing with xev turned up keycodes for a number of the keys, but there were still a few missing (and important ones at that, such as Red/Green/Yellow/Blue). Further digging found me a suggestion of an Xorg keyboard map that would map the KEY_RED etc from the evdev device into something workable under X. And then I found inputlirc via the Debian package. This is really bloody neat - point it at an evdev device and it will present all of the KEY_* codes out as lirc keys. If you pass the -g parameter it makes sure the key presses only go to lirc as well. Exactly what I want and a doddle to setup - no messing with a big configuration file, just edit /etc/defaults/inputlirc to point to the correct /dev/input/by-id/ file, add the -g to the options in that file and restart.
Now the main remaining task is to get it working with BBC/ITV HD.