Thanks for that reply - it clarifies a lot of things. I have tried configuring my MCE as a satellite signal and I get to the step that requires an IR blaster. However, my current MCE TV card remote does not have the IR blaster connection, but if I understand you correctly, if I buy the MS branded MCE remote, the IR blaster will then control channel changing on the *C box. This solves the first part of the issue.
The second part concerns the downloaded guide I need for controlling recording. Before I buy the MCE remote, I need to know whether once the IR blaster is in place, will MCE allow me to download the *C guide and set up the recording function?