I am finding some interesting possibilities when I google for "plasma-proof IR receiver".  For instance, http://www.xantech.com/InfraRed

The problem is that these receivers, from what I can tell, use a 3.5mm jack (instead of serial or usb) and expect to be plugged into an IR connecting block.  Other than getting this plasma-proof receiver, a connecting block, and an emitter attached to the connecting block (this puts me back to square one since that emitter has to talk to something), is there any way to hook this kind of thing up to my myth box?

What I really need is a plasma-proof serial or USB IR receiver, but I have not found one of those yet....