I spoke too soon. I got the new receiver and it's working with ir-keytable:
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Found /sys/class/rc/rc0/ (/dev/input/event7) with:
Driver mceusb, table rc-rc6-mce
Supported protocols: unknown other lirc rc-5 rc-5-sz jvc sony nec sanyo mce_kbd rc-6 sharp xmp
Enabled protocols: lirc rc-6
Name: Media Center Ed. eHome Infrared
bus: 3, vendor/product: 1934:5168, version: 0x0001
Repeat delay = 500 ms, repeat period = 125 ms
What I realized was I was pressing the power button which comes across as KEY_SLEEP and I was putting the host to sleep. A bit of googling and:
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sudo systemctl mask sleep.target suspend.target hibernate.target hybrid-sleep.target
systemctl restart systemd-logind.service
And now ir-keytable displays KEY_SLEEP without the system shutting down.
Oddly, all the keys display except for the volume keys and mute. Maybe I should try a different remote code.
Update: duh, it's what RCA calls "Volume Punch Through". The volume keys are sending for the TV or Audio. No way to disable it. But I don't need the volume keys anyway.
I'm still not getting anything with LIRC and IRW though. I've tried both the MCEUSB and DevInput config files. Nothing. IRRecord does work but I don't really want to have to go through mapping every key.
I used the quickie conf file I generated with with IRRecord but with only two keys. Those keys show up in IRW. So the keys defined in lircd.conf.mceusb do *not* match the codes being sent by the remote. I see a whole bunch of remotes using the same key programming code for the RCA. I've just gotta match one of those to the LIRC conf.
I shoulda listened to you wesnewell, The answer was Lirc's DevInput conf file. Which is installed by default. With that and the device code on the remote that is used by many devices, I am getting output now from IRW including the color buttons. Yay, this will let me use irexec!