I've been using USB-UIRT for about 6 years now and it works great for me. I don't have any problems with having to aim the remote at it, in fact I sit my remote in a charging cradle and it point directly at the ceiling. When I was testing the distance of the remote I use now, an Ipaq RX3715, I stood against the same wall the receiver is one but in the next room, pointed the remote toward the door between the rooms at the far end and bounced the IR signal off the back wall and still got ok results. That was about 30 feet without line of site. I think the issue may be more with the remote, of course the output from this Ipaq is quite a bit stronger than the average remote.
I would recommend the USB-UIRT wholeheartedly.
One more suggestion, if your using the remote to control EventGhost. The software I use is Remote Control II http://www.wincesoft.de/html/remotecontrol_ii.html
It will not only do a strong IR signal but will also connect via the web server plugin. Then you can control EG without using IR. I use it to control stage lighting for concerts at a theater I do some work at. I setup lighting scenes on my laptop and call them with EG. I use a adhoc wireless connection between my Ipaq and laptop and can do lights for the show from anywhere in the theater. There is literally no more latency than when using the normal lighting console. Remote Control II and EventGhost work very well together.