NeoPixels and infrared control?

This time I tried to implement a NeoPixel controller with IR remote using the Adafruit library. It works, but updating the pixels interferes with the IR reception, and I need to use a very low frame rate to maintain an acceptable responsivity.

I know that timing is critical for both of these jobs, and offloading one of them to a second board would be the perfect solution. But maybe there's a cheaper approach. Has anyone found a software solution to this problem?

What do you think about digging both libraries up, and creating a single routine that performs both tasks in a synchronized, win-win manner? Or is that too much for a 16MHz board?