A Buyers Guide to TV Remote Controls on eBay

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A Buyer's Guide to TV Remote Controls on eBay

Back in 1956, the first television remote control entered the market. Remote control technology, which was first described by Nikola Tesla, goes back as far as 1893. Remote control technology helped aviators guide aircraft during World War II, and after the war, developers created remote control prototypes that opened garage doors. Television remote controls changed the viewing habits of consumers who had to get out of a chair or off of a couch to change channels. With the click of a device, consumers initiated a phenomenon called "channel surfing", which allowed them to watch multiple television programmes simultaneously. Channel surfing eventually spawned a new phenomenon that pitted family members and friends against each other for control of the television remote control.

Consumers can find television remote controls at the leading auction site, eBay. Almost every television remote control purchased by consumers replaces a remote that comes with an original television. Consumers need to learn some things about television remote controls before they venture out to find replacements. Consumers should understand how TV remote controls work, learn about the types of features of remote controls, and then learn how to buy a replacement television remote control.

How a TV Remote Control Works

The person who handles the television remote control is the subject of many intense household debates. Yet, most consumers do not understand how TV remote controls operate. While there are some subtle differences among the various TV remote controls, the general circuitry schematic is essentially the same.

Television remote controls respond when the keys are pressed by users. They translate the pressed key into infrared light signals that a television receives. Taking the back cover off of TV remote controls reveals a printed circuit board that houses the battery contacts. An integrated circuit, also referred to as a chip, transfers signals between a diode, transistor, resistor, capacitor, and more than one resistor. The chip detects which key a user presses by the signals sent between the chip and the remote's other internal components. Each pressed key sends a unique infrared light signal. The primary reason why remotes stop working is damage caused by hard impacts or moisture.

Types of TV Remote Controls

Television remote controls have evolved from controlling what is viewed on one television to controlling an entire home entertainment system. However, the types of remotes available for televisions and entertainment systems are virtually identical. While there are myriad remote controls on the market, consumers only need to be aware of the following TV remote control categories.

Dedicated TV Remote Control

This remote is dedicated to the specific television purchased by a user. Also called a standard television remote control, consumers do not have much leeway in choosing a remote when one comes with a television.

Manufacturer TV Remote Control

Manufacturer remotes work on multiple electronic devices that are constructed by the same manufacturer. For instance, Sony remote controls work on an array of Sony televisions. A Panasonic remote can control a Panasonic home theatre, as well as a plasma TV. This type of remote supports buttons that control each manufacturer device.

Universal TV Remote Control

Most of the popular electronics brands offer universal remote controls. They work on any electronic device via the integration of circuit board databases. Consumers must consult with code manuals to set up the remote control system for all electronic devices within their home or office. The quality range of universal remote controls is wide. Therefore, consumers must be scrupulous when buying this type of TV remote control.

Learning TV Remote Control

Advanced technology has helped to create a remote control that learns all of the codes from an existing remote control. Thus, there is no need to reprogramme a replacement remote control. All users have to do is point the old and replacement remotes at each other and implement a list of simple commands, which transfers the codes from the old remote to the replacement remote. Learning remote controls perform better than universal remotes simply because they take away the human programming error factor.

Programmable TV Remote Control

Programmable remotes provide users with the capability to create macros that sequence how a collection of electronic devices operate. For instance, users can programme the remote to first turn on a television, then turn on a receiver, and finally, turn on a DVD player to watch a film. Users can activate programmable remote control macros by punching a predetermined sequence of keys.

Television Remote Control Features

Television remote controls accomplish more than just turning a television on and off and controlling the volume. Advanced remote control technology has introduced some new features and enhanced the features that consumers have used for decades. Here are the remote control features and short descriptions of each feature.

Remote Control Feature


Personal Computer Connectivity

Connects to personal computer via USB port

Capability to install programming software and download stored command codes

Personalised graphic icons for one-click function

LCD Screen

Controls LCD screen clarity

May display data or allow users to use a touchscreen to access data

User Interfaces



Voice commands

RF Extenders

Extends operating range of TV remote control

Typical range expansion from 9 m to nearly 30 m

Automatic signal transmission for every command

Operates on electronic devices throughout most homes

TV remote control manufacturers continue to add features that expand the number of devices that remotes can control, as well as the functions remote controls can manage. Automated homes incorporate remote control technology to allow homeowners to access commands for every appliance, light, and electronic device within their homes. Because of the increasing number of remote control features, the days of producing dedicated television remote controls may soon come to an end.

How to Buy a Replacement Remote Control

Whether consumers purchase standalone high definition televisions or buy high-end home theatre systems, they typically receive a brand name remote control for one or more devices. Since most televisions can no longer be programmed without a remote, it is important for consumers to understand what it takes to replace a lost or malfunctioning TV remote control.

Which Type of Remote?

Consider which type of remote to purchase. Does the remote need to control a single television or a complex system that includes cable and satellite boxes? Cable and satellite companies typically offer advice for buying replacement TV remote controls. However, when left on their own, consumers should consider learning about remotes to avoid the complexity of programming universal remote controls.

Model Number

Write down the model number of the remote that needs to be replaced. Most remotes have numbers etched directly onto them, most likely on the removable battery cover. Some manufacturers inscribe model numbers inside of the battery holder. Remote control manuals are also another place to find remote control model numbers. If all else fails, contact the manufacturer to save time searching for a replacement.

How to Buy TV Remote Controls on eBay

Consumers who understand exactly what they want in a TV remote control can find excellent deals shopping for them on eBay. Some sellers offer brand new remote controls at discounted prices because they either purchased the wrong remote or changed their mind about the type of TV remote they want to buy.

Using eBay’s Search Engine

eBay offers you a search engine to find a seller who matches your TV remote control shopping criteria. Simply type a few keywords into eBay's search engine, and then navigate through the search result pages until to you find the right seller. The best search engine strategy is to specify the keywords to reduce the number of search result pages. You can type keyword phrases such as "Panasonic TV remote control&" or "used TV remote control&" to shorten the search results. After you find a seller, click on the seller's product page to review delivery terms, return policies, and accepted payment methods.

Find the Right Seller

In addition to finding a seller who meets your TV remote control buying criteria, you also want to do business with a trusted source of remote controls. eBay's Top-Rated Sellers are sellers who have established sterling reputations for selling high-quality products and running fair auctions. eBay issues electronic ribbon icons to their top-rated sellers, which buyers can find next to the seller's product photograph. You can also review customer feedback on seller product pages.


Rapid technological changes have transformed simple television remote controls into devices that control multiple parts of a home electronics system. Consumers do not need to know about the technology as much as they need to have a basic grasp of how a TV remote control works. Remote controls work from a circuit board that stores and implements commands that turn devices on and off, as well as adjust volume. Manufacturers have produced remote controls that work in home automation systems. One remote cannot only control a television, it can also turn down a thermostat and open a garage.

Consumers typically receive TV remote controls with the purchase of a new television. However, remotes have a tendency to fall through the couch cracks or be the recipients of a crushing foot step. Therefore, consumers should prepare for the inevitable by learning about the types of remote controls and the capabilities of each type. Shopping for TV remotes can be as easy as clicking on an eBay seller's product page.

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