A Buyers Guide to TV Remotes for People with Disabilities

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A Buyers Guide to TV Remotes for People with Disabilities

Individuals who suffer from physical and mental disabilities, find that not only is their mobility limited, but that their dexterity and ability to manipulate objects is diminished as well. Due to limited mobility, many disabled individuals enjoy television as not only a means of entertainment, but as a window to the world as well. Sadly, many of those who are disabled, whether it be by injury, advanced age, or other conditions, are unable to manipulate a traditional TV remote control. There are, however, alternative remotes controls that are available for those who have disabilities.

These alternative remotes make it possible for even those with limited dexterity, to access at least the basic functions of a television. These specialised remotes can be found in electronics store, but also on eBay, where the wider variety of options makes it a worthwhile place to shop for unique devices. When buying a remote control designed for those with disabilities, it is helpful to be aware of the different types of remotes available, and how they can be programmed to work with an existing television.

Types of TV Remotes Available For People With Disabilities

Remote control technology has changed significantly in the last few years. Where before, television viewers had to rely on remotes provided by the manufacturers of their televisions, now there are universal remotes. These are remotes that are designed to not only control all televisions made by all major manufacturers, but also other devices, such as Blu-ray players and even cable boxes. Universal remote technology has made it possible for the development of remotes for those with disabilities that can be programmed for use with any television. These remotes come in several forms.

Large Button Remotes

Most television viewers like having access to various features, and this is true of people with disabilities. This often ends up in purchasing remotes with small buttons that only individuals with smaller hands can use comfortably. The solution to this problem is making remotes that use larger buttons. Remotes that have this feature make it possible for those who suffer from tremors or have poor eyesight to access their television features quickly and easily.

Large Button Remote Special Features

Most remotes with large buttons feature buttons that are made of a soft rubber that can be felt and identified easily. These buttons are also spaced far enough apart that they are not easily confused with other buttons. In many cases, each button has a distinct shape that makes finding the right button easier.

Remote Interfaces

Remote control interfaces are not remote controls in and of themselves. Rather, they are devices that can be used in combination with regular remote controls to make certain functions easier for those with disabilities. An example of a remote interface, is one that docks with a regular remote and features one or more large buttons that access basic functions such as power and volume.

In many cases, these buttons are connected to the dock and original remote via a long cable. This makes it easy for those who cannot move very well to either push the buttons with their fingers or to even mash it with a palm or fist. Such an interface makes it impossible to access every feature of a television, but for those with limited motor skills it is an ideal way to turn a television on and off and to change channels and volume.

Voice Operated Remotes

Some people with disabilities have difficulties in using their hand at all, and are more comfortable using remotes with voice-activated features. Of course, these remotes also have buttons, which makes it possible for people to use voice commands and push buttons at the same time. This is particularly useful for disabled individuals who live in a home with others who are not disabled, as both can use this remote easily. Voice operated remotes are capable of more complex functions than large button remotes or remote interfaces.

Voice Operated Remote Special Features

Theoretically, any television function can be programmed into the remote, and activated with a single spoken word or phrase. That single fact makes these kinds of remotes extremely versatile and ideal for anyone with many different physical disabilities. The only issue with any manner of voice operated technology, is that voice commands must be spoken clearly and loudly for the device to register it. This may becomes a problem with those whose disabilities make it difficult to speak properly.

Remote Mounts

Since voice operated remotes function better if they are placed near the user's mouth, there are specially designed mounts that can make this easier. Many of these mounts consist of long, flexible structures that can be bent and positioned in the optimum location. This is particularly useful for those combined to beds or who have no use of their hands. These mounts should be carefully attached to a chair or other stable structure to ensure that they do not fall off, causing damage or injury.

Knob Remotes

Some remotes forgo buttons entirely and replace them with knobs and dials that can be turned in order to access television features. Others make use of knobs for key features like volume and channel changing, which retaining buttons for other features. These knobs and dials can be used by those who might have trouble feeling buttons or who lack the strength to press one. A remote control featuring a knob can be controlled with a single digit, such as a thumb and in a remote with a clicking knob, users can retain very direct control over features like volume and channels.

Programming TV Remotes

Since televisions are unlikely to come equipped with a remote usable by a person with disabilities, it is important to ensure that a new remote is programmed to work with a given television. Remote controls can be programmed in three different ways.

Remote Programming Methods

The first method is for users to manually enter a series of numerical codes. One of these codes should work with a television and grant the user access to TV functions. The second method is for the remote control itself to attempt a series of codes that are stored in its memory until one of the codes triggers a response from the television. This method is easier for those who may not have a lot of manual dexterity, but still requires pressing buttons in specific combinations.

The third method is for the remote control to receive instructions from a computer, where codes are downloaded from the internet. This method is more commonly found in very complex universal remotes that are designed to control many different devices. This is usually only the case with voice operated remotes rather than large button or knob remotes. Remote interfaces do not need to be programmed at all, since they make use of an existing remote that, presumably already has a connection to the television.

Buying TV Remotes For People with Disabilities on eBay

Many electronic devices are available on eBay, including remote controls in many different varieties, both new and used. One of the advantages of buying products on eBay is that users can find a wide variety of items all in one location. Sellers on eBay may also offer competitive pricing that makes it easier for those with disabilities, or those who work with them, to afford the best remote available. Finding a remote control on eBay is best done by entering a specific search term into the search bar on the eBay home page. The term 'remote control' provides a list of all remote controls available on eBay, but this search can be modified with other terms in order to find the best option for people with disabilities.

Determine if a Remote is the Right Choice For You

Since individuals with disabilities all have very unique situations, it is important to carefully read the product description for each remote in order to determine if it is the best fit. Some remotes may have features that work to a certain extent, but may not be an ideal choice because of certain physical limitations. Likewise, carefully studying a seller's information can make it easier to buy and ship a product without any problems.


Television is one of the ways in which those with disabilities can interact and learn about the world around them, but for many of them, it is difficult to control a television with ease. For this reason, there are remote controls that are specially designed to make controlling a television easier.

There are several different designs for these remotes, each working better for specific disabilities. Large button remotes make it easier for those with poor eyesight, or those with weak motor skills, to find the buttons they need. Remote interfaces can connect to an existing remote in order to provide users with one or more large buttons for access to vital television functions. Voice operated remotes allow users to control a television with simple voice commands. Finally, some remotes feature knobs and dials that make it possible for users to control their televisions without buttons. Each of these remotes can be programmed to work with virtually any television, which makes it easy for anyone with disabilities to customise their viewing experience.

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