Buying a Universal TV Remote Control

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Buying a Universal TV Remote Control

There are a lot of different components that come with a home cinema system. For starters, there is the TV itself which is the centrepiece of the home theatre. Then there is the DVD or Blu-ray player for watching HD movies, and probably a cable or satellite box that allows viewers to watch hundreds of different channels. Add in the AV receiver and all of the speakers, and homeowners end up with several different remote controls.

It can be confusing to keep up with all these different remote controls, which is where the universal remote control comes in handy. Instead of using many different controls, the universal control allows owners to keep track of everything from one remote. There is a great selection of uniTV remote controllers available for sale on eBay. Potential customers should select a universal remote control based on its features, technology, and how many devices it can operate.

Understanding Universal Remote Controls

Universal remote controls became popular when homeowners started connecting multiple audio, video, and digital devices together for their home entertainment systems. Typically, each of these devices comes with their own remote control that turns the product on and off, while controlling its various functions. The problem was that as home cinema systems became more complicated, more remote controls were needed. This quickly created a cluttered home theatre area that could include more than eight different remote controls for digital devices.

How Universal Remote Controls Work

To solve this problem, manufacturers invented universal remote controls. Until this time, remotes only worked with one device at a time. Due to the revolutionary technology of universal remote controls, different devices could be synched with the remote so that it could control each one of them separately. Buttons at the top of the universal remote control labelled 'TV', 'cable', and 'DVD', allowed users to switch between these different devices. All the owner had to do was initially program the device into the universal remote, and they would immediately sync together.

Programming Universal Remotes

Programming a universal remote control is remarkably easy with the right instructions. They are designed to work with many different brands, including both the popular ones found in department stores and the high-end ones only found in electronic stores. However, there may be some exceptions to the norm. Homeowners who have a TV that is a direct import, and rarely seen in their home country, may have to double check to ensure that the universal remote works with their particular brand. Every brand comes with its own code that the homeowner must program into the universal remote. Once this program is entered, the two devices will synch together, allowing the universal remote to work just like the original manufacturer remote.

Universal Remote Technology

The oldest, and cheapest type of universal remote technology, uses infrared (IF) signals. An IF universal remote has a signal transmitter that works with an IF receiver on a digital device. When an IF remote is pointed at the device, be it a TV, DVD player, or cable box, and the user presses a button, the instructions are transmitted to the device. This type of remote works very well for small rooms and for simple home cinema systems where all of the pieces are centrally located.

There are a few issues with IF remotes that one must note. One of these issues are that the IF signal cannot transmit through barriers like wood or glass, so if the DVD player on the home cinema is stored in a closed media cabinet, it will not work properly. Another issue is that IF remotes have to actually be pointed at the device without any obstacles in the way. This means the remote can only work in the same room and the same direction as the home theatre equipment.

RF Universal Remotes

The RF universal remote is a step forward in remote control technology. It was invented to address some of the issues with IF remotes. As home theatre units became more complicated, allowing them to be synched with the internet, and controlled audio systems, throughout the entire house, the problems associated with IF remotes become clearer. After all, it does little good to have a comprehensive audio system throughout the entire home, if it can only be controlled in one area of the house. RF remotes use radio frequencies, so they have a greater range than IR remotes and can easily pass through barriers. They allow the owner to control any aspect of the home entertainment system from anywhere inside the house.

RF Universal Remote Options

RF remotes are more expensive than IR remotes, but they are worth the extra money if the homeowner has a complicated home cinema system. Many come with a flat screen that clearly displays the different functions, allowing users to easily operate the controls. A RF wireless extender increases the range of the remote control, and this is great if the homeowner has a SMART TV that can synch up with the internet, or a computer, that is located upstairs. Many remotes can also be quite large, roughly the size of a tablet computer, which makes it easy to keep track of them. However, homeowners need to carefully consider their home cinema system before deciding if a RF remote control is worth the extra expense.

Universal Remote Controls and Devices

All universal remote controls are limited in the number of devices that they can control. Early models usually just worked with three or four different digital devices, but these quickly gave way to more expensive options as home cinema unites became more complex. All most homeowners will ever need, is the eight-in-one universal remote control.. The eight in one description simply means that this single remote is capable of controlling up to eight different devices. More expansive home cinema sets that also include a full gaming and audio suite, might need the additional capability of a 12-in-one universal remote. This remote can control up to 12 different devices, making it one of the most powerful options on the market.

Choosing a Universal Remote Control

When purchasing a universal remote control homeowners need to consider the current state of their home theatre system, and if it is going to grow. A small home theatre system does not need a complicated, RF universal remote controls that can work with 10 different devices, but perhaps it will one day.

All buyers need to ask themselves what their plans are for their home entertainment system, and how the universal remote they choose will fit into those plans. For example, if the homeowner is planning on installing a multi-room audio system, then it is worthwhile to spend more on a RF universal remote. Likewise, if a homeowner will one day have many different gadgets plugged into the home theatre, then it would be better to purchase a device that can work with plenty of products.

How to Buy a Universal Remote on eBay

Customers who want to take out the middleman, can simply choose to shop on eBay instead of shopping elsewhere. eBay's electronic platform allows buyers to directly communicate with sellers without being forced to pay high premium prices. The results are heavily in the buyer's favour, allowing everyone to get a great universal remote control at an affordable price.

New vs. Used Universal Remote Controls on eBay

eBay sells both new, and used, merchandise. By searching for 'used universal remote' on eBay, it is possible to purchase one for a very good bargain, but there are several things to watch out for. One is that the remote must be able to be reprogrammed; otherwise it will not work with your equipment. Secondly, you must take steps to assess the item's condition. Watch out for high end universal remote controls with flat screens that could easily become damaged. Make sure the seller always includes a detailed picture and description of any used product.

Searching for Universal Remote Controls

There are several ways to search for universal remote controls on eBay. One way is to search by technological capability. If you want an RF remote for the home cinema system, then search for 'RF universal remote'. Another way is to search by how many devices the remote can use. For example, if you need a remote that works with six different devices, and still have room to grow, then search for 'eight-in-one universal remote'. You can also add and subtract search terms to expand and shrink the results.


Universal remote controls are a lifesaver for home cinema systems. Developed to make life easier for homeowners, a single universal remote can control many different digital gadgets, rendering all other remotes redundant. However, a homeowner should always do their homework when it comes to universal remote controls. First, they should decide if they want an IR remote, or an RF remote for their system. Secondly, they need to honestly assess their system, and then decide how powerful of a remote they might need. They must also consider how they want their home cinema system to grow. Once they have the remote, all homeowners need to enter the product codes that came included with the remote so that it can work with their system. Everyone with a home theatre system deserves to have a universal remote, and thanks to the great deals found on eBay, anyone can now afford to own one.

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