Buying the Right TV and Home Entertainment System Remote

Like if this guide is helpful
Your Guide to Buying the Right TV and Home Entertainment System Remote

For many people, the home entertainment system, and more specifically the television, is the central feature of their home. Every year, it seems as if televisions are being made to be bigger, or offer more features such as 3D technology. When other devices, like Blu-ray players are added to the mix, things become even more complicated. Each device will require a remote control, or else a universal remote that can control all these devices at the same time. However, there are many remotes available, and choosing between them can become quite the onerous task.

When trying to find the right TV and home entertainment system remote, there are a few things to consider that can make this process somewhat easier. These factors include: deciding if a universal remote or one that only controls the television is a better fit, evaluating the different features found in remotes, and understanding how each remote option communicates with devices. Armed with the right knowledge, a buyer can be ready to purchase the right remote in an electronics store or on online via eBay.

Universal Remotes

Buyers who wish to have a new remote for the television have the option of simply purchasing a remote that can be programmed to work with their television, or a universal remote that can be programmed to work with a number of different devices. For a long time, it could be safely said that universal remotes were more expensive than television remotes, but now, this is not necessarily the case.

Benefits of a Universal Remote

While there are some rather expensive universal remotes that have a number of advanced features, there are simple universal remotes that are relatively inexpensive. In fact, these basic universal remotes are so inexpensive, that having multiple devices in a home entertainment system is quite ubiquitous. Finding a pure television remote is becoming more and more rare as the market becomes saturated with options. Most of these basic remotes are primarily designed to control a television, but contain the ability to also control a DVD player, or other device with basic functions. For this reason, most buyers will find that a universal remote is likely the easiest choice and one that will let them combine device control in one device.

Remote Features

While universal remotes all have the ability to control multiple devices at once, this does not mean that they all control the same devices in the same exact way. A basic universal remote can likely only control a television, a DVD player, and a cable box. A more elaborate one can control not only the television, but also Blu-ray players, cable boxes, satellite receivers, and video game consoles. Some even go so far as allowing users to control things like electric fireplaces. Before deciding which remote to purchase, it is important to evaluate which devices it will be used for. If there are a great many, a more complex remote is useful, but for only a few devices, a lesser one will be fine.

Remote Accessibility

Users often find remotes frustrating because they are difficult to use due to awkward button configurations, or even just small button size. This is particularly an issue for older people who may lack finger dexterity, or those who have vision problems that make it hard to read a remote. Some remotes compensate for this issue by providing larger buttons that are easier to use and to read. Others make use of touchscreen technology to provide users with customisation, in terms of size and functionality. Touchscreen remotes also use icons that make it easier to recognise specific device features.

Access to Device Features

One important factor to consider when buying a remote, is how well a remote will access all of the features of a specific device. For example, if a television has a picture-in-picture feature, it is helpful to know if a remote will be able to access this. Likewise, if a universal remote can easily access the features of a television, it is important to know if it will access the features of a Blu-ray player. Examining the specifications of a remote, along with a close look at photos of the remote, can help a buyer decide what it can and cannot do.

Remote Connectivity

Before making the purchase of a remote control, it is extremely helpful to understand some things about how they will connect to various devices. Connectivity is about how a remote can be setup to work with devices, as well as about the actual technology employed to make the connection. Some methods of setup are more complicated than others, and may not be a good fit for those who struggle with technology.

Setting Up a Remote

When a remote is first purchased, it is unlikely that it will be able to control a television or home entertainment system immediately. This is because devices made by different manufacturers will each use a distinct signal for their remote controls. Most remotes require a setup process that will tell the remote what kind of device they are going to be working with, and will store the correct signal for future use. This setup process can take a number of forms.

Manually Entering Codes

Some remotes come with a list of device codes from each manufacturer, that need to be manually entered into the remote one at a time until the device begins to respond to the remote. This can be time consuming and complicated for some users. It should also be noted that older devices may not respond to newer codes, even if the codes correspond to the manufacturer of the device.

Automatic Code Recognition

Other remotes have a feature that will begin trying various device codes in sequence until the remote and the device are synched. This may take time, and users run the risk that the remote will not find the right code. At the same time, this method is the simplest and is ideal for those who do not have the patience for entering in codes by hand, or those who have a problem with finger dexterity.

Using the Internet

An increasingly, more common method of setting up a remote control, is to use the internet. This is particularly common on complex universal remotes, that are able to control twenty or more devices at once. How this type of setup works is that the remote is connected to a computer and the user will then download the proper codes directly into the remote using the model names and numbers of each device. This is the most efficient and effective method of programming a remote, but remotes that use this feature tend to be more expensive than others.

Remote Connection Technology

There are two main technologies used to connect a remote wirelessly to a television: infrared (IR), and radio frequency (RF). Infrared technology is found in most remotes and is easy to connect to various devices. The only issue with IR technology is that it will not pass through solid objects. In other words, if a person or object is in front of the television or a Blu-ray player, the signal from the remote will not make it through uninterrupted. On the other hand, RF remote signals will pass through any objects, meaning that there will never be an issue giving commands to a television or other device.

Buying the Right TV and Home Entertainment System Remote on eBay

An astonishing variety of remotes for televisions and home entertainment systems, both new and used, can be found on eBay. Some of these devices are designed to be used with a single device, but many more are universal remotes. The easiest way for you to find the perfect remote for you is to enter a search term into the search bar on the eBay home page. This search term can be general, something akin to 'remote control', or can be very specific, depending on your needs and wishes. Even within a general search, keywords can be added to narrow the focus until the right remote is discovered.

Evaluate the Product

Before buying any remote on eBay, it is important to determine if it will work with your devices. Reading the product description, or looking up the product specifications online, will let you know if it will. Likewise, sellers have a feedback score and comments that will let you know more about them. In some cases, eBay buyers have found that they can eliminate shipping costs by finding a seller who lives in their area.


Finding the right remote for a television or home entertainment centre, can make a viewing experience much more pleasurable. If the remote is a universal remote, it will be able to control multiple devices at the same time, which eliminates the need for many different remotes. Not only will this eliminate clutter, it makes it less likely that a remote will get lost in the shuffle and make it impossible to use a specific device.

Before deciding on a specific device, it is important to learn a bit more about how remotes work. This includes learning about their features and how they will work for an individual situation. Also, it is important to understand how a remote will connect to various devices, and if the setup process can be easily understood by the buyer. With a clear understanding of all of the factors involved, anyone can find the perfect remote for their needs.

Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides