Modern homes are filled with technology from flat screen televisions and high-definition Blu-ray players to games consoles and surround sound speaker systems. All of these devices can be operated remotely, but this can result in lots of remote controls cluttering the room. Some remote controls are restricted to devices of one brand, so they are very inflexible. Fortunately, many remote controls are now universal, meaning that they can be programmed to work with multiple devices. Once a universal remote is bought, it should be programmed properly in order to make it work with all of the devices in the living room. Programming is done by entering the correct codes or using a learning mode.
To make sure that your new TV remote control will work with everything it is first useful to consider how remote controls work, their features, and how they are programmed. TV remote controls are available from high street electronics shops and larger supermarkets, as well as online at eBay.
Types of TV Remote Control
In order to find a TV remote control that will work with everything, it is necessary to understand how different remote controls work. Most remote controls use infrared rays and work over short distances, but radio control models work over longer distances.
Infrared TV Remote Control
Most remote controls send infrared signals to the devices that they control. The infrared ray has a slightly longer wavelength than visible red light, so the rays are not seen. Infrared remote controls have light emitting diodes (LED) installed, which is where the signal exits the remote. The receiving devices have infrared detectors that capture the signal. The infrared signal travels at the speed of light, but can only travel a short distance because the LED is low powered and small. The remote control needs to be pointed directly at the device that is controlled.
Radio Controlled TV Remote
Radio signals enable the remote control to operate devices over longer distances. Radio controlled devices can be operated through walls and other obstacles. Radio signals can be either single channel or multi channel. Single channel radio controls are simpler and can be used to switch devices on or off. Multi channel radio controls are more advanced and can perform multiple actions.
Features of TV Remote Controls
TV remote controls that will work with everything are typically known as universal remote controls. They range from very simple devices to advanced controllers. So, there are models both for buyers on a tight budget and those who wish to have the best, high-end products. Choosing which functions are required depends on which devices need to be controlled.
Number of Controllable Devices for the TV Remote
The number of devices that the TV remote control has to operate depends on each buyer's individual requirements. To prepare for the future, it is best to choose a TV remote control that works with as many devices as possible, so that additional devices can be added if necessary. However, a TV remote that controls many devices also costs more.
Compatible Devices for the TV Remote
The most common devices to be used with TV remote controls are components of the home theatre system, such as DVD players and AV receivers. Some advanced remote controls can also operate home automation features, such as lights or sockets. These remote controls are perfect for home theatre rooms as they can switch on the equipment for viewing television and films, dim the lights, and draw the curtains with a few simple clicks. However, the compatibility with devices should be checked because not all home electronics work, for example, with infrared rays. Games consoles, may need a particular kind of remote control, so this should be checked before purchase.
Buttons and Functions for the TV Remote
As the TV remote control has to replace many other remotes, it should have enough buttons to allow for separate functions on different devices. Some buttons can also be assigned to several functions. For example, the touch of one button may switch on the TV, as well as the Blu-ray player and speaker system. Buttons that perform multiple actions with only one touch are called macros. Some buyers prefer TV remote controls with large buttons, so consider the size of the buttons and their ease of use.
Advanced Features for the TV Remote
The most advanced TV remote controls have extra features that offer the buyer more options. PC programmable remote controls are connected to a computer via USB and all of the updates can be downloaded from the internet. Wi-Fi enabled remote controls do not even have to be connected to the computer to access the updates from the web. These remote controls usually have small LCD screens where viewers can watch TV programmes. The LCD screens can have touch screen features. If this is the case, the screens could display virtual buttons that add flexibility to the remote control. If the remote control's buttons glow in the dark, then it can be operated easily at all times. Some remote controls can be completely touch screen operated, only displaying the buttons that a particular device requires. These remotes are back-lit, but the light goes out after a short period of inactivity in order to save the battery.
Smartphones as the TV Remote Control
Modern smartphones can function as TV remote controls that will work with everything if they are equipped with special applications. They usually display only the functions that are available for the selected device and so everything is easy to find. Tablets also function as remote controls.
Programming Your New TV Remote Control to Work With Everything
Your new TV remote control will typically be a universal remote control in order for it to work with everything. Universal remote controls send signals to devices that tell them which function to perform, but they also send other types of signals that identify the device that the remote control is operating. Universal remote controls are programmed with codes. However, there are some restrictions, especially with older and rarer devices because there may be no codes available for them. Some universal remotes controls are programmed using a learning mode.
Codes for Universal Remote Controls
The codes for universal remote controls may be included in the instruction manual, where they are sometimes listed by brand and model. These four or five digit codes are the frequencies for different devices and work with infrared universal remote controls. Additional codes can be found online. To ensure the best compatibility, manufacturers list codes online in order to make them future proof. Some universal remote controls can connect straight to the internet and update automatically.
Learning Mode for Universal Remote Controls
Universal remote controls may also have a learning function. This means that the functions of all the other device's remote controls can be learned by the universal remote. Although this process is time consuming, it does offer more flexibility as more devices can be connected. This method is suitable for Freeview set top boxes that may not otherwise be programmed so easily. In the learning mode, the two remotes are pointed directly at each other. A button is pressed on the old remote and then on the universal remote. This action records the function in the universal remote control.
Buying a TV Remote Control on eBay
Start your search for a TV remote control that will work with everything by typing the keywords "universal remote control&" into the box that you can find at the top of every eBay page. After you receive the initial search results, you can sort them by condition or price, if you have a budget in mind. You may also narrow down the results by choosing the item's location. The location can have some importance because the delivery time and postage costs depend on it. For the best service, look for Top-rated sellers. You can see the seller's feedback and ratings, and decide whether he or she is the best for you. If the seller answers your questions quickly, then this is a sign of good customer service. You can contact the seller in order to enquire about payment methods, postage and packaging costs, as well as the features of the remote control if something remains unclear after reading the listing.
Fewer remote controls make operating the array of devices at home easier, and reduce clutter. In order to buy a new TV remote control that will work with everything, buyers should consider a universal remote control that can be programmed to work with multiple devices. The number of compatible devices, the range, and the technology used for remote controls all vary. Universal remote controls can be either basic or complex and this is usually determined by their features, including touch screen control and online updating.
Universal remote controls can be programmed by inserting special codes. Each brand and model has its own four or five digit code and the remote control's instruction manual should have further details. Other universal remote controls use a learning mode that is more time consuming to program, but offers greater compatibility. Universal remote controls that connect to the internet usually pick up their codes online. Modern smartphones can also function as remote control devices when equipped with special applications. eBay offers a range of TV remote controls that can be enabled to work with everything when programmed correctly.
Additionally Google Chromecast is now available on the eBay marketplace. This allows users to stream content from mobile devices directly to the TV.