How to Buy a Universal Remote Control on eBay

Like if this guide is helpful
How to Buy a Universal Remote Control on eBay

Every modern audio and video component device comes with its own remote control. As people continue to enhance their home entertainment systems, they often find an overabundance of remotes. What better way to consolidate the operation and management of audio and video components than to buy a single universal remote control.

The universal remote control has come a long way since the first universal remote control was introduced by Philips Consumer Electronics in 1985. It has evolved to conform to the operational procedures and requirements of various electronic devices thus eliminating the need for several individual remote controls.

With so many brands and models of universal remote controls available, knowing what type of universal remote control is compatible with already existing devices is integral. Learning about the different features of a remote control helps consumers pick the best option for their needs successfully. Fusing the function and management of a home video and audio system into one convenient controller should not be a difficult endeavour. Aside from electronic stores, buying online at eBay gives consumers the most convenient way to shop for a universal remote control.

Features of a Universal Remote Control

Universal remote controls all share basic features which permit hassle-free operation and manipulation. The high-end and more sophisticated universal remote controls are designed with value-added functions which enhance viewing and entertainment experience.

Basic Features of a Universal Remote Control

The basic features of a universal remote control include a power button, numeric keypad, set button, channel selector, and volume selector. A power button selects what device the remote is controlling at a specific time. The most common selections include TV, DVD, CBL/SAT, and VCR. Other devices such as DVRs, home automation devices, or audio equipment may also be included in the selections.

The numeric keypad allows users to enter channel numbers, time, and date. The set button permits selection of a specific set of codes which have been entered on the keypad. The channel and volume have 'up' and 'down' selectors. There are some remote controls where the selectors are marked with (+) and (–) signs. D-pads allow menu navigation of DVD players and cable as well as satellite boxes.

Advanced Features of a Universal Remote Control

As universal remote controls evolve to keep up with the latest technological advancements of home entertainment systems, advanced features have been added to programme sophisticated remote controls in order to perform more complex functions. Advanced capabilities include PC connectivity and macro commands, among others.

Universal Remote Control Capabilities

In order to operate multiple devices made by different brands, high-tech remotes are programmed with various manufacturers' code commands. Normally, if a home theatre system is made up of components from different manufacturers or brands, each of these components comes with its own remote control. However, a universal remote does all the jobs of each of these remote controls combined. In order to fully optimise the capabilities of a universal remote control, users need to know the command codes for each component that is synced. There are remote controls which already have preprogrammed codes. Further, users are able to also download these command codes from the manufacturers' websites.

PC Connectivity

Some universal remotes connect to PCs via USB ports for easy setup. This allows users to install programming software as well as download personalised graphic icons and command codes. This feature also allows frequent updating of databases and translates nearly all remote databases into a specific format compatible with the devices. When buying new or used universal remote controls on eBay, shoppers should be sure the necessary USB cables come with the products, or find out if any additional items are needed.

Macro Commands

Macro commands involve a series of programmed commands that users activate at the push of a single button. A common example of a macro is an 'activity command'. If individuals want to listen to a CD or watch a movie, they simply push one button to activate the command. There are some universal remote controls which have already been preprogrammed with 'activity commands', while there are others which allow users to download macros from the Internet.

User Interfaces

Most universal remote controls are operated via button-pushing methods. However, there are remotes that account for the inputting of various commands electronically. There are also remotes which operate via LCD touchscreens that display data and/or user input. Universal remote controls are also controlled with a joystick and even with voice commands. If buyers purchase universal remotes which are used, they should ask the eBay sellers if the memories can be wiped so they can be re-synced

Learning Remote Controls

Learning remotes belong to a distinct group of universal remotes which receive and store codes that are transmitted from other remote controls. They also have the capability to transmit the received codes to control devices which can recognise them. With learning remotes, people do not need to input the command codes for them to able to pick up the signals that preprogrammed receivers are sending out; thus, they now control receivers.

RF Extenders

There are universal remote controls with IR (infrared) and RF (radio frequency) signals. These qualities enhance the operating range of remote controls from about 8 metres to 30 metres. These signals penetrate walls and even glass enclosures. The remotes are designed to automatically transmit both RF and IR signals for every command.

How to Choose a Universal Remote Control

Buying a universal remote control easily decreases the clutter in a home entertainment area, as well as increases entertainment enjoyment. There are many types of remote controls to choose from and picking the right one to suit home-based needs is easier than one might think.

Purpose of Buying a Universal Remote Control

Since a person uses a universal remote for several audio and video components, the first step in purchasing one is in identifying how many, and what types of, audio and video components have to be controlled. This may include a TV, VCR, DVD player,, DVR, cable box, home theatre receiver, and a Blu-ray disc player..

Budgetary Considerations

The second factor to consider is how much money is to be spent on the universal remote control. Universal remotes range from inexpensive units which have been programmed to control a TV and a few associated components, to expensive remotes designed to control LCD touchscreen components. An inexpensive universal remote control handles simple tasks such as the adjustment of volume, power on/off, disc playback, and when one wants to change channels. A more sophisticated and expensive remote is able to control a wider range of components, including a DVR and a home theatre receiver. There is really no reason to buy an expensive, top-of-the line universal remote control if a person only needs it to control a VCR, TV, and DVD player. However, if there is a plan to expand a home entertainment system, the best solution is to get a universal remote which can handle the future expansion.

Size and Weight Considerations

These features may seem relatively insignificant. However, a universal remote control is considered one of the most convenient ways to control the different components of a home entertainment system. If consumers already have a specific type in mind, they should consider reading about it online on various eBay forums which have unsolicited product reviews and recommendations.

Universal Remote Controls: Batteries vs. Rechargeable Pack

Most universal remote controls run on standard batteries (alkaline or rechargeable). However, those that come with LCD screens are usually equipped with rechargeable battery packs and chargers. Remote controls with battery packs are recharged on custom cradles or via charging cables. When searching for universal remote controls for audio and video devices, consumers find that there are many which use standard alkaline batteries (AA or AAA). The advantage of choosing universal remote controls which run on rechargeable battery packs is that the need to buy and stock up on standard alkaline batteries is eliminated.

Universal Remote Controls with Illuminate Button

Most universal remote controls have an 'illuminate' button to allow users to operate them in the dark. There are high-end units which possess motion sensors and they turn on the screen's lighting system when the remote controls are touched or moved. When buying on eBay, shoppers should read about the illumination of the keypads or, if the remote controls are touch screen devices, find out if they are able to control the brightness.

Infrared (IR) vs. Radio Frequency (RF) Universal Remote Controls

Infrared (IR) universal remotes require a direct line of visibility with the component or components in order to do their jobs. Conversely, RF universal remote controls harness radio frequency (RF) signals that penetrate walls or glass-enclosed home theatre systems. Buyers should ask sellers on eBay if the glass has been damaged while in use, or, if the IR or RF remote is new, ask if the glass looks to be intact. If an audio-video system is enclosed in a cabinet or a person needs a remote control which allows control of an AV system in another room, the RF universal remote is definitely the best choice.

Buying a Universal Remote Control on eBay

Electronic stores often carry a wide array of brands and types of universal remote controls.. However, eBay provides a convenient way to select and buy universal remote controls. You can find different brands or types of universal remotes at prices which suit your budget and needs. If you are looking for a competitive price for a universal remote control, you can find it on eBay.

Know the Seller

Before making a final decision, you should get to know the seller. Satisfied customers usually leave positive feedback that you can read on the seller's profile. The reputation of an eBay seller is an important consideration when buying a universal remote control online. Although eBay's Top-rated Sellers are featured because of their excellent track records in selling specific goods online and providing outstanding customer service, you should take time to carefully go through the specific details of each item, including photos and seller policies. It is also recommended that you ask the seller any questions that you may have in mind before finally making the decision to buy the product.


Universal remote controls have definitely brought entertainment and viewing experience to a different level. In order to fully maximise the use of a universal remote and decide what brand best suits your needs, you have to do your own research. You can go online and examine the different types of universal remote controls in order to get the best result. As you continue to enhance your home entertainment system, the operations and functions of the different components continue to get more sophisticated. Conversing with sellers and fellow buyers on eBay gives you unique insight into the function of the product that the manufacturer might not print in the manual.

Looking through different brands and features of universal remote controls on eBay helps you select the best remote which helps you navigate your home entertainment system with ease and efficiency. Lastly buying a universal remote control on eBay should be a simpler process than visiting high street shops or travelling to specialty electronics stores.

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