TV Remote Controls on eBay: Things to Look Out For

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TV Remote Controls on eBay: Things to Look Out For

The television remote control has been around since the 1950s. Back then, it was a box connected to the television with a long wire. Today's modern television remote controls are much smaller, easier to hold and use, and are wireless. When they do not work efficiently, this affects not only the television's operation, but the user's comfort, too. Without the remote handy, the user must manually turn on the television, change the channels, or turn the volume up or down.

Whether a buyer needs to purchase a replacement remote control for a television, or if they are considering upgrading to a universal remote control, there are several factors to consider. The buyer needs to understand the differences between standard, replacement, and universal television remote controls, the limitations of infrared technology, as well as how to programme and use a new TV remote control. eBay offers a variety of television remote controls at affordable prices. Their wide selection includes replacement remote controls for an existing or newly purchased television and universal television remote controls.

How Infrared TV Remote Controls Work

Most television remote controls use infrared light technology to transmit commands to the television's receiver. Infrared light is invisible to the human eye. The user cannot actually see the light transmitted from the remote control to the receiver. The television receiver accepts these commands and performs the specific functions. For example, when a user presses the volume up button on the remote control, the remote control sends an infrared light signal to the television receiver with a specific code command. This code command is interpreted by the television receiver as an instruction to turn up the volume on the television.

Infrared light technology for television remote controls has its limitations. The line of sight between the television and the remote control cannot be obstructed. If a person or object comes between the television and the remote control, it cannot operate. Infrared remote controls cannot transmit signals through glass doors or walls. The user must also point the remote control directly at the television. If the user steps out of the room or goes upstairs and tries to operate the television with the remote control, it does not work. The user must be within one metre of the television receiver for the remote control to transmit signals effectively.

Types of TV Remotes

There are three basic types of television remote controls:: standard, replacement, and universal remote controls. Standard television remote controls are the original manufacturer remote controls that came with the television when it was purchased. Most standard television remote controls are already programmed with the television manufacturer's code, and no additional programming is required. Some standard television remote controls need to input the specific manufacturer's code into the remote control before it can operate. The buyer should discern if the remote control and television have been programmed or needs programming.

It is important to know that some standard television remote controls have specific function buttons that are not duplicated on a compatible replacement or universal remote control. The user may not be able to perform these specific functions manually with the television either. Most standard television remote controls operate only one device, a television.

Replacement TV Remote Controls

Replacement television remote controls replace standard television remote controls when they are lost or damaged. It is important to try and find a compatible remote control to operate the television, specifically from the original manufacturer, if possible. Some brands of remote controls only control specific brands of televisions.

Before purchasing a replacement television remote control from eBay, the buyer needs the model number of the remote control. To find the model number for replacing a standard television remote control, the buyer needs to look either on the back of the remote control or inside the battery cover. The television's instruction manual, included with the television, also lists the model number. Finally, if the buyer knows the specific manufacturer, they can contact the manufacturer by telephone or go online and retrieve the model number.

Some replacement television remote controls, even from the original manufacturer, may not look exactly like the original standard remote control. The replacement remote control is compatible with the television, but some specific functions and buttons might be different. A replacement television remote control can also be a universal remote control. This device can control other electronic devices like a DVD player..

Universal TV Remote Controls

Universal television remote controls simplify the operation of various devices by reducing the number of remote controls needed to operate each electronic device. A universal television remote control not only operates the television but the DVD player, CD player, and satellite receiver, too. The manufacturers' codes from the different electronic devices can be programmed into the universal remote control and stored, or the remote control can 'learn' the programme codes from another remote control, if required. The universal remote control has specific buttons that correlate with the specific devices. If the button for television is pressed, the universal remote control transmits a code from the remote control to the television receiver, turning on the television. The user can then press specific function buttons for the television. The user can follow the same process for the other devices.

Universal television remote controls are easy to use and programme. They have more features and functions than standard and replacement television remote controls. Because of these additional features, universal television remote controls are also more expensive than standard television remote controls or replacement remote controls.

The following table illustrates the basic differences between standard, replacement, and universal television remote controls. These differences focus on the areas of programming, device compatibility, and cost.

Remote control

Device Compatibility

Ease of Programming







Television, DVD player, CD player, satellite/cable receiver

Easy-to-moderate, depending on remote control type

Moderate-to-high, depending on device compatibility


Television, DVD player, CD player,

satellite/cable receiver


Moderate-to-high, depending on functions and features

The buyer needs to keep in mind that replacement remote controls can also be used as universal remote controls. When shopping for a universal television remote control for an existing television on eBay, the buyer needs to determine the television manufacturers and model numbers that are compatible with the universal remote control. The seller usually lists this information within the item description for the TV remote posted for sale.

Ease of Use

For a buyer, especially a senior citizen, a television remote control should be easy to use and understand. The remote control should be large enough to easily read the lettering and press the buttons, and small enough to hold. If the remote control is too bulky or the buttons are too small to press effectively, it is difficult for the buyer to programme and operate the remote control and the television.

Many newer television remote controls with advanced technology offer special features that make it easier to use and program specific functions. One such feature, macro command, allows the user to input a sequence of activities into the remote control, such as turning up the volume, changing the channel, and then turning off the television. The programmed codes for these functions are then transmitted to the television’s receiver and performed sequentially. Many universal television remote controls offer this feature.

Another advanced option for television remote controls is the use of an LCD touch screen. The user touches icons on the screen to input specific function commands instead of using buttons. As technology continues to improve, television remote controls continue to become easier to programme and operate.

Buying TV Remote Controls on eBay

eBay offers a wide assortment of quality brands of television remote controls at affordable prices. They include remote controls to replace lost or broken remote controls, as well as universal television remote controls. Their selection includes remote controls that may not be found at an electronics store, retail store, or even through the original manufacturer. To shop online with eBay, the buyer should go to the eBay home page and type in television remote controls&' into the search bar.

This action takes the buyer to a page of listings for television remote controls. There are several listings per page. The buyer can select a specific listing and read its description. The buyer can also sort the listings by eBay top-rated sellers by simply selecting 'eBay Top-Rated Sellers' under the heading 'Seller' on the left. This sorts the television remote control listings such that only postings by eBay top-rated sellers appear. These sellers have achieved high ratings in the areas of customer service and the delivery of merchandise. It is also important to determine if the seller accepts returns. A buyer can find all this information in the seller's profile. One simply clicks on the seller's username to access their profile.


Televisions have become dependent on remote controls to operate effectively. Without the accompanying remote control, many specialised television functions do not work properly. This dependency is funnelled by a technologically dependent culture that values ease of use and personal comfort. For this reason, the television remote control has come to effectively eliminate any need to operate televisions manually. When a remote control becomes lost, the user cannot fully operate the television without it. It is important then to find and purchase a quality remote control to operate the television efficiently.

By understanding the differences between the basic types of remote controls and their key features, the buyer knows what things to look for and they can make an informed decision about which TV remote control to buy. eBay has a plethora of listings for TV remote controls for a variety of models of televisions, including dedicated remote controls, replacement TV remotes, and universal remotes.

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