Your Guide to Buying a Cable or Freeview Remote Control on eBay

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Your Guide to Buying a Cable or Freeview Remote Control on eBay

The ubiquitous wireless remote control that is a permanent fixture is almost every household had a rather quaint name when it was first introduced, way back in 1950. The primitive remote control had cables that connected the TV set to the remote control in the hand of the user and was called Lazy Bones. The first true remote control, an electronic device that remotely operated the TV, was introduced by Dr Robert Adler in 1956. The scientific technology used was ultrasonics, which are high-frequency sounds that exist beyond human hearing capabilities. The ever-evolving remote control underwent numerous design and technological changes and has emerged with numerous robust features and capabilities. Today, remote controls are used for numerous other electronic gadgets besides the TV sets.

The convenience of using the remote control while watching television is truly amazing as the user can be seated in one spot and issue commands to TVs, home audio and video players, and several other consumer electronic gadgets, without ever moving. Generally remote controls are provided by the manufacturers of televisions and other gadgets. However, a misplaced or damaged remote control can be replaced as these devices are easily available in electronics stores or even more easily when ordered from online stores such as eBay, that has every variety of remote for every type of television set. Sometimes, obtaining remotes for old television models is impossible, but universal remotes available can operate almost every type of TV. Learning a bit about TV remote controls, including the different types, how they work, and where to buy them, helps one to be certain of which one he or she needs and facilitates the buying experience.

What's Inside a TV Remote Control

Basically a remote control has upper and lower housings of recyclable plastic, creating a snap-fit shell. The two shells hold the AAA batteries, the printed circuit board, infrared LED, and other small components such as the integrated chip, resonator, resistor, dielectric capacitor, diode, transistor, LED indicator, and a flexible sheath of various buttons within them. The arrangement of these components is done so that the upper housing, which has holes, is followed by the sheath of buttons. The sheath is pressed into the upper housing to allow the button surfaces to show up on the face of the remote control, through the holes. The next component is the printed circuit board with integrated circuit, the chip, and other small components and the bottom housing of the remote. The slot for batteries is at the base of the circuit board and the slot has a plastic, removable lid for changing batteries.

The table below references the various controls on a TV remote control. Whether the user has a cable, Freeview, or any other remote control, the buttons are common to all remotes though their placement may differ.

Buttons Types

Number of Units


Colour Buttons

Four: Red, blue, green yellow

Used to match colour options on screen

Power Button


Turn on TV, set top box, video recorders

Number Buttons

One to nine

Used to change channel numbers

Menu/Setup Button


Opens menu listing on the TV screen



On-screen TV guide

Navigation Buttons

Four: Up, down, right, left

Navigation around the guide or EPG

OK Button


Confirm selected option



Increase or decrease volume



Exit menu



To go back to previous menu

i Button


To access additional info about programme

Channel up/down


Easy access to channel changing

Remote controls from different manufacturers have different names and styles for some buttons, but by and large, the type and functions on most remain the same.

How Remote Controls Work

The working process begins when the user presses the buttons on the remote control, to issue commands for numerous functions the remote can carry out. The bottom part of the buttons has conductive contacts that correspond to points on the printed circuit board. The printed circuit board (PCB) is made of fibreglass, coated with a thin copper layer acting as the conductor and the spaces in which there is no copper acting as insulators. At the base of the PCB is the electronic chip or the integrated circuit and battery slot, holding the battery contacts. When a button is pressed, the conductive contacts press against the corresponding point on the PCB and send an electric pulse to the integrated chip in the circuit. The chip translates the button into a sequence; each button on the remote has its own unique sequence. That signal sequence goes to the transistor to amplify the signal. These amplified strong signals are sent to the LED, translating them into infrared light. The sensor inside the TV senses the infrared beam and the processor decodes the signal to identify the button the user presses; the channel corresponding to that number then displays on the TV screen.

Types of Cable or Freeview Remote Controls

Many television manufacturing companies have their own remote controls that are available with the various models. Most remote controls use the infrared technology today, but other technologies are also employed in remote controls.

Ultrasonic Remote Controls

The earliest remote controls used ultrasound. These ultrasonic remote controls used very high-frequency sound signals that were beyond the threshold of human hearing. Aluminium bars of various lengths produced sound signals of varying frequencies; these corresponded to the various functions for channel up and channel down and likewise for volume up and volume down. Ultrasonic remotes are rarely used today.

Radio Frequency (RF) Remote Controls

Using radio waves to propagate signals to electronic devices, RF remotes are more common in devices such as garage door openers and remote control toys than TV remotes. RF remotes can transmit radio signals up to 30.5 metres and can propagate through walls and furniture, which is a useful feature when operating devices over distances.

Infrared (IR) Remote Controls

The most popular technology for TV remotes, IR remotes transmit signals only to about nine metres. Moreover, these use infrared light to transmit signals and thus need a line of sight: this means that there can be no obstructions in the path between the remote and the TV, where the infrared light passes.

Laser Remote Controls

Laser remote controls takes remote controlling a step further as the user can select an option on the TV screen with the laser pointer.

Universal Remote Controls

The beauty of the universal remote control is that it does away with the clutter of numerous remotes from several different electronic devices strewn about the room. With a single universal remote, the user operates numerous devices: TVs, home audio systems, home theatre units, tuners, gaming consoles, amplifiers, climate controllers, computers, and more. Besides consolidating signal sequences of numerous remotes into one, these universal remotes have other user-friendly features such as backlit display, luminescent buttons, and even LCD screens on high-end models. Universal remotes may be categorised into two basic groups as multi-brand and learning remotes, while there are the other PC programmable remotes, Wi-Fi enabled remotes, and LCD touchscreen remotes as well.

Multi-Brand Remote Controls

Easy to operate, multi-brand remotes are preprogrammed with common codes and can be used with the numerous standard devices from well-known brands and their various models. One can use a multi-brand remote to control the basic functions of up to four electronic devices.

 Learning Remote Controls

Learning remotes are pre-programmed and can operate numerous electronic devices by learning the functions of the original remote. All the user must do is hold the original remote and the learning remote head-to-head, and the infrared signals duplicate and store the commands from the original remote to the learning remote. Learning remotes are used for regular TV viewing as they are for cable, Freeview, and Sky, and can also be used with DVD players.

How to Buy Cable or Freeview Remote Controls on eBay

Remote controls are the lifeline of several electronic devices and particularly for television sets. Misplaced or damaged remotes can lead to chaos; unable to change channels and regulate the volume, the user will find it difficult or impossible to enjoy watching television. eBay has a vast array of remote controls that can serve as replacement remotes. Tens of thousands of remotes are available at reasonable prices; considering the sheer numbers of products available, shoppers are certain to readily find what they are looking for. With many top-rated sellers offering great products on eBay, shoppers can shop with confidence: these sellers have proven track records of selling excellent products, providing prompt after-sales services, and offering competitive rates.

Buying TV, satellite, cable, or Freeview TV remote controls is easy when shoppers select universal remotes, as a single good quality universal remote is sufficient to use with any type of set top box and several other electronic devices such as DVD players, tuners, and gaming consoles as well.


Buying replacement television remotes is easy, with most manufacturers offering these as spares; however, it is not cheap, as these remotes tend to be expensive. Universal remotes are convenient, available at most electronic stores, shopping centres, and on online stores such as eBay; moreover, one can use them with multiple electronic devices besides TV sets. These are not brand-specific; good-quality universal remotes are programmed to work with almost all standard products and the various models of most leading brands. Universal remote controls may be multi-brand, having just the basic functions and therefore inexpensive; alternately, shoppers can look for learning remote controls, which work with almost any electronic device.

Remote controls may use infrared technology, which is the most popular option for TV remotes, or use high-frequency radio signals. RF remotes can be operated from a distance of 30.5 metres as opposed to IR remotes that do not transmit signals beyond 9 metres. Moreover, IR remotes need line of sight, which means that a wall or any furniture between the remote and the device obstructs the IR beam. RF remotes can work through walls or other impediments, as well as long as the distance is within 30.5 metres, beyond which the signals start getting weak. Whichever type one wishes to buy, eBay is the place to start shopping.

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