What’s a Universal Remote? How Does a Universal Remote Work?

Universal Remote

A universal remote can be programmed to manoeuvre varied brands of one or more types of consumer electronic devices. Low-end universal remotes can control a particular number of devices fixed by their manufacturer, while mid-range to high-end universal remotes facilitates the user to program in new control codes to the remote. Many of the modern remotes sold with different electronics include capabilities of universal remote for other types of devices that facilitate the remote to manoeuvre other devices apart from the device it came with. Thus, universal remote is an all-in-one remote that offers a qualitative and cost-effective solution for the replacement of a single remote or to consolidate multiple remotes into one. It’s now possible to control all your AV devices with only one remote. Now, we’ll look at how the universal remote works.

You Can Program Your Electronic Devices with a Universal Remote

Just like individual home cinema system setups and electronic device setups vary from one person to another, likewise, the commands that you program into your universal remote also differ. Well, your original manufacturer’s remote will have a manual that contains all the programming commands you need, and these will work like a charm with your universal remote. Moreover, many remote control commands have also been published at online sites. In addition, universal remotes can be programmed with macros that let you program several commands into a single button. For instance, you can program a macro that can switch on both your TV and satellite dish with a press of a button. Alternatively, you can program your TV and DVD player to switch on simultaneously. The instruction handbook that comes along with your universal remote will have a list of macro functions for your remote that can be either programmed or easily downloaded from the universal remote developer’s website.

All in one remote

Nonetheless, if you don’t want or don’t know how to programme your universal remote, you can also hire professional audio visual installers who will program your universal remote to operate it with all of your electronic devices you wish to use. However, be warned that the fees of a professional installer can be pricier.

Below are some of the electronic devices that can be controlled with one high-end universal remote:

  • CD Changer
  • TV and DVD player or satellite dish
  • Game console
  • Amplifier
  • Laserdisc player
  • Climate controller
  • Computer
  • Light controller

What Technology Has To Offer?

Universal remotes come in two tech variants namely (1) multi-brand and (2) learning.


Multi-brand Remote:

Multi-brand remotes come pre-programmed with the codes to control a number of standard electronics. This means you don’t have to squander your time feeding a large number of complex codes yourself. Well, this type of universal remote can normally be used to operate around four electronic devices and they usually manoeuvre only their main functions like changing channels and controlling volume. As they are less complicated and easy-to-use, multi-brand remotes are less pricey compared to learning remotes.


Learning Remote:

Learning remote surpasses multi-brand universal remote. Although they often come pre-programmed to control a lot of popular electronic models plus they have the capability to learn the operations of the original manufacturer’s remote. Just hold your learning remote along with your original remote, head-to-head, and infrared signals will be transferred to the learning remote, facilitating it to replicate the other remote’s commands. The beauty of learning remote is even if a new high-tech electronic gadget arrives after you have already purchased your learning universal remote, it can still learn all of the gadget’s new commands. Nonetheless, some of the high-end multi-brand remotes can also be programmed to control newer devices, but it depends upon the model. Learning remotes can control a wider array of electronic devices than multi-brand ones, making them the real universal remotes currently available on the market.

Types of Universal Remote

LCD touch screen remotes

LCD touch screen remotes come with a luminescent LCD screen that’s controlled by touch. These screens are normally situated at the top of the remote and are almost 2 inches by 4 inches. Some LCD touch screens even let you choose which “virtual buttons” you want on your remote and how you want them to appear. Nevertheless, if you don’t like virtual buttons then other LCD remotes are available that have physical buttons.

LCD Touch Screen Remote

Radio frequency remotes

Radio frequency remotes make use of frequency waves to control electronics that are blocked by barriers, such as walls or cabinets. For instance, if you are in the kitchen and would like to switch on your home-entertainment system in the living room through the adjacent wall, an RF-capable remote could be used to activate infrared electronics in the adjacent room. The universal remote air an RF signal command to an RF extender in the same room as your programmed electronics. The extender then broadcasts the same command at an infrared wavelength that your electronics can sense.


Wi-Fi enabled remotes

Wi-Fi enabled remotes are some of the latest universal remotes available on the market. Using your Wi-Fi network, you can find out what’s playing on the TV right now and thus it provides you with the capability to bypass your cable provider. Well, it transfers the latest news updates and sports stats onto your remote’s small LCD screen.

Final Word

If you’re after something that’s quite easy and uncomplicated, then a simple multi-brand universal remote could not only be a brilliant but also a cost-effective choice. Conversely, if cost isn’t an issue, then you could hire a professional to program your high-end universal remote. The bottom line is you should precisely know what all functions you’ll be using on your remote, and accordingly purchase one. If you have limited use, then you’ll be fine off with simple, multi-brand universal remote; however, if you’re using is diverse needing loads of features, then you may go for high end, top-of-the-line universal remote.


Right away, contact Connected Audio Visual, for Audio Visual, Automation, Surveillance and System Design solutions for homes, as well as, businesses.

Home Automation and AV Specialist

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