Is your universal remote control out of control? I can’t blame you for feeling like the world of remote controls is just evolving so fast, sometimes too fast..!
When home entertainment technology started, the world was content to have entertainment in the comfort of their own homes. People could watch shows, the news, movies, and listen to music.
Appliances like television sets started with one or two channels; all operated functions inside the gadget itself. No Remote Controls!
I still remember those times when I needed to change channels. Inevitably, I would have to get up, go to the television set, and manually operate it. It didn’t seem like much effort then. Not so now.
New Innovations In Remote Controls
But when radio and television sets improved the quality of home entertainment, Remote Controls became all the more important and essential!
It allowed us now to operate our televisions, radios, and even music components. It even included air conditioning units, heaters, and practically everything else. Plus, we could do all this from the comfort of our chairs and beds. It has made me lazier, but made my life easier!
Universal Remote Controls
Like many things, especially gadgets though, Remote Controls are subject to get lost and break. It may not be easy to purchase one again from the same manufacturer, and so enters, the Universal Remote Control.
After a lifetime of living with technology, I have grown accustomed to using Universal Remote Controls for my home appliances. It is handy and puts together control in one device. For home theatres, for example, a Universal Remote Control will be the most convenient device.
Here, I will tell you about my experience with Universal Remote Controls and some essential things you need to know.
So what is a Universal Remote Control, and what can I use it for?
Universal Remote Controls like Soniq, are just like any of your typical remote controls. However, instead of being used for only one device, you can use it for a couple of devices in your home. The fact is that it can match and be operated by a Universal Remote Control.
It works with the capability of being paired to different brands of appliances, especially with television sets in my experience. More often than not, I purchase one when my original remote control is misplaced, lost, or broken!
When you purchase one, it will come with a User’s Manual and a set of Codes which you will use when you pair it with your devices.
Codes will be different for different appliances, and other brands, depending on what type of Universal Remote you have. Making it more comfortable now, you can even access Codes on the Internet, making it faster to use and set up.
Follow instructions on the Manual on how to set it up which usually involves Codes you need to enter on the device. Once set up, you are good to go to operate your TV, radio, CD player, or whatever appliance you have linked it up.
On the Remote Control, there are buttons labelled as TV, Radio, DVD, Aux or what have you! Nonetheless, explore and carefully read the User Manual to see which button is which.
Before You Buy:
Based on my experience, here are some useful tips before you purchase one!
Check your appliance’s capability to be matched and operated by a Universal Remote Control. You can call your dealer, warranty hotline, or check online. This will save you the time and effort of going to the store, setting it up, and finding out your appliance can not be matched, eventually having to return your purchase.
If purchasing in a physical store, talk to the salespeople and ask for recommendations. Be specific about what type/types of appliance you plan to use it for, and even the Brand, Model, Series, etc. When I buy, I usually note down the TV brand I have, and what model it is, so I can ask the sales staff what they have to work for.
Online purchases are good too, mainly if straight from the manufacturer’s site. But be sure to read reviews, and buy one from an online store that allows returns.
One of the difficulties of Universal Remote Controls is that it may sometimes be difficult or not pairable to your appliance.
Test It In The Store
Try setting it up by pairing it with a device that they have. Setting it up is the most challenging part as in my own experience.
Choose a Brand that is well-reviewed and highly recommended. Profitable brands may be pricier, but usually are more comfortable to pair, and helps me avoid the headache if it doesn’t turn out to be compatible with the appliance I have at home.
Although pricier, go for Brands that give ease of pairing. Some brands now offer intuitive pairing without pairing it up using Codes that may often be confusing!
If you go for cheaper, more affordable brands, the key is to test, test, and test.
More advanced Brands are now phone app-based. I suggest you give these a try since we almost always have everything on our mobile phones.
Simple Guide to the Best Brands of Universal Remote Controls
I have here as a guide 11 models that range from the top of the line to the most standard. Again, as with any purchase, go for those with good reviews as the ones that are listed here. Furthermore, I recommend your research to find one that suits your need and your budget.
- Logitech Harmony 665 – priced just right and quite a good number (up to 10) of devices you can use it with.
- Next is Logitech Harmony Elite – more expensive, but can connect to up to 15 devices!
- Then comes Logitech Harmony Companion – excellent review I read on this and quoted as one of the best. It is reasonably priced too.
- Caavo Control Center – this one has the facility of an HDMI switch whereby you can plug it into your device, and it automatically sets it up for you. I like it because it is not as expensive, and shows that it is easier to set up and use.
- Sevenhugs Smart Remote – very close contender too! It can operate through Infrared,
- Bluetooth and Wi-fi. Take note though that this has no physical keys,
- Smart Remote X – a more intelligent version of the Sevenhugs Smart Remote
- Amazon Fire TV Cube – Amazon’s Universal Remote has an IR (Infra-Red) transmitter.
- RCA RCR503BR 3-Device Palm-Sized Universal RemoteGE Universal LED Backlit Remote Control, 4-Device, Big Button, Infrared Black, 2411 – one of the more standard remote controls I am familiar with, interface and utility wise
- Boostwaves Universal Jumbo Remote Control is a significant but straightforward device perfect for people like me who easily misplace smaller devices! Universal GE Remote 3-
- Device 24991 Black– not as advanced as that of Logitech and Caavo, but it does the job
How do I set up my Universal Remote Control?
Generally, these are the steps to setting up your Remote Control:
First, if not installed yet, put in batteries that are specified for their use. New devices now don’t need batteries, so you may need to charge them initially with their charging cable or docking port. Initial charging may take some time.
Once charged, turn it on (unless it automatically does so), and set it up.
For more traditional Universal Remote Controls, you will need to set it up using the Remote Control buttons and enter a series of numbers or characters known as a Code. Codes will vary per device, appliance, and model type.
Some Universal Remote Controls have easier setups that can be done by connecting it with a cable to your appliance. Then follow instructions from thereon.
Application-based Universal Remote Controls will require us to download an app, and enter codes when you pair it to your appliance through Bluetooth.
Please familiarize yourself with the controls, and how it works with your devices. It may take some time to get used to, but nowadays, I have seen that the models out there are user-friendly.
What If It Doesn’t Work?
The most common reason that it will not work in my experience is that it has not been set up correctly. Pairing it through Bluetooth or infrared may have its difficulties. As such, try again. It would be helpful to do a restart or reset of your set up, either through completely turning it off, or pressing the reset button on your remote control and your appliance such as your TV.
I would go through the instructions again as I may have missed out a step or two. Patience is required, as wi-fi, Bluetooth, and infrared pairing can take some time to read, and several tries.
Other than this, it may be a compatibility problem; I recommend that you try a different brand or model instead. Now, this is where I say that testing it, and having the option for return, should be part of your decision upon purchasing one.
There could be an Auto Search option for the standard universal remote controls that will find the right code for your device and check it out as it has helped me too.
It could be as simple too that your devices may not be turned on or have battery power.
Other things you can do when your remote control doesn’t work:
- 1.Set it up or use it at different points or distances from your appliance.
- 2. Check where sensors are as something that may be blocking them from your device.
- 3. Reset and reprogram your device.
- 4.Next, check your appliance if it is also connected to power or if it is charged enough.
- 5.Check your appliance if it is functioning correctly without using the universal remote. It is possible too that the device itself may be defective.
- 6. After-sales service or Customer Support is your best bet. I have called in through hotlines, and they have proven useful.
My Phone As A Remote Control
I certainly recommend this as it helps get rid of the clutter of having too many devices. I have experienced Apple TV and Samsung TVs with their capability to connect to my phone, and indeed it works quite well for the essential functions.
Harmony Hub, as listed above, offers an application for your Apple or Android device. Take note though that your phone is used for a host of many things like phone calls, SMS, and browsing. These apps will also require some space for phone memory.
Using Universal Remote Controls for Apple TV
Apple TV has made a revolution in home entertainment. And so the question is, with the intricacies of Apple devices, is it possible to use a Universal Remote Control for it?
For Apple TV, you already have the slender standard remote control it comes with, and an easy set up of pairing the Apple TV with your iPhone to use it as a remote control.
However, having all your control in one device still appeals to having a Universal Remote Control.
Well, it is possible. It still takes some intricacies, but it will make a world of difference for Apple users like me. This can be done in two ways.
First, add the Universal Remote to the Apple Home app on any Apple device, tap Add Accessory, and then follow on-screen instructions.
The second is by using Infrared. Go to Settings on your Apple TV, then tap Add Remote, follow instructions from thereon.
As I have reviewed, the best brands for Apple are the ones I have also shared above. The ones are coming from Logitech and Caavo being the most recommended.
The Decision To Buy A Universal Remote Control
This lengthy discussion on Universal Remote Controls had given us a clearer picture of our best options and manage expectations when we decided to purchase one. It will make sense to do good product research, and as always, test the products which you end up with.