How to Use a Universal TV Remote


The universal TV remote control eliminates the uncertainty and untidiness of having multiple remote controls to operate a home media center. There is a wide variety of universal remotes on the market, with prices ranging from $10 to $20 for a basic model to well over $300 for the most sophisticated devices. To use the universal remote, it must first be set up and programmed to function with each individual system component.

Things You'll Need

  • Old remote controllers
  • Computer with USB 2.0 jack
  • Universal remote control
  • Universal remote software
  • Download or insert CD/DVD software for the universal remote control; open and follow initial instructions.

  • Place each old remote control on a flat surface with the infrared output LED (generally at the top of the remote) facing the universal infrared output about two to three inches from each other.

  • Push and hold down the button that activates the program mode of the universal remote (generally the power button) until the red indicator LED stops flashing.

  • Press the power button on the old remote, and simultaneously press the power button (or an alternative selection) on the universal remote. The red LED on the universal remote will flash twice, indicating that the universal remote has loaded the capability to power up the component for which the old computer was used.

  • Continue to load other functionality on to the universal remote (volume, channel, pause, stop, etc.) in the same manner.

  • Select the next remote, and proceed in the same manner.

  • Plug the universal remote into the USB 2.0 port on the computer.

  • Open the universal remote program, and run the "check programming" application or the equivalent to be shown all the functionality the universal remote now has on board.

  • Go to the program on the computer to add any additional functionality necessary to control the audio-video system (delete, set record times, etc.).

  • Unplug the universal remote from the computer, and test the universal remote on the audio-video system. If any functionality is missing, return to the program by plugging the universal remote back into the USB 2.0 port on the computer and opening the universal remote program. Check and/or reinstall the appropriate function.

Tips & Warnings

  • Universal remote installation methods vary to some extent. However, all of the multi-unit programmable remotes on the market use this same basic setup. Follow the instructions specific to the selected model outlined in the program notes carefully as to the details (i.e. distance from the old remote, time to hold down various control buttons, etc.).
  • If one of the audio-video system components is not activated by the universal remote, do not manually power up the unit. This can cause the remote to become unstable. Try to correct the problem using the"Help" function on the universal remote. Failing that, reconnect the universal remote to the computer and use the program to address and solve the problem. Do not get rid of your old remotes in case you need to reprogram at some time.

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  • Photo Credit remote control 2 image by Christopher Hall from
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