A good home cinema set in combination with audio equipment and devices for the smart home mean that you sometimes need many remote controls to be able to operate all the equipment in the house. The remote control of the television can not operate the blu-ray player again and for the receiver you need another remote control. If you want to change the settings on the television then you have to go back to the remote control for the television. Oh yes, the lights also have to be dimmed and with which I adjust the sound of my audio equipment again? Sometimes you can not see the forest through the trees anymore. What are the possibilities if you simply have too many remote controls in your home? Meet the universal remote control.
What is a universal remote control?
The universal remote control can take over the signal from virtually all your remote controls. That means that you can control the television, audio equipment and almost all other devices that use an infrared signal with a single remote control. That does not only work very easily, but it also ensures that the living room is not littered with about ten remote controls. Even if you have lost a remote control and can not find a replacement, a universal remote control can offer a solution.
How does it work?
In the past you had to enter the product codes of the supported devices manually on the remote control via a code page. This method should usually still be used with inexpensive universal remote controls. Via the buttons for TV, DVD or aux you can then control every single device with the same remote control.
Fortunately, programming can be a lot easier nowadays. New models come with software for the computer or an app for the smartphone, where you can easily adjust the universal remote. Through the database you can quickly find all the devices that you can connect to the remote control with the push of a button. The setting is then done entirely by itself.
Possibilities of supplied remote controls increasing
Of course, the manufacturers of televisions, receivers and other devices are aware of the fact that we have to have more and more different remote controls in-house to operate. That is why the remote controls that manufacturers supply are also becoming more extensive, so that you can use the supplied remote control to operate multiple devices.
The new televisions from Samsung, for example, recognize the connected HDMI equipment and then leave it with the operate remote control for the television. The same applies to receivers, where manufacturers offer the possibility to learn remotes, so that you can also use the basic functions of a television or blu-ray player on the remote control for the receiver.
However, the possibilities remain limited included remote controls, so you can not use all functions. In the future, these functions will become more and more extensive, but for now it does not offer a complete solution for the use of all your devices at home. A universal remote control is still the parent when it comes to different devices on one remote control.
Cheap is expensive
At the budget stores you can sometimes buy a universal remote control for less than ten euros. You must, however, have a considerable amount of perseverance to be able to work with this. They often work on a limited number of devices, it works quite cumbersome and the manual often leaves much to be desired. In the end you were lucky enough to connect some of your devices at the most, so you still can not clear all remote controls.
Cheap is expensive and that goes for a universal remote control. The options are simply too limited and often they work more awkwardly than using all separate remote controls. In addition, it sometimes still works to control the television, but if you have a Smart TV with smart functionalities, most inexpensive universal remote controls are completely confused and you can then write these options on your stomach. Of course we want to connect as many devices as possible to the universal remote control with full functionality and so you will have to spend a bit more money to find a working solution.
A rule that applies in the world of universal remote controls is that, the more money you spend on it, the more devices you can operate with it. The major power under the universal remotes is Logitech, with which you can connect up to fifteen different devices for some models. Are you looking for a universal remote control to replace a current remote control? Take a look at the affordable One For All models, which are available for specific televisions and are easy to use to replace a broken or lost remote control. One For All also makes universal remote controls where you can connect multiple devices, but it is nowhere as extensive as with Logitech.
Easy programming via an app
Using a code page for programming is of course no longer of this time. Many modern universal remotes therefore use an app. Via Bluetooth, the app can connect to the remote control on the smartphone. Through the app you choose the type of device and the brand and the rest usually goes automatically. Via an app you can easily program the universal remote to get support for your devices in the house.
Infrared has limitations
Although you can connect many different devices with universal remotes, you often stay the same limit that it only works via infrared. Game consoles such as the PlayStation 4 or the Xbox One or for example smart home products use different standards such as bluetooth, rf or wifi. Most universal remote controls only work with infrared, so you can not program these products.
Logitech has found something on this, the Logitech Hub. The Logitech hub is a small black box that can recognize not only infrared but also other signals and can transfer to the remote control. This makes it possible to use the universal remote control to operate devices that you previously could not use, including game consoles, but also lighting of Philips Hue or thermostats from Nest. Amazon Echo can also be used in combination with the hub, so that you can switch on the television via voice control. The hub also makes it possible to use the smartphone as a universal remote. For example, before you get home, you can set the thermostat to a degree warmer or turn on the lights already.
The Logitech Hub is supplied as standard with the Logitech Harmony Elite but is also for sale separately. The nice thing about the Harmony Elite is that you can create routines. This allows you to switch on various devices at the touch of a button. Many new Logitech models support the Logitech Hub, but the brand still has pure infrared universal remote controls for sale.
However, even this remote control can not operate all devices in the house. This is partly due to the fact that so many different protocols and standards are used in the smart home world, that support for everything simply is not possible. It will also take a long time before there is one standard for communication between all devices, if that will happen at all. Nevertheless, the Logitech Hub makes it possible to add many more devices to the universal remote control than was previously possible. As mentioned earlier, the more devices you can connect, the more expensive the universal remote is. The Logitech Harmony Elite costs 239 euros, but offers the best that can be found on the market today in the field of universal remote controls.
Universal remote control: something for you?  Whether you buy a simple universal remote control because your current one is broken, or want to have a universal remote control to replace the army of remote controls that you currently have at home, it all comes down to personal preference. There are people who swear by a universal remote control, while other people do not like it at all. In any case, do not buy a cheap model at a budget store, because it means that you are more likely to lose out than to move forward. I do not say that to scare you, but to protect you from a purchase that you will definitely regret. The possibilities are just too limited.
Do you want the best in the area of universal remotes? Then take a look at the Logitech Harmony line. These remote controls are available as well as infrared remote controls, for television, blu-ray player, home cinema set or audio equipment, but also as remote controls that can recognize standards such as bluetooth and wifi through the Logitech Hub. In addition to your television and audio equipment, you can also control the game consoles and various smart home applications with the universal remote control.