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Will Universal Remote Work On Any TV? (Updated 2023 Guide)

Will Universal Remote Work On Any TV

I’m sure many have misplaced a TV remote at some point in their lives.

You might be one of them. 

And you’re currently shopping for a universal remote as a replacement.

But you’re not sure if it’ll work on your TV.

Well, I’ve got just the answer you’re looking for.

Continue reading to discover:

  • Easy-to-follow steps to connect a universal remote to a TV.
  • Whether a universal remote will actually work on any TV brand or model.
  • How to turn your smartphone into a universal remote for smart and non-smart TVs.
  • And many more…

Will universal remote work on any TV?

A universal remote will work on most TVs. As a rule of thumb, if a TV was made in the 2010s or later, you’ll be able to use a universal remote on it. That’s because modern universal remotes are built for TVs within the past decade or so. They may work on older TVs. But it’s not always a guarantee.

Do universal remotes work on a non-smart TV?

Universal remotes work on a non-smart TV. Those types of remotes mainly use infrared (IR) signals to control any TV, smart or not. So you won’t need an internet connection to pair them with non-smart sets. Some of the best universal remote brands for non-smart TVs include Philips and GE.

A brief history of universal remotes

Universal remote controls have actually been around since the mid-1980s.

The very first one was released by Philips in May 1985.

And a couple of years after that… 

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak developed the first programmable universal remote.

It was inspired by his desire to have a single device to control his TV and VCRs.

However, the product was deemed too technical for the common people.

So Philips’ simple, infrared (IR)-based remote became the one that succeeded.

Fast forward to today, and universal remotes still use the same IR technology.

And that’s why they will still work even on non-smart TVs.

Philips remains a leading manufacturer when it comes to universal remotes. Its SRP3249B model actually only costs $10.

And it works on all of the most popular TV brands. Including:

  • LG.
  • Vizio.
  • Sony.
  • Sharp.
  • Samsung.

As an alternative to Philips, there’s also GE. 

It’s another manufacturer that produces universal remotes for smart and non-smart TVs.

You can buy a GE 34708 right now for only $8. And yes, it’s also compatible with most TV brands.

How to use a universal remote app on a non-smart TV

Believe it or not, you can also use a smartphone app to control a non-smart TV.

“Wait, how’s that even possible?”

Well, some Android phones have a built-in IR blaster

This refers to a feature that allows the phone to connect to another gadget through infrared.

All you have to do is download a universal remote app on your phone. And using your device’s IR blaster, you can then pair it with a non-smart TV.

“How would I know if my phone has an IR blaster?”

The easiest way’s to search online.

Just open a browser on your phone or laptop. And go to Google. From there, type in your phone’s model name plus the words “IR blaster.”

You can then confirm from the results if your phone has one.

“What if my phone doesn’t have it?”

That won’t be a problem. You can simply plug an IR dongle into your phone.

A great brand for that is Tuanzi. This company sells IR dongles compatible with phones with Lightning and USB-C ports.

This means the gadget will work on both iPhones and Android devices.

Having said that, it’s time to go through the steps of turning your phone into a remote for your non-smart TV.

For this guide, we’ll be using the UniMote app. It’s among the best-reviewed universal remote apps out there.

So you should download it on your phone. It’s available for both Android and iOS devices.

How to use the UniMote app to turn your phone into a universal remote

Step #1: Plug the IR dongle into your smartphone. If your device already has an IR blaster, proceed to the next step.

Step #2: Launch the UniMote app on your phone.

Step #3: Click the Use IR Mode button.

Step #3: A list of TV brands should appear. Pick the one that you own.

You should then see a virtual remote on the app. You may start using it to control your TV.

Now, if you’d also like a visual guide on how to use the UniMote app… 

You may watch this video below. It’s for Android, but the process is also the same for iOS.

How to connect a universal remote to a TV

The ways to connect a universal remote to a TV vary. It’ll depend on the manufacturer of the TV or remote.

But generally, there are 2 easy ways to do it:

  • Via automatic code search.
  • By manually typing in your TV’s code.

I’d highly suggest that you try out the auto code search method first. It’s much faster to do.

However, if it doesn’t work, then you may attempt to pair manually.

And don’t worry. I’ll walk you through the steps for both.

How to connect a universal remote to a TV via automatic code search

Step #1: Look for the button that says TV. And then press and hold it. Wait for the indicator light to turn on.

Step #2: Without releasing the TV button, press and hold the Power button as well. This will turn the indicator light off and then on. 

Step #3: Release both buttons after the indicator light switches back on.

Step #4: Click the remote’s Play button. Your TV should turn off.

Step #5: Press the Rewind button on the remote. Your TV should turn back on. However, if it doesn’t, keep pressing the Rewind button every 5 seconds.

Step #6: Once your TV powers back on, press the remote’s Stop button.

Your remote’s now programmed to work on your TV. But try out the other buttons to verify.

If it’s not working, you may repeat the whole process. And if it still won’t connect with the TV after that, proceed with the manual way of pairing.

How to connect a universal remote to a TV manually

Step #1: Look for your TV’s universal remote code. You should find it in the manual that came with the remote.

If you can’t find the user manual, you may ask the remote’s manufacturer for the code.

In addition, you may also go to the Codes For Universal Remote site

Just search for your TV brand there. And you should see all the possible 3, 4, and 5-digit codes that you can use.

Step #2: Press and hold the TV button on the universal remote. Release it as soon as you see the indicator light turn on.

Step #3: Enter the code for your TV. Start with a 3-digit code. And then try to use the remote’s other buttons to check if it’s working. 

If it’s not, enter a 4 or 5-digit code instead. There are over 10 possible codes for every TV brand.

So keep trying out the codes until you get the correct one.

Now, if you’ve tried out all the codes and the remote’s still not working…

It’s possibly defective. So you should contact its manufacturer for a replacement.

The best universal remotes for every budget

If you’re reading this article…

There’s a good chance you’re thinking about buying a universal remote.

You’ve either lost your TV’s original one or it’s no longer working.

And while you can use a Smart TV without a remote

Having one’s still much more convenient.

Now, I already mentioned Philips and GE’s very affordable products. And they’re the best budget remotes that you can buy.

However, let me share 2 more excellent remotes for you to consider.

One’s a high-end device that costs close to $200. The other’s a mid-range one, with a price of about $50.

Best high-end universal remote: Logitech Harmony 665

Logitech Harmony 665

If money’s not an issue, then the Logitech Harmony 665’s the best one to buy.

At $190, this remote works with over 270,000 devices. That includes all the popular TV brands.

Furthermore, it’s also compatible with streaming players like Roku and Apple.

It also has 23 customizable buttons. And you can program each of them to launch an app or go to a particular channel on your TV.

With the Harmony 665, you won’t need any other remote for all of your home entertainment devices.

So it’s really well worth its cost.

Best mid-range universal remote: SofaBaton U1

Now, if you don’t need something as advanced as the Harmony 665…

Then consider buying the SofaBaton U1. It’s priced at $50.

This remote works with over 6000 electronic brands.

Moreover, it’s actually compatible with over 500,000 devices. That’s almost twice as much as the Harmony 665.

But here’s the catch…

This remote only works via IR and Bluetooth. This means it’s not compatible with WiFi-controlled gadgets. Examples of these are Roku streaming sticks and PS5.

And that’s the main difference with Logitech.

Otherwise, this is another great universal remote overall.