Our step-up pick is the Sony RMVLZ620 Universal and it can work up to 8 AV components and it is made for various devices like a DVD, TV or VCR, which can be greatly convenient. It has a total of 12 macros for you to choose from, so you can access the different control functions of the system of your device or media device.
The budget pick is the Coolux Control Samsung and it can be used for various smart TVs and high definition TVs, such as those with a Samsung TV or a 3D LED screen TV. It is very simple to use and easy to control anything with. All you need to do is to supply batteries for it. The remote has a variety of functions for you to choose from.
A Little Background
A universal remote is a kind of media controlling device that can be used for televisions and the like. It is an infrared controlled device that lets you do different things, such as change the current channel, turn up the volume, turn down the volume, adjust the picture brightness, set the position of the screen, change the menu language and many other settings. It can also help you to control a DVD or media player alongside the TV itself.
A remote control is not limited to only televisions. You can use it for a VCD, a DVD, a Blu-Ray player, or even an antique VHS player if you have one. Remote controls can be found basically anywhere and everywhere – even on stereo players and sound systems. They have a wide range of operation and some can even be used on other appliances, electronics and the like. But generally, they are mostly seen on a TV setting.
Those that are used for media players like VCD, DVD and Blu-Ray players may have more buttons. The buttons are usually added with up, down, left, right and center buttons to make your selection on a certain menu. There are also numbers that are added more to give you more settings for the media player. There are also other additional items that cannot be found in common TV remotes out there that make them different.
Infrared technology is what makes the controlling device work. Infrared technology can be found in many other devices but its best example would be the media controlling device. Most media controlling devices can be really powerful and can be tested with a mobile phone’s camera due to the IR sensitivity of a phone’s camera. In most cases, these technologies will not really go out anytime soon due to their marketability, since many TVs today still use the media controlling device.
Usually, simple batteries are used to make the controlling device work properly. Common batteries used for the media controlling device include AA, AAAs and so much more. They are very easy to find, but you also need to consider that they are less likely to cause corrosion, and that they are of high quality so that you can get them to work to change the channel or lower down the volume with much better sensitivity and response when you use your media controlling device.
The usual materials used for the buttons of these controlling devices are some rubbery material that is easy to press. The rubbery material should be nontoxic so that it will not get in the way of your chips when you eat while watching TV. It should also be easy to press to get the access features that you want and need from your media controlling device.
How we Picked
In choosing the best universal remote, you should know about the following:
Media to use it on: whether it's your television, DVD player or any other kind of device, the media controlling device should be appropriate for a certain kind of device.
For example, the media controlling device is meant for a TV or some will be meant for a Blu-Ray player, and some are also meant for a smart TV device, which can be useful for those who have them. Some media controlling devices can be used for other devices like radios and stereo receivers as well.
Backlit: a considerable media controlling device would be one that is backlit, so that you can easily know what to press. Most people find it hard to use a media controlling device because of the lack of clarity on the buttons. Hence a backlighting scheme for your device means that the media controlling device can be easily accessible for those who do not have clear vision or for seeing the buttons at night or when it’s dark where you are.
Buttons included: the media controlling device should have an ample amount of buttons included, depending on the kind of operation that you want to employ for it. For example, the media controlling device, if to be used for a smart TV, should have more settings and buttons as compared to the ones that are for regular TVs. If you will have to use the media device for a Blu-Ray or DVD player, make sure that it has the right buttons.
Batteries needed: the media controlling device should have an indication as to how many batteries are needed, if they are included or what kind or type of battery should you use for the media controlling device. The device may need a specific number of batteries and might also have a different configuration on how to use the media controlling device, so you should inspect the device and know about it first.
Ease of entering commands: the media controlling device must give you ease of using so that you can be able to enter the commands on the device without a lot of worry and hassle. The buttons should be easy to use and they should provide you with all of the needed controls for using the media controlling device for your needed device such as your TV or your stereo receiver or home cinema system.
Accessibility of the buttons: the media controlling device should have easy to access buttons so that they will not be too hard to press overall. The buttons must be strategically located for the media controlling device to be able to be easy to use for all.
As our top pick, the Inteset INT-422 4-in-1 can be used for a wide variety of media, such as TV, media players and anything that is A/V in nature. There are macros, custom button labels and other controls that you can use for it. The device can work for the Xbox One, Windows Media Center, Apple TV, Roku and many more. It can also work for a TV cable box. It can support up to 100,000 other devices in general.
Note that most of the features found here are those found in higher end devices. There are also stickers above your programmed buttons so you can easily access favorite channels and keys. It also works on the Nvidia Shield, WD TV, Popcorn Hour, Matricom G-Box, Kodi and many others. It has a warranty of 1 year for defects, as long as you have the sales receipt. It only requires 2 AA batteries.
Flaws but Not Dealbrakers
The only con but not a deal breaker with the Inteset INT-422 4-in-1 is that it does have a bit of learning curve in terms of setting up, but that is true for all universal remotes.
The Sony RMVLZ620 Universal is our step-up pick which can work on most Samsung devices. You can use it for a TV, VCR, DVD or any other kind of media items possible. You can also use it for up to 8 AV components for your needs due to the wide range of universal controlling power of this IR remote control. You can also use the macros, which are 12 one-touch system control functions, to help store your favorite functions.
With just one single button, the macros allow you to perform a consecutive procedure. The setup is straightforward – it only requires the need to set the manufacturer’s code for each device that is not Samsung made. It can also control a sound bar, as well as a 3D Blu-Ray player. This remote seems more robust in comparison to other kinds and brands of control devices out there. It only requires 2 AA batteries for it to run.
The Coolux Control Samsung is our budget pick, which only requires batteries and it is good to go. It has many menu items and buttons and it can be used for smart TVs, HDTVs or high definition television, 3D LED TVs, Samsung TVs and so much more. As for the accessibility features, it even has a toggle for the back light. You can also use it to control an LG sounds bar for total media experience.
Even if you do have an older model Samsung HDTV, it will definitely work. To make it easier for you to use, the channel and volume buttons light up. Once you put up the batteries, the device automatically gets connected to the TV. In fact, it may even work better than your original control device. Most people agree that this device perfectly gets the job done without having to program anything.
Best Universal Remote for Panasonic Devices
The Panasonic N2QAYB000485 is a good choice if you have a Panasonic device, such as a Panasonic TV. It will work on an LED TV or a Smart TV just fine and it can also work with full function without a lot of hassle. Among the brands it can work on include: TC46PGT24, TCP42G25, TCP42GT25 TCP46G25, TCP50G20, TCP50G25, TCP50GT2 and others. It takes less time to set up and it only requires batteries to run like every other device.
It will also work for the Panasonic Viera TV and it is convenient because you don’t have to program the remote to the TV. It can clearly be a full-function replacement device for controlling your TV or media. It also comes with instructions for you to follow and it can also work on a Panasonic Plasma TV. You will only have to provide AAA batteries for it to run. It is backed by a 1 year warranty.
Best Universal Remote for GE Devices
The GE 33701 2-Device is greatly compatible with all GE devices but also on major brands out there. It can work on most A/V devices and it can be very easy to access due to the large buttons makes the device comfortable and simple and straightforward to use. With this device, the basic buttons needed for you to turn on and watch your device properly are included without a lot of hassle and fuss.
It has the basic major functions, such as the volume, channel, sleep, input, mute, previous channel (flash) and various other settings. Also, the instruction manual and code library list comes with the package when you buy the product, so it will also work in various devices as a universal remote. You can also use it to program the Bose sound bar or fix the input from bed and watch Netflix on your favorite devices.
Best Universal Remote for Amazon Devices
The Sideclick Remotes SC2-FT16K can work well with the Amazon fire TV streaming player and make it into a universal remote. It is very simple to program using infrared learning technology, like most other media controlling devices. The voice searching capability is kept due to the clip-on design of the device. You can also use it alongside your Amazon Echo Voice Remote with no hassle at all, so you don’t have to struggle using multiple remotes when streaming from devices.
You can easily program 8 buttons of your choice over multiple devices depending on your needs and preferences for watching TV or streaming media. In fact, with this device, accessing streaming apps can be super easy and a breeze for many people – even children may be able to do it. Overall, the device is a simple and affordable all-in-one solution for most problems with handling control devices for various media outputs.
Best Universal Remote for Vizio Devices
The Beyution NEW XRV4TV is a great choice if you have a Vizio brand TV, such as any LCD or LED TV. It can work with various models, such as the E370VT, M370SL, E322AR, E370VP, E422VLE, E422AR, E502AR, M320SL, E320VT and many others. It does not need any program and it only requires you to put in batteries, such as alkaline batteries, in order for it to work properly. Overall, it works very smoothly as an IR remote.
You can use it in a TV in the basement or even in your own bedroom or living room. You don’t need to pair it as it works right out of the box. If you have lost the original controlling device then this can help you. It also works on other TVs since it has the Netflix buttons. If your original Vizio remote stopped working, this can be a replacement. It is backed by a 60 days warranty.
Best Universal Remote for DirecTV Devices
The DirecTV RC65 4-Device works well for up to 4 devices and it works on any DIRECTV receiver as well. It can be used as a substitute to lost or broken remotes. It is greatly compatible with many audio and video devices due to the fact that it has an extensive universal code library. It can be used with nearly with all DIRECTV receivers due to the great compatibility and it only uses 2 AA batteries for it to run.
It can also be used to control stereo or video components, as you can easily fix the clutter of your original remote controls into just one single device. When the batteries are replaced, there is a memory function so that it is not a hassle for you, since it does not require you to re-program the remote. You can even use it as a second remote for a different room and it can also work for a DTV RC65 replacement.
Best Universal Remote for Samsung Devices
The Gvirtue Control GSM-22 is greatly compatible with various Samsung devices and can be the replacement for various models, such as BN59-01199F, AA59-00784C, BN59-01199F, BN5901178W, AA59-00666A, BN59-01178W, BN59-01199F and so much more. It can work well for a Smart Hub, 3D TV, LEARN, LED, LCD, Amazon or Netflix related media. It also has hotkey shortcuts to most popular functions that you often use. With this preprogrammed universal remote, you don’t have to do a lot to set it up.
It has buttons placed in a similar layout to the original remote, in terms of design. It will function upt o 100% same as original so you don’t have to worry about functionality. It is also lightweight and ergonomic to hold to your hand so it will be comfortable for you to use. It has a learning function – it allows you to literally teach it the commands from other controls. Most will not have to put in a TV code.
Best Universal Remote for Sony Devices
The Sony RMVZ220 works well for most Sony devices and is a greatly functioning device for up to 4 compatible video components. You can just de-clutter all of your controlling devices into one and it also has a TV and DVD menu function to make it easier for you to switch between inputs. It also has a unique picture in picture function, which is not clearly seen in most other media controlling devices out there.
It is guaranteed to work with most major brands and it has a comfortable and ergonomic design. All you need are 2 AA batteries for it to work. It also has a comfortable and easy to access streamlined design, so that you don’t have to fuss over the controls that are located in the button layout & software. Overall, this device can be a cheaper replacement for lost or broken control devices.
There were other universal remote controls that did not make it to our list because they were a fuss to use and were not working properly with their IR technology. They also take too much time to enter commands and have delays in terms of entering each command. Their buttons are also too small to read for most people, so we left them out of the list.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the different kinds of media control devices?
A: A media control device can have a variety of device types, such as the following:
IR or infrared media control device
This kind of media control device makes the use of infrared technology in order to pair with your TV or device. It is the cheapest kind of media control device out there due to the design and the technology. IR has a range of only up to 9 meters in maximum.
RF or radio frequency media control device
This kind of media control device is usually more expensive because RF is usually farther in terms of range. RF can reach up to 30 meters. This is why it is pricier than the IR type media control device.
Q: What are the benefits of using a media control device control?
A: A media control device control can be beneficial with the following facts:
Makes any task easier
Media control device controls can do any task for you when you press the buttons.
Changes the channel
You can easily change the channel with up and down buttons.
Changes the volume
You can easily change the channel with left and right buttons.
Switches the input
You can easily switch the input from your DVD player to your TV or with other devices.
Saves the lifespan of your TV buttons
It also saves the span of your TV buttons, such as the power button and channel changer.
Q: Which devices can be used with a media control device control?
A: Various entertainment devices can make the use of smart control using a remote. Some of which can be used with a smartphone app. The most common devices that can be used with a media control device control include the following:
The most common use of a media control device control would be in the TV, for watching shows and movies.
Stereo receiver or radio
Many receivers have a media control device control as well, for playing music.
VCR, DVD or Blu-Ray
These playable media devices can help you play movies or series from discs.
You can use it to control your Chromecast, Apple TV or some other device.
Q: What are some very extreme uses of a media control device control?
A: There can be different extreme uses of a media control device control outside of normal home use, such as the following:
1. International drug dealers have been found to use it to transfer drugs through RC airplanes.
2. Roadside bomb sweepers use it to safely detonate bombs that might kill people.
3. Police can use it for getting and gathering intelligence or surveillance in the air.
4. Create a controlled explosion for certain targets, made by the SWAT.
5.RC submarines can give the impression of the Loch Ness monster or any river monster.
6. Movies with special effects that require RC airplanes can make use of media control devices.
7. Some people use it to play pranks by dropping messages from the air.
8.There are also uniquely designed RC water augers out there with cameras.
9. Police vehicles can now come in the RC form.
10. Proper disposal of bombs can now be done in RC technology.
Q: What are the benefits of a multi-platform control device?
A: A multi-platform control device can have the following benefits:
No more cluttering
Having only one media control device to do the job lessens the clutter in your desk or area.
Multi-platform control devices are very simple to operate in general.
Easy to pair
Most of them are IR powered and are very easy to pair with your TV.
They are usually less expensive because of their simple design.
Q: What are the different kinds of TVs?
A: In today’s technology, there are many kinds of TVs that are present. Here are some of them:
Cathode ray tube or CRT TVs
They are the oldest kind of TVs, and are very bulky and heavy. They also tend to consume a lot of electricity as compared to today’s TVs. However, their durability can last for more than a decade.
Digital light processing or semi-flat TVs
These ones make use of the DMD or digital micromirror device chip that processes light in digital format.
Liquid crystal display or LCD TVs
These ones are the first of their kind for flat screen TVs, although many DLPs before were somehow flat as well.
Plasma TVs or plasma display panel TVs
Plasma TVs, different from LCD and LED, are made of the 4th phase of matter, which is plasma. They do not require backlighting, so they are great for rooms with better lighting.
Light emitting diode or LED TVs
They are made of a new technology but are similar to LCDs, with a little difference in technology. They are more expensive but more vivid in terms of picture quality and power consumption. These are commonly found in smart TVs with apps, compatibility with smartphone or tablet and harmony smart control.
Q: What are the basic parts of a media control device?
A: There are four basic parts of a media control device, such as the following:
The buttons are what you press in order to give a command to the device.
IC or integrated circuit
This dictates the programs and logics that get transferred to the LED and IR part.
The contacts send the signal from the button to the integrated circuit.
Light emitting diode or LED
This is the part that lights up as you point the media control device in a certain direction and press a button.
Q: What are the different kinds of batteries for media control devices out there?
A: There can be various battery sizes for you to use for a media control device, such as the following:
AA batteries are mostly used for a wide range of electronics, such as gadgets and anything that is portable. Some AAs can be rechargeable.
AAA batteries are the most commonly used for media control devices, as well as in music players, digital cameras and other small gadgets, which have a small current draw.
Some electronic toys can use the 9v battery, as well as walkie-talkies, smoke alarms, talk radios, transistor radios and many more.
Lithium Coin 2032 3V
They are mostly used for watches, as well as the CMOS of a computer, because they are good at keeping the memory of a clock for a constant time.
Lithium Coin 2025 3V
It is still used in some clocks that are old, but it is rarely used nowadays.
Lithium Coin 2016 3V
It can be used for some garage door openers and other specialty devices.
Alkaline MN21 12V
It can be used for garage door openers, home security systems, keychain radio devices, Bluetooth headsets and other small electronics.
Alkaline N or LR1
This kind of battery can be found in some calculators, glucose meters, small flashlights, laser pointers, microphones that are wireless, door chimes, pocket receivers or pagers, desk clocks, slot cars, film cameras and many more.
It can be used in keyless vehicle entry devices, Bluetooth headsets garage door openers, security systems for the home, radio devices and many others.
Also known as the 4LR61, they can be used for handheld security devices. They are also known as a medical device battery, and can be hard to find.
They can be used in headphone amplifiers, LED penlights, laser pointers, glucose meters, stylus pens and many more.
Q: How are LED and LCD TVs different?
A: LED and LCD TVs differ from the following aspects:
Liquid crystal display
Light emitting diode
LCDs use CCFL backlighting, which is a series of CCFLs. They are usually cheaper in terms of price and technology.
The LED type TVs make use of full array backlighting, which makes the picture a lot brighter.
LCDs are typically cheaper.
LEDs are typically pricier.
Effect on eyes
LCDs may hurt your eyes in prolonged periods.
LEDs are gentler to your eyes in prolonged periods.
Q: What is the average listening volume for TV?
A: The TV volume should be toned down to avoid causing trouble with your neighbors and other people, and to reduce the damage on your hearing. The proper listening volume is about 45 to 50 dB, which can vary depending on the output or gain of your device.
Q: What are the features of a smart TV as compared to a regular TV?
A: Here are the unique features of a smart TV as compared to a regular TV:
Smart TVs nowadays can accept voice commands for those with problems getting up or moving.
It may also help you to switch channels with the use of your hands.
You can download a lot of applications depending on what operating system it operates on. For instance, on Android TV, you can download most of the stuff that you have on your phone.
Can be connected to the internet
Some have built-in Wi-Fi but most only have the capability to connect to a Wi-Fi network. With this, you can browse the internet on a TV.
You can watch different streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Pandora and many more.
There are some smart TVs that can have an automatic update for their software or apps.
They can connect to Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and many more.
Q: What are the different streaming video services for TV?
A: Different streaming video services that can be used for your smart TV include the following:
Name of service
Amazon Prime Video
$99 per year
$11 per month
Those who already have Amazon Prime and want to check out their original shows.
$8 monthly single screen standard
$11 per month high-def up to 2 screens
$14 per month 4K up to four screens
Basically everyone, as it is the best streaming service due to the wide range of content
$8 per month with ads
$12 per month without ads
Various shows from ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and the like
$40 per month
Sports channels, news channels, YouTube Red and a wide range of shows
$15 per month
Those who love HBO but don’t have cable
$5 per month
$50 per year
CBS All Access
$6 per month with ads
$10 per month ad-free
$35 per month
Thos who don’t have satellite dish for DirecTV
$7 per month (basic)
$11 per month
$99 per year with Criterion Channel
Classic movies, indie films, vintage stuff
$45 per month 80 channels
$35 per month after introductory price
$16 a month
$4 for an add-on channel pack
Those who like cable channels but don’t really like sports channels
$40 to $75 per month
Cable style programming
$11 per month
$9 per month (Prime and Hulu)
Fans of Showtime shows
$20 per month Orange
$25 per month Blue
$40 per month combined package
$5 add-on packs
Great for those who want to get out of regular cable
$9 per month
Similar service to HBO and Showtime
Q: What are some misconceptions with smart TVs?
A: There are people who might think differently about smart TVs, and here are some myths about them:
“Smart TVs have free Wi-Fi”.
Not all smart TVs have them – it depends on the model.
“Smart TVs are touch screen.”
Not all of them are touch screen – most often, touch screen ones are greatly expensive. It would also be a hassle to touch your screen when you can just sit on your couch and use the media control device.
“They don’t use antenna.”
It depends on whether you’re subscribing to Netflix or your local cable service in your city or area. Internet based services like Netflix surely don’t require antenna, but those with cable services may require that.
“You can use a USB internet stick for a smart TV.”
So far, this kind of smart TV doesn’t exist yet. Only USBs with media files can work well with smart TVs, as of now.
“Smart TVs are for rich people.”
Yes and no – it depends on the brand of smart TV that you want to purchase. While it is generally expensive, you can find a Chinese brand for a smaller price.
Q: How do you choose a proper TV size?
A: Most people often make the mistake of not buying the proper size of their TV. Here are some criteria you should consider for that:
1. Measure your room to make sure you have a place for your TV.
2. Consider if the stand will take the TV just fine, or if the stand will fit your room.
3. Measure how far you need to be from the screen of the TV.
4. Do know that bigger sized TVs aren’t always better – it’s sometimes in the picture quality.
Q: What features can make a TV stand out in terms of picture quality?
A: When it comes down to picture quality, the following are the things you need to look for in a TV:
The color is an important aspect because it lets you determine the real colors of an object or an area, and sets the mood for the scene.
Clarity is important so that you can see the important and finer details of the show.
Contrast is important because it makes the picture more vivid to the eyes.
Q: How do Apple TV, Amazon Fire Stick, Chromecast and Roku compare with each other?
A: These three streaming devices are often compared to each other, and here are their major differences:
Name of device
Roku Media Player
Netflix, Hulu, and PBS Kids
Android device or iOS, iPhone
HDTV and Wi-Fi
Usually cheaper in price plans
Not very good in picture quality (unless you grab the 4K version)
Amazon Fire TV Stick
Netflix, Hulu, HBO NOW, YouTube, Amazon Video
Amazon Fire, Android, or iOS device
Voice control with Alexa, many content
Not that good in video quality (unless you grab the 4K version)
Netflix, Hulu, ESPN, iTunes
HD and UHD TVs with HDMI
4K support resolution
For iOS only
Q: How much time do people spend on Netflix on the average?
A: On the average, people generally spend 1:33 hours per day, according to Netflix metrics in 2015. In 2014, it originally reached to 1:23 hours a day. There are so many factors that can make Netflix the “king of binge watching” in terms of streaming services, such as the variety of content.
Q: What are the pros and cons of Netflix?
A: Netflix is a popular streaming site that most people around the world can subscribe to and watch on their phone or on their smart TV. Here are its pros and cons:
1. Straightforward to use
2. No commercials
3. Offers original content
4. Offline content is possible
5. Upgrade and downgrade
6. Greatly affordable
7. Mostly positive reviews
1. New shows or movies take long to get uploaded to the service
2. Library is inferior to Amazon Prime in terms of content
3. Content is region specific, especially if you’re not living in the Americas
Q: Should I get Netflix instead of cable?
A: Choosing Netflix over cable has many different concerns:
1. Be wary that Netflix does not offer sports, and you’ll need a separate service for that.
2. Cable TV can have censorships, but Netflix has freer content.
3. Both cable TV and Netflix offer exclusive content you won’t find on either service.
Q: What are the pros and cons of cable TV?
A: If you decide to stay on cable TV, you get the following pros and cons:
1. You get a lot of choices for channel types and content.
2. It is usually much cheaper as compared to streaming services.
3.Application is much easier than with streaming services.
4. You get privacy because in streaming services, your content can be tracked.
5. Poorer countries and communities have better access to cable TV than to satellite and streaming services
1. Cable TV may not offer shows that streaming services offer, like Netflix-exclusive content.
2. Cable TV has censorships that Netflix doesn’t always have.
3. Cable TV has tons of commercials.
Wrapping It Up
As a whole, we believe that the Inteset INT-422 4-in-1 is our pick for the best universal remote, due to the compatibility to Apple TV, Roku, Kodi and Xbox One devices, as well as the LED backlighting, the 15 programming commands and the code locking, which can help you to keep your favorite program without accidentally hitting the volume or channel buttons. It is also greatly compatible with various devices, so it is truly a universal remote.
Jen Miller is a former electrical engineer and product specialist with more than 20 years of product design and testing experience. She has designed more than 200 products for Fortune 500 companies, in fields ranging from home appliances to sports gear and outdoor equipment. She founded Jen Reviews to share her knowledge and critical eye for what makes consumers tick, and adopts a strict no-BS approach to help the reader filter through the maze of products and marketing hype out there. She writes regularly and has been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, The Muse, The Huffington Post, Tiny Buddha and MindBodyGreen.