5 Things to Look for When You Buy a Universal Remote
published onJanuary 26, 2011

There are so many choices in universal remote controls for your home theater system. How do you choose? Here are three things to look for when you buy a universal remote control:

Compatibility – In spite of the name “universal,” not all universal remote controls will work with all devices. Read consumer reviews, talk to your friends or talk to your New York home theater installer before making a decision.

Ease-of-use – This is a very close second on the list. You don’t want to get frustrated every time you try to use your remote control. If you call JD Pro for a home theater installation, we will offer a short training session to show you how to use your remote. But, once you’ve learned how, it should be intuitive enough that you don’t have to think about it every time you want to switch inputs, change the channel, or even use more advanced features, like surfing the Web.

Other features that may factor into ease-of-use includes placement of buttons and a backlit display.

Number of Devices – Simply put, make sure your universal remote control can do everything you need it to, including handle as many inputs as you want to throw at it. Think ahead — it’s better to have a remote control that will grow with your needs than have to upgrade later when you add a new game system, Apple TV box, or another device. Some of the remotes out there today can program up to 255 devices, so you shouldn’t have to worry about maxing out a high-quality remote control.

Other Features – Today’s universal remote controls can do an amazing amount of things, including letting you surf the Web from your TV, view slideshows of photos with complete control right from your chair, and, of course, control a number of devices.

Universal remote controls come with either touch screens — which can be very intuitive and user friendly — or hard buttons. Some people prefer hard button remotes because it’s what they’re used to. The features you choose will be based on your preferences and needs — your professional home theater installer can help you sort it all out.


Battery Life – The more your remote can do, the quicker the batteries will die. You can look into rechargeable options to save money.