A universal remote control is pre-programmed with certain universal remote codes that help one to operate different brands of consumer electronics devices. There are low-, mid- and high-end universal remotes. A low-end remote can control only a fixed number of devices as determined by the manufacturer, while mid- as well as high-end remote controls help the user in programming fresh universal remote codes for the same.
There are also remote controls that are sold with diverse electronic devices that consist of many universal remote facilities for many other kinds of devices. The remote also manages devices other than the one it was sold with. For instance, a CD player remote might also be programmed to handle different brands of TVs. Programming a remote control device might be a complex procedure, so that it is mostly done by individuals who are technical savvy, although non-technical people are able to operate it once it is programmed, using the appropriate remote control codes.
Some History on Universal Remote Codes
It was the Dutch company Philips that brought out the very first universal remote, under the brand name of Magnavox. However, this remote was not programmable with universal remote codes. The credit to develop the first remote control that can be programmed goes to the inimitable Steve Wozniak, who invented the Apple II, in 1987. In the same year, Steve Ciarcia described a universal remote control that can upload the necessary settings to any computer, in an interesting article in Byte Magazine.
Benefits of a universal remote
A universal remote is the best way to bring together all the various controls for numerous electronic devices under a single remote control. If you happen to lose your original remote control or it breaks down, the only choice left is to go looking for a replacement and program in a universal remote code to manage a TV, DVD or Blue Ray Player. Although, several remotes feature a “code search” function, it cannot always get the appropriate code for all TVs.
This necessitates putting in universal remote codes manually. However, this is not always easy, as this information is not available online or the user’s manual explaining the workings of the remote control is somehow lost. Then the only recourse is to look for a website that features all the popular brands of remotes along with their codes.
A Problem Arises
The code for different makes of remote controls is not the same as every brand of DVD player or TV, and they have their own specific code to avoid any possible conflicts with some other remote control. However, this can generate a large volume of specific infrared data that is dispensed all around. Some brands of DVD players can include more features than others, so that every function is not necessary on all remote controls.
Universal remotes that can send more complex signals or manage numerous components can be very costly. Some of the expensive units can be programmed easily and some others can be programmed from a computer without the need for universal remote codes.
Upgradable and Learning Remotes
There are universal remotes that let the code lists be programmed directly into them or updated in order to include new models or brands of devices that are not presently supported. A number of higher end universal remotes needs to be connected to a computer. Such a connection is done typically by means of the computer’s USB and the mini-USB found on a remote or the base station of the remote.
It is interesting to note that in 2000, some enthusiasts found that the universal remotes produced by UEI under brands such as RadioShack, One For All etc., could be reprogrammed using the interface termed JPI.
Then there are infrared learning remotes that are able to discern the codes for all buttons on other such remote controls as well. This feature also lets the remote find out functions that are unsupported by default, by making it possible to manage devices an infrared remote is not initially designed to control.
To conclude, universal remote codes are designed to activate the devices that are connected to them. A control code for an electronics appliance is specific to that device and as such listed in the manuals that come with the product. Typically, companies have different universal remote codes which connect any remote control with its corresponding TV set. If by any chance a remote of a TV is lost or broken, a fresh remote control using the same universal remote codes can be used. Under the circumstances, it a wise thing to note down the code if the user’s manual is lost. Universal remote codes of all major brands of TV sets can be had found on the numerous websites on the Internet.