How to Program a Universal Remote Control

You can program a universal remote to run virtually any media device you have in your home theater system. In fact, if you have the time and money to spend, you can get a programmable remote that will control not only your home theatre equipment but your gaming equipment and PC. Of course, the more interactive a remote is the more expensive it will be; that is why most people choose a simple no frills universal remote.

Remote Control Programming
When properly set up, a simple touch of a button brings your entire home theater system to life. From adjusting the surround sound to advancing the movie, you never have to leave the comfort of your favorite chair.

Making all of this work still requires you to program the universal remote control, which is done in one of two ways. Some remotes have a built-in feature that lets you point them at a device and determine which codes to use. This isn't the most reliable feature, so all remotes still let you program device codes manually. You'll find the list of codes and programming instructions with your universal remote.

Expanded Functionality
Some newer universal remotes come with easy-to-navigate color screens, and they allow you to program multiple steps into a macro. A macro combines several instructions into one button. Your remote's screen may have an icon that says "Play Music." By pushing the button, the stereo turns on, the CD player engages and the speakers come up to the perfect volume level.

A universal remote control can be programmed to turn the cable system on when the TV is turned on. Deluxe models can engage your DVD player and home theater, and even dim a compatible lighting system for the perfect viewing environment.

Problem Areas
Before purchasing a universal remote, consider your system carefully. Some on-screen menus, like the Sony Xross Media Bar, are nearly impossible to operate with a universal remote. Buying a multifunction remote from your TV's manufacturer may solve the problem, or you can try a remote that lets you program individual buttons to emulate the functions found on the original remote.

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