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Using Your Smartphone as a TV Remote

Smartphones have increasingly become personal assistants, organizers, controllers and links to the world, and these convenient devices now offer you the ability to control your television remotely and get rid of multiple entertainment remotes and inefficient universal remotes. Cheap universal controls offer few practical control options, and advanced systems tend to cost lots of money and need professional installations.

The Elegant Solution

You can download free or inexpensive apps that allow smartphones to control single devices without spending lots of money on hardware. These apps allow you to record and control televisions and DVRs remotely with touch-pad smartphones. Common applications include single-purpose apps to control TVs from phones, iPads, Android devices and other mobile systems through home-computer networks.

Historical Perspective

Smartphone apps have proliferated because they offer convenient calculating, searching, interacting and controlling functions. Smart TV systems from Sony, LG, Samsung and other manufacturers make Android and iOS apps that control their sets, and Apple has a remote app for controlling Apple TV and Wi-Fi. Blu-ray players and home-theater systems also offer remote apps for smartphones.

However, adding devices and apps could make your life more complicated. Researchers have recently developed the Ube app that controls all home systems from compact, convenient smartphones. The advanced app controls smart TVs, media boxes, digital video recorders, thermostats, garage doors and other appliances in homes that have wireless connections and remote-compatible equipment.

Control Hotel Entertainment with Smartphones

Many people hate to handle remotes in hotels when traveling because these devices share the germs of previous guests. LodgeNet, a company that provides on-demand entertainment to more than 85 percent of the hospitality industry, developed the LodgeNet Mobile app to control TVs connected to the service. The app helps to persuade people to watch full-size hotel systems instead of getting their entertainment from laptops and smartphones while traveling, and the free app is available for Android or iOS phones.

Step-by-step Guide

You can search for apps through manufacturer websites of TVs, systems, and equipment that you wish to control. Some software companies offer apps to encourage interactive television viewing, strengthen social media participation or promote new TV shows.

  1. Ditch your remote control and install the free BlinQ TV app. This smartphone app controls TVs, audio receivers, DVD players and set-top boxes.
  2. You will need an IR transmitter, which costs around $10. The transmitter plugs into headphone jacks on smartphones and other mobile devices.
  3. Range for IR control is 18–20 feet

Advanced infrared transmitters could control many kinds of home equipment, and these devices come with extensive databases of equipment codes. Feature benefits include the ability to control home systems and appliances from any location, store favorite TV channels and change button layouts. You can find wireless transmitters in a variety of prices.

Applications for Controlling Smartphones

You can choose from many apps that offer abilities to control entertainment devices, security systems, programmable door locks and environmental controls. You might need to install remote dimmers or thermostats to enable this kind of technology. Some of the popular apps you could choose include the following examples:

  • Google TV Remote

    The free app facilitates voice commands, powers up and down and controls other TV functions. People who own televisions that are equipped for Google TV can use this smartphone app.

  • ArkMC DLNA UpnP Media Center

    This multimedia application works with Android devices to control TVs, PCs, Xboxes 360 and streaming video from separate cameras. You can stream, manage and share Internet content, videos and music by smartphone control.

  • Re Universal Remote Control

    You can control DVD players and TVs with this app for iOS devices. The app is free, but you need to buy the infrared accessory.

  • VIERA Remote

    This app allows you to transfer images from your iOS phone to television screens, and it works many Panasonic televisions.

  • Sony Media Remote

    Android phones can download this app and transfer smartphone content to big screens and switch channels with touch-pad convenience. You can use your phone as a remote control and game-pad controller for compatible Blu-ray players and receivers and Sony TVs.

Plastic remote controls tend to multiply fast, but smartphone apps take no additional space because most television viewers keep their phones handy. You can cut the clutter of remote controls and enjoy the benefits of a smart remote, which remembers your preferences, suggests shows to watch and tells you which programs your friends are watching.