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Universal remotes you'll want to reel in | West Central Tribune

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During the coronavirus pandemic, many people have taken time to upgrade their home theater systems. After all, if you will be trapped at home, then you may also have a killer TV set of TV settings. Although the immersive sound and huge screen are fun, managing a remote control is not easy. This is why if you have a serious home theater system-or even a semi-dramatic system consisting of three or more components-a universal remote is a great device to have.

The best universal remote can unify all your clickers (including soundbars, Apple TV, surround speakers, Blu-ray players, Roku streaming sticks and more devices) into a single wand with buttons, allowing you It feels almost magical. Compared with the standard remote control, all the best universal remote control options have excellent ergonomic design, more intuitive buttons and better feel. Whether you are using Android, iPhone or other smart phones, many remote controls have applications that ensure they are compatible with your mobile device. The universal remote can also be used with smart devices and voice control systems such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa.

My family and I use many of the smart remote controls on this list as control devices for the main home theater system once or for months. At various points, multiple remotes on this list have been used to control TVs, AV receivers, game consoles, Blu-ray players, Roku streaming cables, and even cable box DVRs. My family uses the system in the same way as I do, and my main criterion in the smart universal remote control or universal remote application is that even with all these buttons, it is enough for children to operate easily.

This is how I choose the best universal remote control in order of price.

CNET TAKE: Logitech Harmony has written a book about universal remote control devices. These are the most basic clickers we can recommend for smart homes. Based on cheap, non-Harmony-based smart remotes or devices that come with set-top boxes, the main attraction is activity-based controls. Press "Watch TV" to use as a TV remote control or press the "Listen to music" button, then the Logitech Harmony remote control turns on all related devices (such as smart TVs, Blu-ray players and AV receivers), switch to the right input, and then press the button Map to the activity: for example, adjust the volume to the receiver, and adjust the channel up and down to the box.

Unlike the more expensive Logitech Harmony option, which uses the universal remote control application on the phone for setup and control, you must use Harmony Mac or PC-based software to program the remote program (needless to say, the remote application can be convenient of). 650 and 665 ( also rely on the IR (infrared) code emitted from the front of the device-if you need it anywhere, you will Have to spend money to buy a system with a hub.

CNET TAKE: Caavo's control center ( is one of the two non-Harmony smart remotes in this list, and it is also the first Two-the cheapest device, the price is 59 dollars, but there is a problem. To get the advanced features of Caavo, you need to pay a service fee. Its price is US$4 per month, US$40 per year, or US$160 for the entire life cycle of the remote control.

Unlike Harmony, Caavo Control Center includes an HDMI switch in addition to the smart remote control. You plug things into the switch and the switch will take care of the rest, including automatically identifying your equipment during the setup process. Caavo has its own intelligent voice control system and screen display that can help you find what you want to watch on the streaming device. The universal remote control unit itself is simple and elegant, and the remote control viewfinder is golden. Like hub-based Harmonys, Caavo does not require a line of sight (switch acts as a hub), and the remote control can also use voice commands from Alexa and Google Home speakers in homes with multiple devices.

CNET TAKE: The weird Amazon Fire TV Cube ( is a mashup of universal remote controls, Fire TV 4K streaming and Amazon Echo speakers make it the king of smart home devices. It comes with equipment, but its buttons are sparse and basic: the real equipment control is done through your voice. Cube has an infrared transmitter to control your equipment, and the microphone sensitivity is high enough to hear the instructions on the music. The downside is that you need to keep your old remote control (even if it's not very smart) to use many functions.

The price of such a controllable universal remote is usually only $80 or less, so before buying, be sure to wait for the sale on this device (or Prime Day).