The Complete Guide to Buying Replacement TV Remotes

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The Complete Guide to Buying Replacement TV Remotes

The television remote control has been a much-appreciated device of convenience. It brought with it the ability to control a television set from across the room, changing channels, controlling volume and resuming playback simply by touching one of its many buttons. Whilst TV remote controls are not always treated with the best of care, it is a resilient device and can withstand many of the careless falls and bumps it encounters in the duration of its lifespan.

Eventually, however, TV remotes can malfunction. And when changing its batteries no longer restores it to its former glory, it is an indication that a replacement TV remote control needs to be bought. This guide will outline some of the replacement remotes available in the market, including how to buy them on eBay.

History of TV remotes

The first remote control for televisions was developed in 1950 by the Zenith Radio Corporation. Aptly, it was called ‘Lazy Bones’, and was connected to the television by a wire. A wireless remote was soon developed which worked by shining a beam of light precisely (and impractically) onto a photoelectric cell. A year later, a mechanical remote was invented which used ultrasound to change the channel and the volume. Its buttons responded to different frequencies which circuits in the television would detect and implement the desired change. However, it was found that naturally occurring noises within the same frequencies could trigger the receiver as well, including toy xylophones.

By the late 1970s, when the BBC’s Ceefax teletext service was developed, commercial remotes needed to be more functional in order to use the service. Remotes were created with buttons for each numeral from zero to nine, controls for volume, channel, brightness and colour intensity as well as ability to switch from text to picture. In 1980, Viewstar Inc. created an infrared remote control whilst in 2006 Hillcrest Labs created the Loop Pointer which used radio waves, an antenna and motion control technology to control televisions with natural gestures. Some manufacturers also decided to use Bluetooth which, like the Loop Pointer, also did not require a direct line of sight, and had a larger range. Remotes are now largely wireless, using reflective infrared light.

Why Replace the TV Remote?

There can be any number of reasons why a remote has stopped working. Some are listed below:

· Shock Absorption Failure: whether they are frequently falling from the couch or table onto the hard surface of a floor or being thrown across a room onto the couch, TV remotes are quite durable, can handle the occasional fall and can absorb shock very well. However, prolonged rough usage will eventually shake and damage the inner mechanisms to the point where the remote is no longer usable.

· Moisture: If a drink is spilled near or on the remote, usually a quick wipe with a towel is enough to save it. However, excessive moisture inside the remote, particularly in the battery case can disrupt normal remote functions.

· Excessive use of buttons: constant channel surfing and generally pressing the buttons too much can, over time, cause the buttons to come undone or simply stop working.

· Break down of infrared signal mechanism: when the signal mechanism no longer works, which can happen over time, it is impossible for the remote to communicate with the television.

Types of Replacement TV Remotes

Buying a replacement remote control is usually cheaper and more convenient than paying for the remote control to be fixed. Whilst remotes available for televisions and entertainment systems are virtually identical across manufacturers, there are several categories under which TV remotes can fall:

· Dedicated TV Remote: also called a standard TV remote, it is specific to the television purchased. It may not be possible to achieve the same functionality with another type of remote for such televisions, and the remote will often need to be set-up and synced with the TV once bought.

· Manufacturer TV Remote: Whilst also specific to a particular type of television, these remotes work on multiple electronic devices as long as they are constructed by the same manufacturer. It is more versatile than a dedicated TV remote as it can be used on a home theatre system, music system and a television, with the appropriate buttons to control each manufacturer device well.

· Universal TV Remote: Offered by many popular electronic brands, these remotes work on any electronic device, once the circuit board databases have been integrated. A code manual will be needed to set up the remote control system for all the devices the remote will be used for. Whilst universal remote controls are widely manufactured, they vary hugely in terms of quality, so scrupulousness is encouraged.

· Learning TV Remote: These remote controls learn all of the codes from a previous or existing remote control, which means it does not need to be reprogrammed. Advanced technology has meant that users simply have to point the old and replacement remotes at each other and, following a user’s manual, enter specific commands to transfer the codes. They work better than universal remotes as it is less dependent on humans, taking away any chance of human programming errors.

· Programmable TV remote: the user can create macros that sequence how a collection of electronic devices operate, which means users can programme the remote to turn on a specific device after another specific device, simply at the touch of a predetermined sequence of buttons or keys.

How to Buy Replacement TV Remotes on eBay

When buying replacement TV remotes on eBay, either type in the words ‘TV remote’ or ‘TV remote control’ including the brand/model name of the TV in question (if relevant), into the search bar at the top of the screen. Alternatively, follow these simple steps to search by category:

· The ‘Shop by category’ option is a drop-down menu near the logo. Go to Electronics, then Accessories, and finally Remote Controls to browse the listings.

· If needed, narrow down the listings by Format, Condition, Price and Item Location.

· Listings can also be filtered to show ‘Auction’ or ‘Buy It Now’ options.

· Replacement TV remotes can also be bought through eBay’s recommended deals section. Go to Electronics, then Home Entertainment and browse the deals. Scroll down toAV Accessories for most relevant results. Deals may vary according to available listings so not all remotes will be available.

· Before making a final purchase, ensure the remote is compatible with the television it will be used on by reading all specifications provided by the seller and cross-referencing it with the television specifications (usually found in the user’s manual, but may also be found on the manufacturer’s website).


With eBay’s large range of TV remote controls, the crisis of a broken TV remote can be quickly solved. Buying a replacement TV remote online is easy once all specifications have been understood; ensuring the remote works well with the TV, is harmonious with the user’s needs, and will last for a long time.

Moreover, understanding the different types of TV remote controls available can help enhance the television experience to a higher degree than was possible with the old remote as users can tailor their purchase to their specific television viewing needs.

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