If you own a home theatre system, then you most likely have about three to five remote controls strewn across your living room table, or hiding amongst the couch cushions, right? Or, if you are somewhat of a high-tech kinda person, you may have sprung for some sort of universal remote control that combines the functions of all the others into one singular handheld controller. Well, what if I told you that you could’ve replaced all those individual remote controls and even the universal remote just with your smart device? Pop up some popcorn, sit back and let me tell you how to use your phone as a home theatre remote control.

Why Use Your Phone as a Home Theatre Remote?

If you do have multiple remotes to control your home theatre system, you know how often you utter the phrase, “where is that (insert your favourite swear word) remote?” If you turn your smartphone into your universal remote, you will never have to look for the correct remote (or remember the correct combination of buttons to get the right remote to work with the right device) because like most people, you always have your phone handy and on your person. It saves time, energy and tons of frustration. Also, many of these apps offer a fully qwerty keyboard, so you can forget about having to waggle a remote around to enter passwords or input text again.

Add Infrared to Your Phone to Control Your Home Theatre

Most remote controls function using infrared (IR) to control their various associated devices. Most smartphones don’t come equipped with an IR emitter (although a few newer Android phones do have an IR blaster/emitter built right in that can communicate with your home theatre devices), so you will need an adapter if you prefer on going the IR route, and have an older Android or iPhone smartphone. These add-on devices range from dongles that plug into your phone’s headphone jack, to larger standalone devices for controlling everything in your whole network. Usually, these work by plugging it into your phone, downloading an accompanying app, and then adding your various home theatre components from a huge database featuring all the major brands and components.

Using Wi-Fi to Turn Phones into Home Theatre Remotes

If you don’t want the expense or hassle of using external hardware, you can totally rely on only apps and your wi-fi network to get the job done. The only con to this approach is you will likely need to download an app for each particular component in your home theatre setup, or find one app that can do it all. Most major cable companies indeed offer apps that can be paired with a variety of devices, so be on the lookout for what your own particular provider, um, provides. As well, many brands offer apps for controlling their TVs using a smartphone, which also control other devices in your home theatre setup. Depending on which devices you have for your home theatre, it is always a good idea to take a look at the associated app and see what it offers by way of remote control functionality.

Get in Harmony with Your Home Theatre Devices

Of course, if you do decide that you still want to have a universal remote handy, and also have the ability to use your phone, as well, then you have to look no further than the Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home bundle. The touchscreen remote lets you control not only your home theatre devices with ease, but also any connected device in your home with Logitech’s Harmony Home Control. And it works with 270,000 home entertainment and smart home devices from more than 6,000 brands. Plus, you can use Logitech’s mobile app on your smartphone and then use your device as a handy remote, too.

Alternately, you can just spring for the Harmony Hub, and just use your smart device to control all the connected devices in your home theatre system. It’s a pretty versatile system.

No matter what you are looking for, there are an incredible range of options for turning your phone into a complete home theatre remote control. If you spend just a little time finding the right product, app or apps for your system, you’ll ultimately spend less time messing with your home theatre or searching for lost remotes, and more time enjoying it. Don’t forget to check out what’s available online at the Best Buy home theatre section.

Steven Hill
I am an award-winning writer, freelance journalist and blogger who is a self-confessed geek and tech lover. When not playing the latest video games or salivating over the newest gadgets, I enjoy cooking for my family, mountain biking or snowboarding the deep powder on Whistler Mountain.


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