The Most common types of Remote Control

The Most common types of Remote Control


In the market today there are many types of Remote Controls but have you ever thought how do these remote control work or what technology is used. So, here in this article we will discuss about the most common remote control types & their technologies.

Infrared (IR) Technology     

Infrared or IR remotes use invisible infrared light. These infrared lights are modulated and set to a specific frequency to send unique bursts of IR light to a device. Then each infrared code is interpreted as a specific function by the IR receiver of the device being controlled and represents different commands, such as power on/off, volume up/down or channel up/down and many more.

Most electronic devices that are controlled by remote controls use infrared technology. This is common for Televisions, Satellite receivers, cable boxes, DVRs, home automation devices etc. Infrared technology is also used for controlling mechanical devices such as lifts and motors.


·    Infrared IR technology remote control circuit is simple for a standard remote control. So, the cost of IR technology is low as compared to other technologies.

·  Typically, battery life for an infrared remote control is much longer than the battery life of a radio frequency or Wi-Fi remote.

·  Simple infrared remote controls typically do not use proprietary technology. So, no licensing fee is required.


Radio Frequency (RF) Technology

Radio Frequency remote control is a handheld, wireless device that is used to control various electronic devices (Audio,Video and other electronic equipment) using radio frequency (RF) transmission. RF remotes are not required to be aimed to the desired device as happens in IR remotes.

RF technology is also being used widely these days however it is still less common as compared to IR remote controls or technology. This technology works on a modulated wave form in the radio frequency spectrum. Radio Frequency remote control transmits unique codes to a host device. Host device consists of a RF receiver which is capable of recognizing the RF signal from RF remote and then decodes those signals to perform a specific action. 

Radio Frequency remote controls are very commonly used for garage door openers, car alarm fobs, radio controlled toys. These are also being used in home entertainment devices, satellite receivers, Televisions, high end stereo systems & other remotely controllable devices.


·       Radio-frequency remotes have long range i.e. these can be used from a distance of approx 100 feet from the receiver however the range may differ as per the nature of the remote control (Bluetooth, wire etc.). Radio signals of RF remotes can go through walls hence it is not mandatory that device being controlled should be in same room  & can be controlled behind the cabinet.

·    RF Remote controls can work very well in outdoors also as radio frequency signals can travel very far. . If enough power, receiver and antenna is provided, RF signals can be sent many miles or kilometres.

Wired Remote Control Technology-

Wired Remote Controls are physically wired to the device for controlling. Wired remote control send command to the device through the attached wire. 


·      As wired remote control is controlled through wire which is attached to device so does not face communication blockage.

·    These can work with only one device as they are connected to device.

Wi-Fi Technology

Wi-Fi Remote Control transmits control signals over a Wi-Fi network. These remote controls use Radio frequency (RF) technology. The manufacturing of Wi-Fi remote control is more complex than other standard remotes. These remote should be logged on to Wi-Fi network as they use Wi-Fi protocol to function.


·      Wi-Fi remotes or even remote control like device like Smartphone can be connected & control to any device when they share the same Wi-Fi Network. Likewise any other device which has controlling feature in it can be matched with the desired device using the same network.

Voice Control Technology:

Voice control technology in remote controls is very less common and not much in use however the concept is being explored at the moment and one can’t deny the fact that we may witness a shift in future.

Voice control feature allows you to speak to your remote control and tell the destination device to work in a specific way provided the destination device must be compatible to it. Generally voice control remote control technology comes with devices who work over internet. One needs to activate the voice control in remote control and then simply speak into for any command.

Remote Control Sub-Category:

Dedicated or Single Device Remote Control: Dedicated or Single Device remote controls are programmed to control a specific device. For example if you purchase a television or a satellite receiver, you get a dedicated remote control with each that will work only on your TV or satellite receiver. These are very common and easy to use however these may be both, IR or RF in nature.

Universal Remote Control:

Today there are many multiple dedicated remote controls for multiple devices like Tv, set top box, home theatre, tv tuner etc & at times, it becomes a huge mess to handle them altogether. Universal remote controls, up to an extent, can reduce such mess & user may replace several remotes with a single universal remote control.

Universal remote controls can control two or more devices of same or different brands with single remote control. These universal remote controls are pre-programmed with infrared codes. Infrared codes of multiple devices/brands are stored or programmed in the memory (IC) of Universal remote controls which is why these work on different devices/brands. Generally it controls all major functions of the targeted device.

It is to note here that these remotes are not upgradable hence any new brand or device in the market may not be supported by it as it will not have IR codes of that device stored in the memory. Some universal remotes have a special ‘Learning’ feature which allows it to learn codes/functions of other remotes whose IR codes are not saved in its memory.

Learning Remote Control:

Learning remote controls use IR technology to function. In some cases, dedicated or single device remote controls also possess a ‘Learning’ feature. The main function of learning remote controls is to learn IR codes of the original remote. These remotes then store the codes in their memory & function accordingly later on. One must have the original remote control to get the codes exchanged between the two remotes. Once the codes are stored in the memory of learning remote control, it can function as the original one & thus a single dedicated universal remote with learning feature can work on 2 devices.

This article describes most common types of remote controls & their technologies however there may be few more technologies which are not being commonly used or being explored at the moment so will be upgraded once these are in trend. 


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