One of the lesser appreciated features on an Android device is the IR blaster. This allows you to do a bunch of things, but most notably it’s used to control your TV. There are a variety of apps that are capable of this, but because of the number of TVs and set ups out there, you may be having trouble finding a remote that works for you. Here, we round up the best TV remote apps for Android and at least one of these should work for you.
[Price: Free / $6.99]
Smart IR Remote is a go-to option for a lot of folks, despite how expensive it is comparatively speaking. It boasts support for over 900,000 devices and more is added on a frequent basis. What makes this remote interesting is that it’s not just for televisions. You can also control AC or Heating appliances, DSLR cameras, video game consoles, smart home equipment, set top boxes, and more, which a dedicated layout of controls for each category depending on what it is. It works quite well as long as your device is compatible and especially if you have a lot of smart devices.
Google has spent much of the last few years perfecting the art of playing video, music, and other media on your device and then being able to cast (stream) it to your television. You’ll need a Chromecast or Chromecast Audio device in order to use the service, but there are a ton of apps that can take advantage of it. If you subscribe to a bunch of streaming services, chances are at least some of them will be compatible and it’ll be like you’re holding your cable box and remote in the same hand. The only downside is that the Chromecast hardware will cost you a little more money than just an app would.
The official Roku app is an excellent app for anyone who owns a Roku. It allows you to queue up video content from your Roku channels and also acts as a remote control, allowing you to do things like rewind, fast forward, and more. It won’t control you TV like most remote apps, but if the volume is at the right level then there really isn’t much on your actual TV that you need to control. If you have a Roku or you’re thinking of getting one, you should also have this.
[Price: Free / $4.82]
SURE Universal Remote has been making a name for itself over the last year as a very solid option in the remote apps department. Like Anymote, this one has support for more than just televisions which works great if you have multiple smart devices in your home. You can also use it with Smart TVs to stream things like photos and videos directly from your device to the TV. You can use the IR blaster on your device or WiFi to control things (assuming those things connect to WiFi) and you can try it out before buying the full version.
Twinone IR Remote is an app specifically for controlling things through your IR blaster. It features a simple design that is both colorful and easy to read for quick remote work. It should work on most televisions and set top boxes. It also supports a few additional IR devices that don’t fit into those categories. For now, the only caveat is that this is ad supported and there isn’t a paid version on the market at the time of this writing to get rid of them. However, the developers have stated that they are working on that. Until then, at least, it’s entirely free with no in-app purchases.
[Price: Free / $3.99]
Unified Remote is unique in that it’s used to control your computer. It has support for PC, Mac, and Linux and comes pre-loaded with support for a ton of functionality including a remote so you can control things, a mouse and keyboard so you can type and click things, and there is even screen mirroring included. This is great for those with HTPC set ups, Raspberry Pi devices, and Arduino Yun devices. The free version includes 18 free remotes and most of the features with the paid version has over 90 remotes, NFC support, Android Wear support, and more.
The official Xbox app is a lot like the official Roku app or the Google Cast app. You’ll be able to interact with your Xbox device and do things like send messages on Xbox Live, check out the activity feed of your friends and, of course, you can also control your Xbox. The remote will allow you to play and pause content, move around the screen, make selections, and you can even interact with some game content. It’s virtually useless if you don’t own an Xbox, but practically mandatory if you do.
[Price: Free / $3.59]
Yatse is a remote application for Kodi (formerly known as XBMC). It will allow you to control Kodi, pause and play stuff, change your volume, and move around the interface as you see fit. You can also download stuff to your device for offline viewing, use it on Android Wear, and save your device configurations to the cloud for backup. There are even Muzei and DashClock extensions if you use those. It’s a great app and one of the few competent remote apps for those who use Kodi.
As we all know, many manufacturers have been releasing smart TVs. Those TVs are WiFi capable and many of them have specific remote apps that work for them. For instance, if you have an LG smart TV, you may want to try the LG TV Remote (linked below). It has features specific to LG smart TVs. There are others for brands like Vizio, Samsung, and many others. The advantage to using these is that it’s all done over WiFi instead of an IR blaster and that makes it a little more reliable, stable, and helps it work more frequently. They’ll also work if your device doesn’t have an IR blaster to speak of. The LG TV Remote app is can be found using the button below. You may have to search for your brand to find them. Here is one for Samsung TVs Here is one for Vizio TVs.
In some cases, the best answer is the one you already have. Many devices have remote apps that can be used free of charge. They’re generally light on features but work more than half of the time. If they work, you might actually like them and won’t need to download anything different. On top of that, there is a chance that the OEM specific remote apps include functionality that a third party won’t have based on the individual hardware of that device. It’s not always the case, but sometimes the bloatware is the better option and it’s worth a shot before spending any money on something different.