Universal remote controls via HDMI

Why new TVs do not need universal remote

With the advancement in technology, new TVs no longer require a universal remote. The conventional remote controls used to copy original remote infrared signals and extend them via cables and additional IR emitters and sensors. However, most modern TVs, AV receivers, and AV devices sync with each other through HDMI cables, making IR remotes redundant. This synchronization feature is known as HDMI-CEC or remote control pass-through. Additionally, certain TV and AV receiver remote controls are already universal, requiring no further configuration.

HDMI-CEC or Consumer Electronics Control, enables users to control the HDMI input device currently in use through their TV or AV receiver remote control. The CEC standard was introduced with HDMI 1.2a in 2013, though device manufacturers may implement standards at a later time. Therefore, users should check their specific model to see if it supports CEC. However, some inexpensive brands may have HDMI 1.2a and later inputs but may lack the CEC feature or function consistency.

Some TVs have universal remote control out of the box. For example, Samsung TVs try to detect known HDMI CEC compatible devices at the initial installation and later when a new device is found. Then TV setup offers to test remote functions such as changing channels on a Foxtel box with a TV remote. If not, successful it would offer to learn a new device. For that you need an original device's remote control.

Other manufacturers may use different names for CEC

  • Hitachi - HDMI-CEC
  • LG - SimpLink
  • Mitsubishi - NetCommand
  • Panasonic - EZ-Sync, HDAVI, Viera Link
  • Philips - Fun-Link
  • Pioneer - Kuro Link
  • Samsung - Anynet, Anynet+
  • Sharp - Aquos Link
  • Sony - Bravia Sync, Bravia Link
  • Toshiba - CE-Link, Regza Link

Foxtel remote control as a universal one

Foxtel remote is already universal or sort of. Functionality depends on the TV model, and you also need to activate CEC in TV as well as Foxtel settings. That would allow turning the Box and TV together with the Foxtel remote and may control volume, channels etc.

To enable support for 'HDMI CEC' in Foxtel Now navigate to Settings via the cog icon in the top-right of the screen, then System settings on the right-hand side, select 'HDMI', enable 'HDMI CEC'.

Logitech remote controls

Although, to make a sequence of IR commands, for example to turn on a few devices at once you'd still need a complex remote control such as Logitech used to be. Logitech discontinued remotes in 2021. Here is the list of popular Logitech controls you still can get.

IncludedWorks withRRP
Harmony EliteRemote, Hub, 2 IR mini-blasters for the cabinetWiFi, Bluetooth, iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, Alexa450
Harmony CompanionRemote, Hub, IR mini-blaster for the cabinet250
Harmony HubHub, IR mini-blaster for the cabinet150
Harmony 650RemoteMac, PC90
Harmony 35050

Logitech Hub comes with the smartphone application which turns mobile or tablet into a universal remote. Set up to 50 channel favorites, or trigger multi-device activities - sequences of commands, even when you're away from home. Logitech works with all brands included Foxtel, Sonos, Apple TV, BOSE.

Setting up remote Logitech controls requires Mac or PC and the internet connection.