Being able to control your TV with your Android smartphone can open a new level of convenience. Whether your remote battery life has run dry or you’re a fan of keeping everything accessible from a single device, learning how to your TV with your smartphone can come in handy. By default, most smartphones do not come with TV remote apps, even though the majority of devices are equipped with the necessary hardware.
It’s never explained very well by manufacturers whether smartphones will be able to control your TV or not, so this guide should help you to firstly determine whether it’s possible with your device and secondly show you how it all works.
Step 1 – Determine Whether your Smartphone is Supported
To be able to control a traditional TV, you’ll need to check whether your smartphone is equipped with the right hardware. The specific hardware needed is called an IR Blaster – you may not have heard of it before, but it’s essentially how traditional remotes communicate with TVs and other devices.
To find out whether your smartphone has an IR blaster, follow the steps provided below, making sure to find information for your specific device.
- Visit gsmarena.com on your smartphone
- Tap the search button (it looks like a red magnifying glass)
- Search for your device (For example, LG G5)
- Tap on the corresponding listing for your smartphone
- Once the page loads, scroll down and tap compare
- Scroll down again and search for the ‘Comms’ section
- Next to infrared port, look for whether it says yes or no
If it says yes, your device can control TVs, if it says no your device cannot control TVs without additional hardware.
There are many different hardware alternatives that can be controlled via WiFi, including the Chromecast, Roku TV or Amazon Fire TV Stick if your smartphone doesn’t have the IR blaster.
Step 2 – Download a TV App
If your device has an infrared port you can follow this step to setup your smartphone as an additional TV remote.
- First, visit the Google Play Store on your smartphone and search for IR TV Remote
- There are many different apps to choose from, but for this example we’ve chosen WaveSpark IR Universal TV Remote
- Once you’ve picked a remote app, tap the install button
If your device doesn’t have an IR blaster, a pop-up will appear to let you know. This is useful for double checking that your device has the necessary hardware – if the following pop-up doesn’t appear in WaveSpark you’re good to go.
Follow the setup below to tune your smartphone to your TV
- Turn on your TV
- On the WaveSpark app, tap the ‘television’ option
- Search for the manufacturer of your TV
- Tap on your manufacturer
- Next, test the different on-screen buttons
- If they do not work, tap the next button
- Keep testing the sets of buttons until you find a set that can control your TV
- At this point, tap the red ‘choose’ button
- Provide a name for your remote and tap Save
You’ll now have the ability to control your TV with your Android smartphone. You may have noticed that this application supports a variety of other electronic items, including cable boxes, DVD players, game consoles and audio equipment.
You can follow the steps above for most equipment – if your equipment came with a traditional IR remote, chances are a smartphone with an IR blaster and an app like WaveSpark will be all you’ll need.