Kit Guide: fixing TV remote controls

If your TV remote isn't working, there are a few different things you can try to get it sorted.

Checking the batteries


The first thing to check if your remote isn't working is the batteries. Just pop out the old ones, and swap in some new ones, then try the remote again.

Cleaning the IR blaster and receiver


Most remote controls use infrared, and it needs a direct line between the remote, and the receiver on your TV. Check the remote first to make sure nothing is blocking the end of it, and clean any dirt or grime.

Check with the TV manual where the receiver is, and make sure nothing's in the way. Some TVs might let you plug in a receiver, which you can put somewhere more convenient.

Reprogramming your remote control


Most set-top box remote controls, like the ones from Sky or Virgin Media, can also be used to control your TV. To get it set up, you normally need to type in a remote code, which you can find in the manual or online.

Universal controls work the same way, and you'll get a book with lots of different codes for different brands of TV. If your remote stops working, try going through the remote codes to reprogram it, and get it working again.

Pairing a remote to the TV


Some controls, like the Sky Q Touch remote or Virgin Media's V6 remote, connect using Bluetooth and other radio signals, instead of using infrared. These don't need to be pointed directly at your kit, but they do need to be 'paired' with it

Normally this will be done automatically when you set it up, but if you get any new or replacement control, you will need to pair it up with your kit again.

If you do get a new one, check with your provider to see the pairing instructions.

Check if the remote is broken


For infrared remotes, you can test if it is working by using your smartphone camera. The signals can't be seen by the human eye, but can be seen by a digital camera.


Open the camera app on your phone.


Point it at the end of your remote.


Press any button on the remote.


On your camera, you should see the infrared sender lighting up.

If you can see the remote working, then there might be a problem with your other kit, and you should see about getting it repaired. If the remote isn't working, and you've checked other things like the batteries, you'll need to order a new one.

Hopefully that's everything you need to know, but if you need any extra help, you can get in touch with our Team Knowhow Experts here.

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