How to program an RCA universal remote

Our quick-and-easy guide to programming an RCA universal remote

how to program an rca universal remote remotes getty
David Becker/Getty Images

If you’re sick of trying to locate the different remotes for every piece of gear in your home theater arsenal, RCA’s universal remotes are perfect for reducing the clutter on your coffee table and inside your couch cushions.

For this guide, we’ll be using the automatic code search method, which allows you to pair devices in a relatively quick and painless manner. Before you start, do be aware that it does occasionally take some trial and error, so set aside a little time and remember to be patient.

First, grab your new remote and make sure it has batteries in it and that the components and devices you want to be synced are all hooked up. If not, plug everything in just how you want it. There’s nothing worse than trying to set up a universal remote only to realize your TV and receiver — or another component — simply aren’t connected.

Now that everything is hooked up, get ready to program your remote control. Here’s a step-by-step guide to take control of everything with that single RCA device:

  1. Turn on the component or device that you want to set up.
  2. Press and release the button that corresponds with the component that you’re programming. For example, if you want the remote to control the TV or Blu-ray player, hit and release the TV button or Blu-ray button. The on/off button will light up and should remain lit.
  3. Now, simultaneously press and hold the component button and the on/off button. The illuminated on/off button will turn off. Then it should turn back on.
  4. Release both buttons after the on/off button relights. It should remain on.
  5. Now, press and release the play button on the remote. If the component that you’re programming does not turn off after 5 seconds, continue to hit the play button every five seconds until the component turns off.
  6. Next press and release the reverse button. Wait to see if the component turns back on, and press it every three seconds until it does.
  7. Press and release the stop button to save the programming for the device in the remote’s memory.
  8. Repeat steps 1-7 for each additional device you wish to program.

If you don’t press the buttons correctly, you might mess up the syncing process. This is the main reason why it might take some trial and error to get the remote set up.

RCA’s remotes are great if you’re looking for something simple and functional, but sometimes you’re looking for something more — something that can act as the total command center for your living room and even your smart home. If that sounds more your speed, be sure to check out our list of the best universal remotes available.

Home Theater

Cheer for your favorite NCAA team and Xfinity will respond with matching lights

Screaming at your favorite team just became a lot more rewarding thanks to Comcast's Xfinity voice remote and some special NCAA commands that set your smart lightbulbs to your favorite team's colors.
Home Theater

How to connect your Roku device to your hotel room’s TV

Staying at a hotel, but can't bear to be parted from your favorite streaming shows and movies? Take them with you with our complete guide to using your Roku on the road when staying at a hotel.
Home Theater

The best Dolby Atmos movies for your home theater sound as good as they look

If you've got your hands on some sweet Dolby Atmos gear, the next step is to find films that take advantage of it. These are our picks in several genres for the best Dolby Atmos movies currently available on Blu-ray and streaming services.
Movies & TV

No TV? No problem. Here's how to watch the Final Four online

Whether you want to watch the Big Dance on your phone or on your smart TV, we have the lowdown on all the ways to watch March Madness you can handle. Grab your foam finger and some nachos.
Home Theater

As Apple takes on Netflix, is YouTube ditching its original content strategy?

On the same day as Apple's video subscription service launch, Google is denying reports that YouTube is reportedly stepping away from its planned big-budget original content ambitions.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Home Theater

Yesterday’s Apple event was a whiplash-inducing parade of copycat services

Apple showed off a massive barrage of news, streaming, and gaming bundles at its Showtime event aimed at boosting its services and adding more revenue. But while the services are big on celebrities, they appear short on innovation.
Home Theater

Banish the bunny ears (and monthly bills) with these excellent HD antennas

When transitioning away from cable and satellite, finding the best HDTV antenna for your area can be tricky. To aid in your cord-cutting quest, we've compiled our picks of the best indoor HDTV antennas you can buy.
Home Theater

Still listening on tinny, muffled TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.
Home Theater

Any night can be a night at the movies with the best home theater projectors

Are you sick and tired of those cumbersome big screen TVs? Don’t want to spend big for a huge TV? These home theater projectors will bring you that big screen experience without breaking the bank.
Home Theater

Throw away those EarPods -- we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our favorites, with all the features you want.
Home Theater

5 gorgeous turntables that spin stacks of wax in style for less than $500

Vinyl records are awesome, but they're also finicky. To get the best out of your stacks of wax, it's best to play them on a quality turntable. Here are the best turntables to be had for under $500.
Home Theater

Apple’s show time event: A whiplash-inducing bundle of copycat services

Apple unleashed a barrage of news, streaming, and gaming bundles at its latest event aimed at boosting its services and adding more revenue. But while the services are big on celebrities, they appear short on innovation.
Home Theater

All three of LG’s new soundbars will be available before summer

LG finally announced pricing and availability to the three soundbars it announced at CES 2019. They will come out in April or May of this year (depending on the model) and will retail between $400 and $1,300.