Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

How to program an RCA universal remote

Keeping up with the bevy of remotes in your audiovisual stockpile is never an easy feat, especially when you need three of them (or more) just to be able to watch a show on Netflix or a Blu-ray movie. Fortunately, there's an inexpensive way to consolidate your remote control count (and/or replace a lost remote), with an RCA universal remote. The company makes several universal remotes that you can program for use with TVs, DVD players, VCRs, cable boxes, and the latest streaming devices such as Apple TV and Roku.




5 minutes

What You Need

  • An RCA universal remote

  • Whatever AV components you plan on programming the remote for

  • Fresh batteries

RCA's universal remotes are simple to operate, reasonably priced, and a relative breeze to program. There are a couple of ways to set them up, depending on the remote you've bought. To help you through the programming process, we've put together this step-by-step guide.

amazon cloud cam review remotes scale
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Before you get started

The first thing you’re going to want to do is to make sure your universal remote has fresh batteries in it and that the components and devices you want to sync are properly hooked up. All set? Now it’s time to link your RCA universal remote control to the hardware. There’s more than one way to do that, and we’ve covered the easiest methods below.

The auto-program method

The easiest and fastest way to begin syncing your devices with your universal remote control is to with the auto program method.

Step 1: Turn on the component or device you want to set up, such as your TV, Blu-ray player, streaming device, etc. In this example, we’ll go with the TV.

Step 2: Press and release the TV button. The RCA universal remote’s On/Off button will light up and should remain lit.

Step 3: Now, simultaneously press and hold the TV button and the On/off button. The illuminated On/Off button will turn off. After a moment, however, it should turn back on.

Step 4: Release both buttons after the On/Off button relights. It should remain on.

Step 5: Now, press and release the Play button on your RCA remote. If the TV (or component that you are programming) does not turn off after five seconds, continue to hit the Play button every five seconds until the TV turns off. The remote is searching through possible codes for your TV.

Step 6: When the TV turns off, your remote has found the right code. Next, press and release the Reverse button. Wait to see if the TV turns back on, and press it every three seconds until it does.

Step 7: Press and release the Stop button once more to save the programming for the device in your remote’s memory.

Step 8: Repeat steps 1 through 7 for each additional device you wish to pair with your remote. Some RCA universal remotes can accommodate up to eight devices.

Be aware that you might cause issues with the syncing mechanism if you press incorrect buttons. There’s certainly a learning curve that involves some trial and error to set up your remote successfully. If you come to a point where you need to start over, all you’ll need to do is restart the hardware, take out the remote batteries, put them back in, and go through the steps once more.

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

Direct code programming

Your RCA remote will come with a special codebook that can help you input various codes for countless devices manually. Don’t worry if you lose the booklet or accidentally throw it away. We’ve got you covered. Every RCA universal remote code you’ll need is listed right here. To use this online tool, you may need to locate your RCA universal remote's "Revision Number" first. This number can be found on a sticker underneath the batteries. You'll have to remove the battery cover to get to it.

Now let's discuss how to program a current TV to your new RCA universal remote once you have the correct code. Again, these steps apply if you're setting up the remote with another device.

Step 1: Go to the TV section of the codebook, find your TV brand, and circle all the available codes.

Step 2: Power on your TV.

Step 3: Hold down the TV button on your universal remote until you see the power button light up.

Step 4: Keep holding the TV button while you input the first marked code. (Note that the codes will be four to five digits long, depending on the remote’s model.) One of the codes for a Samsung TV, for example, is 10812.

Step 5: Once you’ve entered the device code, keep holding the TV button. If the power button is still illuminated, that indicates you’ve entered the code correctly. Let go of the TV button and start testing device commands. If everything is working properly, commands for power, volume, and the menu should now control your TV.

Step 6: If the power button blinks four times, that signals that the device code you entered was incorrect. Go back through steps 2 to 4 for the next available code in the booklet.

If after all this, the RCA universal remote just isn’t doing it for you, there are several other universal remotes on the market you can try, such as the GE 33709, which is a great bare-bones option that is compatible with many AV devices.

Editors' Recommendations

Derek Malcolm
Derek Malcolm is a Toronto-based technology journalist, editor, and content specialist whose work has appeared in…
How we test TVs

Finding the right TV can be a real challenge. Unless you want to drag your La-Z-Boy to the local big-box retailer and ask to spend the night, it’s hard to get the hands-on time you need to make an educated decision. And even if you do, comparing the minutiae of dozens of similar sets can seem to be an impossible task. That’s what we’re here for.

At Digital Trends, we aim for our TV reviews to provide readers with insight into a product's technical performance as well as its usability. We go beyond specs and measurements by spending equal time on the user experience. For televisions, that means taking a close look at all the little touch points that, taken together, make the difference between a TV you can live with and a TV you’ll love. Here’s how we test TVs to provide readers with valuable, real-world insight before making that important purchasing decision, and to help qualify TVs for our list of the best TVs you can buy.
Unboxing and placement

Read more
How to mirror your smartphone or tablet on your TV
iPhone screen mirroring menu.

Modern smart TVs have come a long way and have all kinds of built-in abilities to deliver everything from our favorite streaming services and YouTube videos to video games, video conferencing, and even web browsing our big, bright TVs.

But with the millions of other things that our phones and tablets can do — photos and videos and apps abound — sometimes you just need to share it all on a big TV screen for everyone to see. How can you mirror from a phone or tablet to a TV, you ask? If you have the right gear, it's surprisingly easy. We'll walk you through all of the options, whether you own an iPhone, an Android device, or a computer.

Read more
How to pair or reset a Roku remote
Roku remote in hand with Roku home screen in. the background.

It you're a Roku user, you're undoubtedly aware of how important it is that your Roku remote is paired and working properly to make sure you've unfettered access and control over all your streaming services, be it Netflix, Hulu, Max, Disney Plus, The Roku Channel, and many more. But even as the Roku remote has gotten more sophisticated over the years — the latest versions offer voice control, finder features, are rechargeable, and some use wireless connections instead of IR sensors to work — sometimes things can go wrong and you might have to reconnect or even reset your Roku remote.

Fortunately, users can quickly pair their remotes with a few quick steps or reset them if it looks like something’s wrong. Here’s how to pair a Roku remote or how to reset it if need be.

Read more