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TV smartphone remote control
Guide: How to control a TV with your smartphone

By Rasmus Larsen (@flatpanels)
12 Jul 2011

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With Internet and network connectivity in TVs we have entered a new age where your Apple iPhone (iPod/iPad) or Google Android smartphone can act as a remote control. With your phone you can select channel, adjust volume and use the smartphone keyboard to search YouTube or Netflix.
In this guide we will help you get started.

Control your TV with your smartphone

In this guide we will tell you how to control your new flat panel TV with your smartphone. Why is that necessary? Because you often carry your phone and the remote control is never around. And more importantly because it lets you use the phone’s keyboard to type in text to YouTube, Netflix or other internet services and Apps.

Control your TV with your smartphone – especially handy if you want to use the Smart TV features
Control your TV with your smartphone – especially handy if you want to use the Smart TV features

Not all TVs support remote controlling via smartphones but more and more new TVs do – even Blu-ray players. If you have a 2010 mid-range TV or up, there is a good chance that you ca. If you have a 2011 model there is an even better chance. Look up your specific TV model on the manufacturer’s website to check.

Currently these manufacturers support smartphone remote controlling:
  • Samsung
  • LG
  • Sony
  • Panasonic
  • Philips
  • Vizio (coming soon)

    Sony’s smartphone App controls the TV with Apple and Android devices
    Sony’s smartphone App controls the TV with Apple and Android devices

    Step-by-step setup wizard

    Here is a step-by-step guide to get you started:
    1. Home network
      First of all you need a wireless home network. If you do not have a wireless router, buy one in your local store. Preferably with the fast “N” wireless standard.
    2. TV on network
      Now you need to connect your TV to the home network - either wirelessly or via cable.
      • Cable
        If you plan to connect you TV with cable setup is easy. You just need to plug in the Ethernet cable and you are ready.
      • Wi-Fi
        Wi-Fi requires you to go through a few setup step. Few TVs come with integrated Wi-Fi so you need a USB Wi-Fi dongle – often from your TV manufacturer. Once you have it you need to go through the network setup menu steps in the TV menu and find your own local wireless network. Enter the password and you should be ready.
    3. Download App
      Now you need to download the Remote App for your Apple or Android smartphone. Depending on your TV you need to download a specific App. See the table below for names and links.
    4. Pair TV and phone
      Before you can start using your smartphone you need to pair the TV and the phone. Open the App and follow the instructions on the screen. Sometimes you need to enter the TV menu and find a remote control setup option.
    5. Enjoy
      You are now ready to control your TV with iOs or Android devices.

    Samsung’s iPhone App has a keyboard for searching through YouTube and Netflix
    Samsung’s iPhone App has a keyboard for searching through YouTube and Netflix

    SamsungYesYesSamsung Remote2010 & 2011 TV with AllShare
    LGYesYesLG TV Remote2011 TVs with Smart TV
    SonyYesYesMedia Remote2011 TVs with network
    PanasonicYesYesVIERA remote2011 TV with Viera Connect
    PhilipsYesYesPhilips MyRemote2010 & 2011 TVs with NET TV

    Enjoy. Share your experiences with smartphone remote controlling in the comments below.


    There are some limitations, however. The most important one is the lack of wake-on-lan compatibility in most TVs. Basically this means that you cannot turn on the TV with the smartphone – only navigate and turn the TV off.

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