How to Program an RCA Universal Remote

Keeping tabs on all of your device remotes can be a nightmare, especially if your media room is outfitted with a ton of audio-video gear. We also can bet that you’ve dealt with the mighty hassle of trying to replace a lost or dog-chewed TV remote, cable box remote, DVD player remote, or even VCR remote once or twice in your life. Not fun, is it? If we’ve hit a nerve, it sounds like a universal remote would be a good bet for you and yours.

Fortunately, there’s an inexpensive way to consolidate your controller count (and/or replace a dearly departed TV remote), thanks to the folks at RCA. The brand produces a line of universal remotes that are simple to operate, reasonably priced, and a relative breeze to program. For the latter, we’re here to lend an extra helping hand in the process. Here’s a guide on how to program an RCA universal remote.

A step-by-step guide

The first thing you’re going to want to do is to make sure your new TV remote has batteries in it and 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 each method below.

Auto programming

  1. Turn on the component or device you want to set up, such as your TV or Blu-ray player. In this example, we’ll go with TV.
  2. Press and release the TV button. The remote’s On/Off button will light up and should remain lit.
  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.
  4. Release both buttons after the On/Off button relights. It should remain on.
  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.
  6. 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.
  7. Press and release the Stop button to save the programming for the device in your remote’s memory.
  8. Repeat steps 1-7 for each additional device you wish to pair with your remote.

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.

Direct code programming

The easiest and fastest way to begin syncing your devices with your universal remote control is to input auto codes automatically. Fortunately, 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

In the example below, we’ll discuss how to program a current TV to your new RCA universal remote with the correct code. Let’s get going. 

  1. Go to the TV section of the codebook, find your TV brand, and circle all the available codes.
  2. Power on your TV.
  3. Hold down the TV button on your universal remote until you see the power button light up. 
  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).
  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 like Power, Menu, and Volume Up/Down should now control your TV.
  6. If the Power button blinks four times, that signals that the device code you entered was incorrect. Go back through steps 2-4 for the next available code in the booklet.

Alternate options

If, after all this, the RCA universal remote just isn’t doing it for you, there are several other competent universal remotes on the market you can try, such as the GE 33709 universal remote, which is a great bare-bones option for most manufacturers. And if you have a little extra cash to spend, the best all-round universal remote, in our opinion, is the Logitech Harmony 665, which has plenty of programmable features.

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