We're not yet at the point where one device can rule over everything, but we're getting awfully close — especially when it comes to controlling your TV set. A multitude of apps can turn your Android phone into a remote control for your TV, PC, media center and a variety of smart appliances. Check out this collection of Android remote control apps for the couch potato in you. (Image Credit: Manaemedia/Shutterstock)
The Android TV Remote serves as a generic universal remote for Android TVs, providing basic D-Pad, touchpad and gamepad controls for navigating your Android TV's interface. The app also includes support for voice controls, as well as the use of your phone or tablet's virtual keyboard to input text. The app connects to your Android TV through your local network, or through Bluetooth.
Amazon's Fire TV set top box is a pretty neat video streaming device, especially if you're running with a Prime account. While the Fire TV box already comes with a WiFi-capable remote, you can take things to the next level with the Amazon Fire TV Remote app, which copies the functions of the handheld remote, turning your touchscreen into a navigation pane, complete with playback controls, a virtual keyboard, and voice command support.
AIR Remote Free for Apple TV turns your IR blaster-equipped Android device into a replacement for the Apple TV remote, mirroring both the classic button controls and the swipe view, with tap controls mirroring those on the remote hardware. AIR Remote Free does require an IR blaster, with support for the LG G3 as well as a range of Samsung and HTC models. The app is ad-supported, with a premium version removing advertisements.
The Peel Smart Remote app tries to do one better than other TV Remote apps by being both a replacement for a TV remote and a personalized TV guide app. Input your cable provider and/or zip code to bring up a list of upcoming broadcasts and mark your favorite shows, your guilty pleasures and shows you don't want to see. The app learns from your selections, creating personalized suggestions, as well as reminders of upcoming screentimes. Unfortunately, the remote control features require an IR blaster such as that on the Galaxy tablets, making it incompatible with numerous Android devices.
If you've got an IR blaster mounted inside your smartphone (HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S6, LG G3), try Anymote. This little app turns your blaster-equipped smartphone into a universal remote for a wide variety of appliances, from TVs, set top boxes, DVD players or just about any device that accepts IR commands. The app has a lot of cool features, such as the ability to create custom remotes that bring together commands from different devices into a single screen (for example, turning on your TV, DVD player and sound system on with a single tap) and the ability to create custom macros. The app can also function as a WiFi remote for a variety of devices and apps, such as Sonos speakers, the Kodi media center, or VLC.
You don't need a Xiaomi phone to take advantage of the Mi Remote app — which is good since Xiaomi phones aren't on sale in the US. But Mi Remote will work with almost any phone with a built-in IR blaster, whether you're packing a Samsung, HTC, or Huawei device. Mi Remote is a multi-purpose IR remote app, compatible with a wide variety of IR-controlled devices, such as TVs, air conditioners, set top boxes, DVRs, projectors, and digital cameras. You can even use the app as a remote control for smart TVs that accept commands over standard Wi-Fi protocols.
Universal TV Remote Control allows you to use your phone's IR blaster to send commands to more than 300 different brands and models of TVs, as well as commands to smart TVs through Wi-Fi. The app supports a wide variety of devices with traditional IR receivers, and the smart remote features don't even require an IR blaster on your phone — just a Wi-Fi connection to pair to your TV with.