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Holding a 2016 Samsung TV remote control in your hands, you might be fooled into thinking that it’s pretty limited in its functionality. After all, it has only a handful of buttons—a far cry from the gigantic, overstuffed universal remotes most of us are familiar with.
What you might not know is that the remote has been painstakingly designed over dozens of iterations until it arrived in this simple, unassuming form.
The remote control fits perfectly in your hand. The smooth, slightly tacky surface ensures a good grip, and the little contours guide your thumb toward the right button so you don't have to look down.
But it’s not the feel of the remote that makes it so powerful. Samsung designers realized that the way we watch TV is changing. The traditional 0-9 number buttons have been cleared away for the needs of a search-driven culture that spends more time browsing Netflix than it does channel surfing.
Many functions that were once housed on the remote have been shifted to onscreen options, leveraging the powerful Samsung Smart Hub platform. You can also use the remote’s built-in microphone to simply speak some of the commands.
A New Universal Remote
Perhaps the remote’s most powerful function, however, is that of a universal remote. Forget everything you knew about typing “codes” into a remote so that it can control various devices. That was always a fussy process that most of us would like to forget.
Now, simply connect all of your HDMI devices, and the Samsung TV should recognize them automatically, like Apple TV or PlayStation 4. If it doesn’t, select a brand or model number. Your SUHD TV automatically labels each input and programs the remote accordingly. (You may need to point the Smart Remote to the component for it to learn the commands.)
With cable boxes, you’re asked to input your zip code and service provider so it can download a channel guide over the Internet.
Now, you can scroll through the inputs presented on the screen as colored tabs, and when you switch inputs–selecting, say, “Roku” or “Xbox One,” instead of “Video 4”–your remote will change what each of the 10 buttons (and 4-way touchpad) does to best control the component.
In other words, this ain’t your daddy’s universal remote.
It can handle infrared (IR), Wi-Fi, and some Bluetooth-based components, and the number of supported devices is growing.
Clear the clutter off the coffee table and simply use the Samsung smart remote to control it all.