I have been wondering how to control my TV using Alexa after realising I have far too many (7) TV-related remotes in my living room. This dilemma has led me to explore the cheapest methods, including the one described in this article, to control non-smart TVs & smart TVs using Alexa.
During my research, I realised the easiest option would be to use an “IR Blaster” to learn my TV remote buttons. Infrared blasters emulate an infrared remote control to control a device that is usually controlled only by key presses or buttons.
I decided on Broadlink’s RM Mini 3 to act as the communication link and sit between my TV (IR) & Alexa (Wi-Fi). The Broadlink RM Mini 3 supports over 80,000 IR controlled devices so you can count on most TV remotes working with Alexa using my technique.
Broadlink RM Mini 3 Setup
If you haven’t already configured your RM Mini 3, please go ahead using our instructions via the following links:
Pair Broadlink RM Mini 3 with any TV Remote
Search for Brand of TV or Learn the Remote Options
In the ihc for EU app home screen, tap the Universal Remote (RM Mini 3) and then tap TV. You can either search for your brand of TV within the official library or tap the Can’t find my brand, learn the remote right away option located at the bottom of your screen.
The process for pairing your RM Mini 3 with your TV remote is very similar whichever you decide to use. For this How To and to keep a universal approach, I am going to setup my TV remote based on the learn the remote method.
Learning TV Remote Buttons
The Device name should be renamed to the brand of your TV Remote or similar. Select the 3 dots menu and tap Learn. You will be presented with a list of TV remote functions. You may wish to learn all of your TV remote IR codes or decide on a few which you are likely to use on a regular basis.
Tap the ON/OFF Learn button to get started. Point your TV remote towards the RM Mini 3 and press the Power or Standby button. You will be asked to test the results of the study. Tap Test to check the outcome on your TV.
You will be asked to confirm if the learnt button responded by tapping Yes or No. If your TV turned ON or OFF as expected, tap Yes. If your TV did not turn ON or OFF, tap No to re-learn the TV remote button IR code.
Repeat the above steps until all of your choice of TV remote buttons have been learnt by the RM Mini 3.
Learn Custom Buttons
For my TV remote, I couldn’t see an Electronic Programming Guide option so I tapped the Custom button.
If you wish to do the same, ignore the lack of third party voice control support, we will cover this and setup Alexa voice control in the next final step. Tap I know it, Tap the + icon and select your choice of function icon. I feel this icon best represents an EPG / TV Guide.
As before, point your TV remote towards the RM Mini 3 and press your EPG button. You should see a Learned success message.
Tap the function icon and see if your EPG appeared on your TV. You will be asked to confirm if this function is working properly by tapping Yes or No. If the EPG appeared on your TV, tap Yes. If the EPG did not appear, tap No to re-learn the TV remote button IR code.
Name your custom button ‘EPG’ and tap Confirm.
Test TV Remote Buttons
Just after all your TV remote buttons have been learnt, it is a good idea to test by tapping each remote icon and checking the TV is working as expected. If you need to double-tap the function icons or any failed, select the 3 dots menu and tap Learn. Tap Learn again for any remote icons that are not working correctly.
Create Scene in ihc for EU App for Custom Button
For Alexa to voice control the EPG function, we will need to create a scene. In the ihc for EU app home screen, tap Scene. Tap the + icon and select your choice of scene picture.
Next up, name the scene as ‘EPG’ and tap the + icon to add an appliance, tap your TV remote device name, then custom button and finally the EPG icon. I recommend adding a 1 second delay by tapping 0.0s and scrolling to 1.0 sec, tap OK and then Save.
Broadlink Alexa Commands
Install the Alexa App
Enable ihc for EU Skill
In the Alexa app, select the 3 lines menu and tap Skills & Games. Tap the search icon and type in “ihc for EU”. Tap Enable to use button and follow the steps to link your ihc for EU account with Alexa. Ignore the message regarding no voice controlled devices have been created.
Discover your TV Remote
Allow Alexa to Discover your new device (TV remote device name). If the Alexa app didn’t automatically discover your TV remote, navigate to the Devices section, scroll across at the top to the All Devices section. Tap the + icon, Add Device, scroll down to tap Other and finally Discover Devices.
Alexa Voice TV Commands
When I set out to control my TV with Alexa, I asked myself what TV commands would I find beneficial. For example:
“Alexa, Turn on TV”
“Alexa, Turn off TV”
“Alexa, Volume up on TV”
“Alexa, Volume down on TV”
“Alexa, Mute TV”
“Alexa, Unmute TV”
“Alexa, Next Channel on TV”
“Alexa, Previous Channel on TV”
“Alexa, Channel Up on TV”
“Alexa, Channel Down on TV”
“Alexa, Play on TV”
“Alexa, Pause on TV”
The great news is after the ihc for EU skill has been enabled and TV remote discovered, all of TV remote buttons learnt will work as Alexa voice commands straight away. To check the full list of available Alexa voice commands for your TV remote, head back to the ihc for EU app home screen, tap your TV remote device name and then select the voice icon .
Create Alexa Routine for Custom Button
If you created a custom button i.e. EPG. Head over to the Devices section of the Alexa app, scroll at the top across to the Scenes section. You should now see EPG.
To setup the Alexa voice control for a custom button, navigate back to the Alexa app home screen and tap the menu and then Routines.
Tap the + icon, name your routine e.g. EPG on TV. For When this happens, tap the + icon and then Voice. Type “TV Guide” and select Next. Tap the + icon to Add action, tap Smart Home and then Control Scene. Tap scene EPG.
Please note. If the scenes are not visible, swipe down to refresh the screen. Tap Next & Save.
Afterwards, when you say “Alexa, TV Guide” your EPG will be shown on your TV.
Congratulations you now have your very own Alexa controlled TV!
Do know how dirty your TV remote can get?
According to a study, commissioned by ScS, your TV remote can be up to 20 times dirtier than your toilet.
ScS researchers analysed multiple household objects for bacteria and mould.
The analysis revealed that the TV remote was the dirtiest item tested by a long shot, recording bacteria and yeast levels of 290 colony forming units per cm2, as well as ‘heavy’ mould.
Why not check out the following unique products to keep your TV remote clean: