The 10 Best iOS and Android Home Theater Remote Control Apps

Take control of your home theater system with your smartphone or tablet

The ability to make phone calls has become just an afterthought with today's cell phones. They have evolved into smartphones used for a variety of tasks. You can even use them as a remote control for TVs, home theater, and home automation systems. Check out some interesting remote control apps that make operating your home theater system easier.

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Logitech Remote Harmony Control App

Logitech Remote Control App
What We Like
  • Thorough technical support.

  • Frequently updated to support new devices.

  • Online documentation.

What We Don't Like
  • Learning curve.

  • Setup takes time.

  • May have more features than you need.

Logitech combines IR and WiFi control hardware with iOS and Android Apps to control multiple home theater components as well as other smart home devices, such as lights, thermostats, and locks. You can control devices individually or combine them into "activities." For example, you can program the app to "Watch TV." Working through compatible Harmony Remote products, it will turn on the TV and Blu-ray disc player, turn off the lights, and close the blinds.

The apps have access to the Harmony Remote Control Database, which includes codes for over 270,000+ consumer electronics, home theater, and smart home devices.

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Using Alexa with a TV

Photo from Amazon

What We Like
  • Easy integration with third-party devices.

  • Answers questions about weather, traffic, and more.

  • User-friendly.

What We Don't Like
  • Takes trial-and-error to learn the appropriate voice commands.

  • Not as smart as Google Assistant.

  • Can lag.

The Alexa app is one of the most versatile remote apps available. Once downloaded to either an iOS or Android phone, you can link it to Amazon's Echo (and some third party) devices (such as select Logitech Harmony Remotes ) and from there, just enable any one of several Alexa skills. Using voice commands, you can easily manage content and some basic control features for compatible TVs, home theater receivers, multi-room audio systems, environmental devices, locks, and more.

Some of the brands and products that "Works with Alexa" include Sonos, Onkyo, and Pioneer Home Theater Receivers, Denon HEOS and DTS Play-Fi wireless multi-room audio platforms, select Logitech remote controls, Samsung's Smart Things, and more.

If you have a device that is Alexa-compatible, take advantage of the Alexa App.

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Google Assistant

Google Home Works With Onkyo Home Theater Receivers

Onkyo USA

What We Like
  • Answers questions using Google Knowledge Graph.

  • Works with many mobile devices.

  • Easy setup.

What We Don't Like
  • Some limitations.

  • Clunky app interface.

  • Ad heavy.

The Google Assistant app allows your voice to control and manage content access and basic control features on home theater devices that have Chromecast Built-in or are compatible with Google Assistant.

In addition, Google Assistant can be used to operate a growing number of smart home hubs and devices, including lights, switches, plugs, locks, camera, and air-conditioners and heating systems. The Google Assistant app is available for both Android and iOS.

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Roku Mobile App

Roku Mobile App


What We Like
  • Feature rich.

  • Control multiple Roku TVs and devices.

  • Voice control.

What We Don't Like
  • Keyboard randomly disappears.

  • Android app glitchy.

  • Headphone option sometimes disconnects.

With the proliferation of Roku media streaming sticks, boxes, and TVs with Roku features built-in, the free Roku Mobile is the perfect companion to have on your iOS or Android phone.

In addition to standard remote control features, the Roku Mobile app provides a voice control option as well as tap-able control icons. The Roku Mobile Apps sees all the apps you have installed on your Roku device, and you can also use it to add more.

The Roku Mobile App also allows your share music, video, and photo content from your phone with your Roku device, as well as providing a private listening mode. Plug in a set of earphones to your smartphone, and you can listen to sound from your favorite apps without disturbing others.

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SURE Universal Smart TV Remote Control

SURE Universal Smart TV Remote Control
What We Like
  • Extremely easy to set up.

  • Frequent updates.

  • Adequate support.

What We Don't Like
  • Not compatible with all devices.

  • Must restart the app if there's a glitch.

  • May forget panel settings.

With IR and Wi-Fi support, Sure Remote can control many home theater and smart home devices. For added flexibility, Sure Remote also supports Alexa Voice control.

Also, DLNA networking allows you to browse audio and video files on your smartphone, computer, or NAS and stream audio, video, and still image content to smart TVs and other media playback devices, such as Roku. You can even use Sure Remote to copy files from shared folders back and forth between your network devices and your smartphone.

The user interface may not be as colorful and many apps, with the Sure logo on almost every page, but the tap response is speedy and easy to use. Sure Remote is freely available for both iOS and Android smartphones but does display periodic ad, with in-app purchase support.

It is also important to note that your phone must have an IR blaster built-in to control IR-only devices.

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Peel Remote

Peel Smart Remote
What We Like
  • Personalized viewing suggestions.

  • Stream YouTube content.

  • Visual guide.

What We Don't Like
  • Annoying lock screen.

  • Difficult to uninstall.

  • Only for Samsung.

The Peel Remote app uses either IR or Wi-Fi to control devices. It can control most home theater components, such as TVs, DVD/Blu-ray Disc players, streaming media players (Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast), as well as select smart home appliances, such as air conditions and heaters.

You can also enter your antenna, cable, or satellite service and Peel will provide you with local channel listings, along with viewing recommendations, including "trending now" and "recently watched" programs. Peel also provides listings for several popular streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu.

However, the downside is that Peel sprinkles in periodic Ads. Since the app is free, that is the price you pay to use it.

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Onkyo Remote Control Apps

Onkyo Remote Control App
What We Like
  • Offers more functionality than the factory Onkyo remote.

  • Frequent updates.

  • Feature rich.

What We Don't Like
  • Limited device compatibility.

  • Interface is attractive but poorly designed.

  • Installation can be confusing.

Owners of Onkyo 2009-2016 network home theater receivers can use the Onkyo Remote (Android) or Remote 3 (iOS) app, while owners of Onkyo home theater models released after 2016 need to use the Onkyo Controller App for iOS or Android.

The apps provide access to a variety of functions on select Onkyo home theater products (such as home theater receivers), including volume, input selection, radio tuning, navigating internet radio and streaming services, and more. The apps can also control Blu-ray disc players and TVs connected to an Onkyo network receiver via HDMI-CEC.

You can use the app to stream music from your smartphone to a compatible Onkyo home theater receiver or other components, as well as stream audio files from DLNA-compatible servers (such as a PC or NAS). Stream from the servers for listing on your smartphone or directly from the service to compatible home theater receivers or other components.

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Yamaha Network A/V Control App

Yamaha AV Controller App
What We Like
  • Supports more than a dozen languages.

  • Easy to navigate.

  • Ideal for music lovers.

What We Don't Like
  • Tiny volume control buttons.

  • Must regularly update firmware for it to continue working.

  • Limited compatibility.

If you have a home Wi-Fi network, this app for both iOS and Android allows users of select Yamaha home theater receivers to control basic functions such as input selection, volume, listening mode selection, zone power, and settings for connected Bluetooth devices.

The app also allows control of Internet Radio, FM/AM, and playback from a connected USB flash drive. The Music Play function also allows you to stream music from your phone to Yamaha Network receivers.

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Pioneer Electronics AV Remote Control Apps

Pioneer Electronics - IControlAV5
What We Like
  • Great app for audiophiles.

  • Easy to control and customize individual speaker settings.

  • Complete line of apps available.

What We Don't Like
  • Only supports Chromecast audio.

  • Doesn't save audio settings.

  • Can be buggy.

Pioneer offers a series of remote control apps that users to control select Pioneer home theater components (depending on model year). These apps not only provide primary control but can also aid you in setting all your audio and video parameters, including speaker setup, surround sound listening modes, and both audio and video processing.

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Control4 App

Control4 Remote Control App
What We Like
  • Works from long distances.

  • Intuitive.

  • Easy to personalize.

What We Don't Like
  • Complicated to set up.

  • Notoriously buggy.

  • Lags.

Here is an app that allows the user to control devices that have been integrated into a Control4 home automation system. Depending on what is part of the system, this app can control audio and video components, navigate and manage content access, as well as lighting, heating, air conditioning, and more.

The app is available for iPhone, iPod Touch, Fire tablets, Android devices, and even PCs, and Macs.

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