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The ability to transform your smartphone into a TV remote is a very useful feature that means at least there will be one less remote cluttering up your coffee table

Certain Android handsets from 2013 have infrared blasters built-in – this means they can be direct substitutes for your TV remote. These include the HTC One (M8, M9); all LG smartphones from 2013 upwards (G2+, G Flex+, G Pro+, G4); Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and up, and Galaxy S4 and up. Other remote control substitutes work with universal remotes like Logitech Harmony, or media players and set-top boxes.

If you're looking for dedicated apps, take a look our top five: 

1. AnyMote – Smart TV Remote (Android) 

This universal remote works with Samsung, HTC and LG smartphones from 2014 upwards. It lets you control Samsung, Sharp, Panasonic, Xbox and few other smart AV devices. It works on handsets with built-in IR blasters (this excludes Sony and Huawei).

2. Harmony Control (Android; iOS) 

If you own any Logitech Harmony products, including a universal remote (compatible with over 270 000 devices), you need to download the app right now. It pairs with handsets running Android 4.0 and upwards, and iOS6+. You can also set shortcuts for up to 50 favourite channels.

3. Remote (iOS) 

If you have an Apple TV, download the Remote app and you don’t need the physical Apple remote again. Both work identically, but the app is more convenient as it uses your smartphone keyboard if you need to search for anything, example on Netflix, Youtube, etc.

4. Philips TV Remote (Windows Phone) 

If you have a Windows Phone handset, the only free remote available is a Philips one, which works with TVs from 2011 and upwards.

5. Kodi (Windows Phone, Android, iOS) 

Media player Kodi (formerly known as XBMC) connects to most platforms including Windows, Linux, OS X and Android. Once connected to your smart TV, you can view your multimedia content from external drives in a neat and easy-to-use interface. You can then control the player from your smartphone. It also includes the ability to add and manage your servers. You can find Kodi remotes on the Google Play Store, Apple App Store and Windows Phone store

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