If I HIDE My Cable Box Behind My TV, Will the Remote Control Work?

Remote control pointing at TV

If I HIDE my cable box, will the remote control work? This is one of the most frequently asked questions we get when people are looking to wall mount their cable box behind their wall-mounted TV.

In most cases, YES, but let’s break down the answer a bit more.

The Basics

Remote controls use one of three technologies to work with cable boxes or set-top boxes such as the Apple TV: Bluetooth, Radio Frequency (RF) and Infrared (IR). There are remotes that use Wi-Fi, but we won’t spend time on those for this.

What are the differences between the three? IR uses a light (that can’t be seen by the eye) that needs to be received by the device you’re trying to control. That’s why when a solid object is in the way, like a person, it doesn’t always work — always being the keyword there.

RF uses radio waves that get picked up by the receiver to function. Since radio waves don’t require a line of sight, you don’t need to be pointing your remote directly at the receiver, making for a more convenient experience.

Bluetooth uses, well, Bluetooth technology which itself is a form of radio wave technology. It’s a short-form way of communicating between two devices. You’re probably most familiar with it in your iPhone or Galaxy smartphone. 

Will My Remote Work (If I Hide My Cable Box)?

Again, YES, but there are a few things to consider.

If your remote uses Bluetooth or RF technology, you don’t have much to worry about as these don’t require line of sight. As long as you’re within range of your cable box, your remote should work fine. Most Bluetooth devices will work up to 30 feet away and RF can go a bit farther. 

For example, the Siri Remote for the Apple TV uses Bluetooth while various universal remote controls use RF. You can find out if your remote supports either of those technologies in the owner’s manual.

Now, If your remote uses IR, it will most likely work too! Read on; we’ve got answers.

So, why does the cable box still work when it's behind the TV? Well, in the case of infrared light, the light can bounce off of walls and other surfaces in the same way that a laser pointer's beam can bounce off of mirrors. 

Now, we can’t speak for everyone’s setup, but we’ve been doing this for 12 years now and don’t have many instances where the remote doesn’t work. However, we do have one suggestion before you purchase.

Test your setup before purchase! 

It’s as easy as holding your cable box behind your TV and having another person try to use the remote. Bonus tip: try to avoid the "brains" of the TV.

Now, if your IR remote doesn’t work, we recommend purchasing an IR extender. These small receivers usually connect via USB, which you can connect to the back of your TV or cable box. You can find them for around $10.

But you don’t have to just take our word for it; we have hundreds of five-star reviews posted across our website, Amazon and social media channels.

Amazon review for HIDEit Mounts talking about installation of the wall mount and how remote still works
"The cable box is barely visible... but the remote still works just fine."

Amazon review from customer for HIDEit Mounts detailing experience mounting and remote connection
The title "IR remote still works" is proof enough! 

Detailed Amazon review from HIDEit customer about the mount kit, install and remote functionality
Our mounts even impress the cable guy!

We find most of our customers don't experience any problems with their remote functionality, we've been around since 2009 and get reviews like these all of the time. We're happy to provide a simple solution to decluttering your TV space and HIDE-ing that cable box!