Will TV Remote Work Through Glass? How Does TV Remote Works?

I normally get this question from my customers when they’re planning on getting a glass cabinet where they will have the TV placed and locked.

When that happens, they tend to worry if their TV remote will still function as it used to since there will now be a glass in-between the TV and the remote.

I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what brought you here. No worries, as I will take you through all you need if the TV remote works through glass.

So the big question is, will TV remote work through glass? Though a few factors won’t do the remote work through glass, in most cases, a TV remote will work through glass without any struggle.

It will work very well through glass if it happens to be in its normal state. Some people wouldn’t care about this, though, since they’ve got no issue opening the cabinet doors if the remote doesn’t work through the glass.

So if you happen to be someone who cares to know, then I entreat you to continue reading.

To avoid interruption by the glass, other people also tend to make some small holes in the glass.

And if making those holes seems impossible, they then stick to buying those with already-made holes. With that, the chances of interruption by the glass are minimized.

How Does the TV Remote Work?

I used to classify the TV remote and most other remotes as a lazy tools since you wouldn’t have to walk to the device but sit in your comfort zone and take charge.

As we already know, the TV remote is a means one can communicate with or control the television set without having to walk to it.

What happens is the TV remote sends signals in a language that the TV understands.

And the TV set upon receiving the instruction, take action. These instructions are sent using a technology known as Infrared light or signals.

So, in this case, the remote is called the transmitter since it transmits the message or instruction via the infrared. And the TV is called the receiver, for receiving sent signals.

How Does the TV Remote Works
How Does the TV Remote Work

On the top of the remote, there’s a bulb-like plastic called the LED, which emits these infrared signals.

And on the front part of the TV, there’s an infrared light detector, which receives and converts the infrared signal to an electric signal.

The buttons on the TV remote are all connected to a microprocessor through an electronic circuit.

So anytime a button is pressed on the TV remote, the connected microprocessor will generate a binary signal which happens to be associated with the pressed button.

The TV then picks up the signal through the infrared light of the detector. And since the TV is also programmed to understand these binary codes or signals, it then takes the required action as requested by the TV remote.

How Does TV Remote Work Through Glass

To answer this question, I will make it clear again that it is not a 100 guarantee for a TV remote to work through glass.

It depends on many factors we will be looking out for here. But in most cases, as stated earlier, they work through glass.

For a TV remote to work through glass, it depends on these;

  • The range of wavelength
  • The type and composition of the glass material

The range of wavelength:

Regarding how the TV remotes work, infrared light or signal is the main technology used.

In short, we can say Infrared light is electromagnetic waves with longer wavelengths than visible lights.

When visible light is passed through a glass, it easily finds its way through, unlike infrared, which a small proportion finds its way through, with many being blocked as the glass’s electrons block their energy.

The infrared range is grouped into three ranges, that is Near Infrared (short wave), Mid-Wave Infrared (medium wave), and Far-Infrared (long-wave infrared).

The near-infrared can pass through most glasses with much ease. Whiles the mid-wave infrared and the far-infrared are blocked by most glasses.

Hence, if the TV remote uses Near-infrared (which is mostly the case), there’s a higher chance for the TV remote to work through the given glass.

The type and composition of the glass material

The TV remote having Near-infrared doesn’t also guarantee success. The type and composition factor of the glass is of much relevance too.

If the glass in question is transparent, the TV remote will work perfectly through it.

Impurities in the glass composition can also cause the infrared of the remote to be blocked by the glass.

Also, the arrangement of the glass material will determine how the infrared light will react with it, as to pass through or get blocked or reflected.

What can interfere with the TV remote?

Do you find yourself in a situation where you feel like throwing the TV remote to the wall and don’t mind even if it spoils it?

Worry less, as I will take you through what could be the cause and how best you can help yourself out without throwing it so hard against the wall.

Remote interference can be in two main forms, that is;

  • Conflict with other devices
  • Not working or responding

Conflict with other devices

This normally happens when the devices in question use the same Infrared (IR) codes. So the best option is to get a remote for each device and reprogram them to fit for themselves only.

If you’re not ready or unable to reprogram the remotes, then the other best shot is to cover the infrared light detector or sensor of the device you’re not using now with an opaque substance.

And with that, the infrared light won’t be able to transmit any message through to the sensor. And when you want to use the other one, you just swap the opaque substance for the other one.

No working or responding

It’s very frustrating when you’ve got a TV remote in your hand but still have to walk to the TV set when you want to change a channel or increase a volume.

And this only happens when the TV remote seems not to be working or has been interfered with. The first thing you’d want to check is the battery if they’re dead or not.

And also, check if they’re been placed well and not turned upside down. You must also check to see if the remote is transmitting infrared signals.

You’re wondering how you will be able to see that, right? You’re right; infrared light or signals can’t be seen with the eye.

But it can be seen with the camera, so try using a camera to check if it is emitting IR.

Below is a video to help you check that on your own;

After knowing the TV remote is transmitting infrared signals, you’ll have to check if the receiver is also receiving the signals.

The infrared light detector or sensor normally has a blinking light indicating its receiving signals; make sure you see that blinking light.

You must also check to see if something is covering the transmitter or the receiver sensor.

If something is stacked there, then it’s the one blocking the infrared signals from transmitting from the remote to the TV set.


The TV remote will work through glass if the transmitted infrared is Near-infrared (short-wave infrared) and the glass is transparent and free from impurity.

If the TV remote does not work through the glass with all these checked, then the remote will need to be checked and inspected.

Once the TV remote has been properly checked and inspected and all faulty occurrences with them have been resolved, the TV remote should be able to work perfectly through glass without any kind of struggle.

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