Do you have separate remotes for you DVD player, TV and satellite TV? If so, you probably find that having so many remotes a major hassle. A universal remote is a single controller which operates all your entertainment units and is a great convenience when you have so many electronic units in your entertainment room.
Models of Universal Remotes
There are a wide variety of universal remote that controls airplay without wifi, ranging in price and functions. At the low end, the remotes will control only the TV and some associated entertainment devices. At the higher end, there are LCD touchscreen models that are able to control a large range of electronic devices such as your PC, stereo and lights.
Universal Remote Codes
Usually, a remote will have codes inbuilt and the user will cycle through them to select the one corresponding to the device to be used.
These codes are usually for a variety of manufacturers and devices. Some remotes are able to "learn". That is, they are able to monitor the signals from the remotes for your devices and insert the codes in to the universal remote.
Program the Remote
However, the remote has to be somehow told what entertainment products you have and what codes to use. This is where programing comes in.