The universal remote is a ubiquitous piece of hardware: and iniquitous. There's no simple way of telling what you are dealing with, and the buttons are often quite small. Did you really mean to change the station on the TV, or on the cable box? Big difference. . .
Instead of punching little buttons, you should be able to use a slider along the edge of the remote. You can tell at a glance which device you are trying to program. If the slider is at the front the remote is good for both lefties and righties, but on the side probably works about as well.