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How to Use Your Roku Remote

If there's one thing users love about their Roku, it's the Roku remote. Read on to find out what makes Roku remotes so popular.

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Along with Google's Chromecast and Amazon's Fire TV Stick, Roku sells some of today's most popular streaming devices. But first: what is Roku? As a quick bit of background, the company sells streaming players that are affordable (most are under $100), easy to use, and compatible with major smartphones, smart TVs, and other devices. It also sells smart TVs, speakers, and other audio accessories.

All of Roku's streaming players come with an easy-to-use remote, with some models including user-friendly features like voice control, headphone jack capabilities, and a lost remote recovery function. We've covered each of these topics below, taking a deeper look at the Roku remote and how to use it and answering common questions like "What is Roku?" and "How to pair Roku remote with your TV."

Roku Devices Compared

Device PriceStreaming QualityVoice-Controlled Remote
Roku Express $30HDNo
Roku Express 4K+ $404KYes
Roku Streaming Stick 4K $504KYes
Roku Streaming Stick 4K+ $704KYes
Roku Ultra $1004KYes
Roku Streambar $1304KYes
Roku Streambar Pro $1804KYes

Using the Roku Remote

Currently, there are three different Roku remotes available: Roku Simple Remote, Roku Voice Remote, and Roku Voice Remote Pro. Most of Roku's streaming players come with the Voice Remote (except for the entry-level Roku Express, which comes with the Simple Remote). However, you can purchase any of the remotes on their own if you'd like to upgrade your Roku TV watching experience.

When you receive your new Roku Voice Remote or Roku Voice Remote Pro, you'll need to understand how to pair a Roku remote with your TV. In short, it's a simple process that can be done during Roku set-up or after you've already set it up.

Roku remotes are lightweight, ergonomic, and easy to use. In terms of layout and design, they're fairly basic, with rubber buttons that let you control essential functions like playback and volume, as well as branded buttons for quick access to streaming platforms like Netflix and Disney+. In this regard, they're similar to some competitors' devices (like the newer models of the Amazon Fire TV Stick). The higher-end Roku remotes include voice control, allowing you to push a button and dictate to your remote, rather than pressing the buttons. 

Everything to Know About Roku Remotes

Below, you'll find three key stand-out features of Roku remotes. But since there are three different models available, the exact functionality will vary depending on which version you have.

Voice Command

Like Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa, most Roku remotes offer built-in voice control so you can change channels, find new shows, and adjust the volume -- with just your voice. To do this, push the microphone button on your Roku Voice Remote or Roku Voice Remote Pro and say a command like, "take me to Hulu" or "show me live news."

Plus, with the Roku Voice Remote Pro, you can even do even more with your voice. Instead of pushing the microphone button to talk, you can set up your remote for hands-free commands. One of the best ways to use this feature is to track down your lost remote. All you have to say is "Hey Roku, where's my remote?" Now that's just cool!

All-in-One TV and Streaming Control

Sometimes, keeping track of all of your remotes can be a chore -- especially when you have more than one streaming device. To solve this challenge, most Roku remotes allow you to control both your TV and Roku with a single remote (including turning your devices on and off, changing the volume, and flipping through channels or streaming platforms).

At the bottom of every Roku remote, you'll see a set of four pre-programmed channel buttons. By clicking one of these logos, you'll be instantly taken to Netflix, Disney+, Apple TV+, or Hulu. These buttons aren't customizable, but if you have the Roku Voice Remote Pro, you can program two personal shortcut buttons to take you to the streaming service of your choice.

Private Listening Mode

If you have young kids or live with roommates, there may be times that you want to watch TV without disturbing the other occupants of your house. In that case, you can take advantage of the Roku remote's private listening feature (available with the Roku Voice Remote Pro), which lets you connect wired headphones to listen to your TV. 

Otherwise, if you have one of the lower-tier remotes, you can still activate private listening – but you'll need to do it through the company's mobile app. Once you've downloaded the Roku remote app and signed into your Roku account, you can plug wired headphones into your phone or connect them wirelessly through Bluetooth. Once you've done that, simply follow the prompts in the Roku app to begin listening.