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13 Roku tricks you should try right now

Is there a more appreciated technological product than the Roku transmitter? Whether yours is a joystick or a box, it offers virtually unparalleled video quality on your TV: Netflix, Hulu, HBO, etc.

And, however, it could be better. That on-screen keyboard? Bleh The default interface theme? Room for improvement. Next, I've collected 13 ways to improve your Roku experience, from organizing channels and watching iTunes movies to adding TV control buttons to the Roku remote control.

Use your phone as a keyboard Roku

Is there anything more serious? to use a remote control to operate an on-screen keyboard? Just logging in, for example, your Netflix account can be a slow and agonizing issue, not to mention the search for actors or movies.


Tap here to bring up the keyboard for quicker and easier data entry.

Rick Broida / CNET screenshot

Fortunately, there is an easy solution: use your phone instead. As you probably know, Roku applications (iOS | Android) can take the place of your Roku remote control, but they also provide a keyboard that makes data entry significantly faster and easier.

So every time you land on your Roku's on-screen keyboard your TV, whether for a search or login, simply run the application, touch Remote and then tap the keyboard icon near the bottom of the screen. Now you can play the keyboard! Or, click on the keyboard microphone icon and "write" your input using your voice. Speaking of which …

Use your phone for voice search


The Roku voice search is just a touch of an application.

Rick Broida / CNET screenshot

Do you know what is even faster than a keyboard? The spoken word If you are lucky enough to have a Roku of the current generation, you may have discovered the joys of the voice search, which can operate through the Roku remote control.

Do not own one of those models? No problem: the Roku application now offers its own voice search capabilities. Then, instead of tapping, for example, "Leonardo DiCaprio" to find your available movies (and risk spelling them incorrectly), you can touch the Search option, then Voice, and really say, "Leonardo DiCaprio".

Streaming media from your phone or tablet

Do you want to show everyone the photos and videos you took at the recent wedding, graduation, soccer game or zombie escape room? Do not bundle them around your relatively small phone or tablet; Gather them around the television instead. The Roku application allows you to send photos, videos and music from your mobile device to your transmitter.

Just start the application and touch Play in Roku . Choose the type of media you want to transmit, then the specific media. Presto! Large screen display from your small screen device (er).

Do you want to take this a step further? You can also duplicate your smartphone or tablet to your Roku device.

Convert your Roku remote into a universal remote


The Sideclick adds programmable buttons to your Roku remote.


I really like the design of the Roku remote control, especially those that have shortcut buttons for people like Netflix and Amazon. What I do not like: You can not program a Roku remote to control your TV.

But you can program a Sideclick. Available for a variety of streamers (including Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV), this smart add-on (with the best name in history) attaches to the side of your Roku remote and adds a row of handy programmable buttons: power, volume up / down, channel up / down, entry and A / B (the latter available for any function you want).

The Sideclick starter kit for Roku sells for $ 30 and comes with four adapter clips to accommodate most Roku remotes. It is a very good option for anyone who is tired of juggling remote controls.

Organize your channels

The more channels you add to your Roku library, the more confusion you'll accumulate. If you always move around to find the handful of channels you visit the most, you've probably wanted some way to reorganize them.


It's easy to rearrange Roku. channels, once you know how to do it.

Rick Broida / CNET screenshot

This is like this: find the channel you want to relocate, say HBO now, and highlight it with your remote control. (Do not select it, simply move the cursor over it so that it is highlighted). Next, press the Option button on your remote control (it looks like an asterisk), then choose Move Channel. Now use the direction pad to move the icon where you want it, and watch others get out of the way on the fly.

Once you have found the perfect place, press OK to complete the process. Repeat as necessary.

Rearrange channels in the Roku application

A recent update of the Roku application added a great feature: a Channels screen, similar to what you see on your TV. It makes accessing your favorite channels much faster.

However, it is not immediately obvious how to organize those channels. This is because you can not do it within the application: you have to hit your real Roku on your TV. Then just follow the steps described in Organize your channels above. Or, for more details, see How to organize your channels in the new Roku 4.0 application.

Choose a new theme

Not following Roku's default interface theme? It's okay, not everyone likes purple. If you venture into the Settings menu and choose Themes, you'll see a handful of other options.


Rick Broida / CNET's screenshot

Better yet, select Get More Themes, which will take you to the Themes collection of the Roku Channel Store. (You can also browse online if you prefer). Here you will find several dozens of other options, from golf to Garfield and Star Trek. Unfortunately, these supplements are not free: ost range between 99 cents and $ 2.99.

Install a screensaver

Tired of the Roku logo bouncing when the transmitter is idle for a while? Why not choose a screen saver that is a bit more interesting?

As with the selection of a theme, you can go to the Settings menu and then choose Screen Saver for a handful of other options. (If you have already chosen a different theme, you can see other screen saver options.) Nebula, for example, offers a digital clock instead of the bouncing Roku logo.)

And, again, you can go to the Store Channel to find many other screen savers: aquariums, animated fireplaces, holders of "The Onion", even a Nixie watch. A handful are free; most will cost you a dollar or two.

Change the name of your Rokus

If you have more than one Roku device, it makes sense to name each one, if only to simplify things when using the Roku application. It is much easier to switch between, for example, "Roku Bedroom" and "Roku Living Room" than "Roku 2" and "Roku 3".

If you want to change the name of your Rokus, you must visit the web portal.

Rick Broida / CNET screenshot

Interestingly, however, you can not do this from within the application. Instead, you must log in to my.roku.com, then go to the My Account page. Scroll down a bit to see a list of your connected devices, then click Rename next to the one you want to change. I'm not sure which one is which? Actually, you can check the application for this; tap Settings> Change device to get a list of the connected Rokus (and the corresponding images that accompany it), then search for the serial number. Match that with what you see on the web portal.

Install private channels


The Silent Movie channel

Everyone knows about Netflix, Hulu and other main Roku channels, but their streamers also support the addition of private channels.

Is that the code for "adult"? Yes and no. Although there are adult channels for Roku, you can find a variety of options for families in sources such as RokuChannels.com, RokuGuide.com, StreamFree.tv and RokuChannels.tv.

A good choice: The silent movie channel, which offers selections of characters such as Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Rudolph Valentino.

To add it, go to the My Roku account page in your browser (as described in the previous advice), click Add a channel then enter the ROLLEM code.

The channel should be automatically added to your Roku device within the next 24 hours, but you should be able to force it by going to the Channel Store in your Roku, and then going back to the main menu.

Find a remote Roku remote

Sarah Tew / CNET

As much as I like the design of the Roku remote control, size can be a problem: it is much more easily lost. The Bermuda Triangle has nothing on the cushions of my sofa.

Fortunately, if you own a Roku 4 ($ 59.99 on Amazon Marketplace) or Roku Ultra there is a quick way to find your remote. (Assuming, of course, that I can still find the Roku itself. I have to be near the TV.) Both models have a button on the top; press it and your remote control will make a sound.

Do you want to learn how to choose what sound it produces? Check out Quickly find a remote Roku remote lost with this trick.

Watch movies from your iTunes library


The impossible has happened: the movies I bought in iTunes are available in my Roku box. Thanks to Movies Anywhere.

Photo by Rick Broida / CNET

If you live in the Apple ecosystem, you know that owning a Roku means giving up any movie you've purchased through iTunes. After all, it's not that Apple offers a Roku channel.

Fortunately, there are Movies Anywhere . This free tool puts all your movies under one roof, so to speak, which means you can now use a single Roku application to access movies from your Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu accounts. Obviously, you can now access movies from Amazon, Google and Vudu in your Roku through their respective applications, but Movies Anywhere incorporates iTunes in that mix and saves you from having to remember which movie is where.

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Some Roku remotes have a headphone jack, which is great for private listening. Newer models can transmit audio to headphones through the Roku application.


One of the best features of Roku is private listening, which allows you to transmit audio through a remote control or your phone to your favorite headphones. That's great for your half-deaf relative who would normally need to turn up the TV volume to heartbreaking levels, or for your elliptical workouts where you can not hear the television by the sound of machinery.

The Roku 3, Roku Premiere +, Roku 4 and Roku Ultra come with a remote control that has a built-in headphone jack, by far the easiest option. ( Professional tip: If you plug it in, remember to unplug it when you're done.) The headset will continue to draw power even when you're not using the Roku, which makes it quite likely that you'll return to a dead set of remote batteries.) [19659002] But all models of the current generation, from the Roku Express to the Roku Ultra, also support private listening through the Roku application. This works with wired and wireless headphones; simply start the application and touch the icon of the headphones to move from the TV speakers to the private listening.

And that's it! Thirteen great ways to improve your Roku experience. Access comments and share your favorite suggestions!

Editor's Note: This publication was originally published on January 24, 2017 and has since been updated with additional suggestions and revisions.

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