There are many reasons why the Roku is one of the most popular set-top boxes in the world. It’s easy to use, includes the features and apps that cord cutters want, and it’s affordable. Also, the most recent versions of the Roku are quite powerful. The Roku Premiere offers complete 4k HD streaming for those with 4K compatible TVs. But, did you know that there are a lot of Roku tricks that you can use to extend its features?
There are actually a lot of cool features that Roku doesn’t put a lot of effort into promoting, that vastly extend the feature set. In fact, there are a few Roku tips that nearly any Roku user might find useful. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular Roku tricks that you probably want to know about.
Roku Tricks #1: Watch Hidden Roku Channels
One of the best Roku tricks is the ability to add hidden Roku channels to your device. The Roku separates its content and apps by channels, requiring that users navigate to their preferred channel to access their content. As a Roku owner, you probably knew that. But did you know that not all Roku channels are actually visible in the Roku Channel Store? There are hundreds of private and third-party Roku channels that you can add to your box. Want to find out how? Just go to the Roku Guide, click the channel you are interested in, then, “Add Channel,” and you’ll be taken to your account login page. Log in, then add appropriate channel code for the channel that you want to add. This is a great way to quickly grow the amount of content that you have access to.
Roku Tricks #2: Make Your Roku Remote and Roku Keyboard
Who doesn’t hate trying to use a remote with arrows to operate an onscreen keyboard? Trying to flip through letters with a remote is slow, and for a device that requires you to sign in to every different service, it is important that you are able to quickly do so. Thankfully, Roku has made this an easy problem to fix.
You can use your phone to control the on-screen keyboard. The Roku app can actually completely replace your Roku remote, which is an added bonus for anyone that regularly loses their remote. Just run the app, click “Remote,” then click the “Roku Keyboard” icon at the bottom of the screen. A Roku Keyboard will appear directly on your smart phone, and control your input directly into your Roku box!
Roku Tricks #3: Use your Phone for Roku Voice Search
One of the best Roku tips for faster searches is using the voice search feature. If you’d rather just skip the keyboard altogether, you can use voice search to navigate Roku’s options with the Roku 3 or Roku 4, directly through the voice feature on your remote. For those that own an older version of the Roku, you can still access voice commands through the Roku app! When you go to open the “Search” feature (same place you can use Roku keyboard for text) and there will be a Voice” button. Click that, say what you would like to search for. The voice search feature is really a quality of life improvement.
Roku Tricks #4: Turn Your Roku Into a Universal Remote
Are you tired of switching between remotes to control your Roku, TV, and Bluray player? The Roku remote is well-designed, and the shortcut buttons make it super simple navigate to your favorite content sources. However, the Roku remote doesn’t feature buttons that control your TV channels, volume, power, or input. However, a nifty little device called the Sideclick Starter Kit for Roku plugs into the side of the Roku remote, adding all of those buttons as well as a few programmable ones. The Sideclick Starter Kit for Roku is available for $29.99 and comes with four adapter clips that allow the device to work with most Roku remotes.
Roku Tricks #5: Stream From Your Phone to Your Roku
Did you know that you can directly mirror the screen of your Android or iOS device directly to your TV screen through the Roku? It’s one of the more useful Roku tips that comes as a built-in feature. Just go to “Settings,” then “System,” and “Screen Mirroring.” Screen mirroring is currently only available on the Roku 2, Roku 3, and Roku 4 boxes running software version 5.6 or above. Screen mirroring is also available on the Roku TV.
Roku Tricks #6: Turn Roku into a DVR with Tablo
One of the features that Roku users ask for in new versions is the ability to record live TV. As you may or may not know, you can watch live TV on Roku using Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, DIRECTV NOW, and others. Some of these services have built-in DVR capability, while others do not. If you have an HDTV antenna or another live TV service that you use through the Roku, you can purchase a DVR device that enables you to record. A favorite among many Roku owners is the Tablo TV. All you have to do is follow the setup instructions that come with the box, download the Tablo TV app on your Roku, and you have complete DVR features including pausing and recording live TV!
Roku Tricks #7: Find Your Lost Roku Remote
The Roku remote is small. If you are anything like me, you probably lose it quite a bit. But, that doesn’t have to be the case! One often overlooked feature of the Roku 4 and Roku Ultra is the button on top of the Roku that allows you to find your remote. All you have to do is hit the button, and your remote will start playing a loud sound, allowing you to figure out which couch cushions it is nestled between.