How to use your smartphone to control Roku
In case you’ve never tried it, the Roku mobile app can double as a handy remote control when the real one isn’t within reach.
We’re always losing track of one remote or another, especially if we have to share them with someone else while hunkered down on the couch.
Roku announced this week that their latest update to their mobile app for iOS and Android has a new feature or two that you should try out.
You can download the latest Roku app either at iTunes or your Google Play Store. This is a quick rundown of what you can now do on the Roku mobile app.
Navigation on Roku mobile app
There is a new navigation bar at the bottom of the Roku mobile app. Tap it once and you can pull up a menu of streaming channels that are on your Roku device.
Once you launch the Roku app, you can scroll through all of your streaming channels – whether it’s Netflix, 4K content, Sling TV or CNN go. You can also hit the What’s On button to explore shows and movies.
When you start a streaming channel like Netflix, the remote control automatically appears so you can navigate around the menus to pick a show or movie.
4 features to try on the Roku mobile app
Remote control mode transforms the screen of your smartphone to resemble the actual Roku remote. It’s a similar idea to the Amazon Fire TV app that works on smartphones. The buttons look virtually the same on your smartphone as they do on the remote.
The update on Roku app brings us a closer match to the actual remote that comes with your Roku device. At the top right of the remote screen, there is box-shaped channels icon for quick access to your installed streaming channels.
Plug your headphones into your smartphone for private listening. This is another great feature on the Roku remote for when you want to watch shows at night and not have to worry about waking up loved ones after their bedtime.
Search for movies, or favorite shows with your voice. Voice control will be a key feature for streaming devices in 2017. Roku doesn’t plan on being left behind. Even if you don’t have a voice-control option on your Roku remote control, your Roku app does. So feel free to search for your favorite shows by uttering commands into your phone.
Share your photos, music and videos from your smartphone to your TV. You can easily cast content from your smartphone to Roku.
Founder and Editor of The Cord Cutting Report. Before launching the site in 2016, he worked for more than two decades as a staff writer or correspondent for a number of daily newspapers, including The Boston Globe. His enthusiasm for tech began with the Atari 2600. Follow @james_kimble