- Roku remotes fall into two types: simple and enhanced.
- Simple remotes work with infrared and require line of sight, while enhanced RF remotes can be pointed anywhere.
- Simple remotes work with almost any Roku player except for Streaming Stick models – enhanced remotes work with all but the very oldest Roku models.
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Roku offers a number of streaming media players ranging in price from the Roku Express to the Roku Streambar Pro. If you’re upgrading to a new Roku, or need to replace your remote if it’s lost or broken, you might wonder which type of Roku remote you should get.
The news is promising: Despite many different kinds of players and remotes, in general they’re all (mostly) interchangeable with one another. Here’s everything you need to know about the various Roku remotes and the differences among them.
Are Roku remotes interchangeable?
Roku remotes are mostly interchangeable. While there are several remote control models available, they all work with one of two underlying technologies: infrared and RF. Roku refers to these as simple and enhanced.
Simple infrared remote
A simple remote transmits a beam of infrared (IR) light to your Roku player. These remotes require a direct line of sight with the player and won’t work if the signal is blocked by an obstacle like the TV or a cabinet.
IR remotes work with Roku players like the Roku Streambar, Smart Soundbar, and Streambar Pro. However, they aren’t compatible with any Streaming Stick model, such as the Roku Streaming Stick+, Roku Streaming Stick 4K, or Roku Streaming Stick 4K+.
Roku refers to an enhanced remote as a “point anywhere” remote. Because it uses radio frequency (RF) energy to send commands to the player, an enhanced remote doesn’t need a direct line of sight, and the player can be positioned behind obstacles and still work just fine.
Enhanced remotes should work with all Roku models, though some very old models may not be compatible.
You can tell if you have an enhanced remote because it’ll have a pairing button to connect it to the player, usually found in the battery compartment. You can use that button to pair your remote to your Roku player or TV.
Types of Roku remotes
Roku has sold many variations of its Roku Remote over the years with various streaming players and Roku TVs, but today there are just three models available, which you can purchase as a replacement remote for your current Roku player or Roku TV.
The Roku Simple Remote is the most basic and least expensive of Roku’s remote controls. As described in the previous section, this Simple Remote uses an IR beam for line-of-sight connectivity.
The Simple Remote should work with almost any Roku device except for Streaming Stick models, and requires no pairing – it should be able to control your device automatically.
The Roku Voice Remote is an enhanced, “point anywhere” remote control. Unlike the Simple Remote, this remote lets you give your Roku device voice commands. It also can be used as a simple universal remote, controlling your TV’s power and volume controls.
The voice remote is compatible with all current and most older Roku models, though it might not work with some of the oldest Roku players.
Voice Remote Pro
The Roku Voice Remote Pro is an upgraded version of the Voice Remote that adds a few new features. It has a “remote finder” – you can search for the remote with a voice command or the Roku mobile app and hear a tone to locate the remote. It also recharges via a USB cable and has a private listening mode that lets you connect headphones to the remote.
Like the Voice Remote, the Voice Remote Pro is compatible with all current and most older Roku models, though it might not work with some of the oldest Roku players.
Until recently, Roku offered a Roku Game Remote, but it’s now discontinued and very difficult to find, though there are some used and refurbished Game Remotes available.
The Roku Game Remote was an enhanced remote (it used RF so it could be pointed anywhere) and had an built-in accelerometer so it could be played with games that relied on sensing motion. Notably, though, the Game Remote had a couple of game buttons (labeled A and B). While the Game Remote works with virtually any Roku device, it was originally included just with Roku 2 series players.
Roku mobile app
While you can use a physical remote control to operate your Roku device, you don’t have to; Roku offers a mobile app for iPhone and Android. This app replicates the Roku remote experience, and you can do anything on your phone that you could also do with the remote.
In addition to working like an enhanced “point anywhere” remote, you can give your mobile app voice commands and listen to TV privately by using earbuds or headphones with your phone.
Some people might find the lack of raised, tactile buttons a disadvantage, though – Roku remotes have a memorable five-way button that is easy to use in the dark by feel alone, while it’s necessary to look at your phone’s screen to operate the remote app.
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