If you own a Roku device, one of the best things you can do is upgrade to the Roku Voice Remote. The default Roku remote is pretty terrible, not to mention it lacks a few essential features, so if you’ve been wondering if the Roku voice remote is worth it, here’s what you need to know.
Whether you just bought new Roku TV, lost the remote to the Roku streaming device you already own, or hate how awful and inaccurate the default remote is, trust me when I say you’ll love the $20 Roku voice remote. It’s a game-changer.
The voice remote actually works the first time you hit the power or volume up buttons, and you don’t have to aim it at the TV. This may sound petty, but believe me, it isn’t.
See, here’s the thing. Many current-generation Roku steaming devices and higher-end TVs already come with a voice remote. However, older devices or something like an affordable TCL 5-Series Roku TV doesn’t. They have the older Infrared-powered remote instead, which does not have voice controls of any kind.
The easiest way to see what remote you have for any Roku device is to look under the direction pad and see if there’s a microphone button in the middle. If your remote does not have the mic button shown above, it’s an older, awful, inaccurate regular remote, and you’ll greatly appreciate an upgrade. People all over Reddit agree.
TVs from Element, Hisense, Hitachi, Sharp, and TCL all use a similar remote, as do virtually all older Roku devices, and the upgraded voice remote works with all of them.
There are two main reasons you’ll want to upgrade to Roku’s outstanding voice remote, and for me, it isn’t even about the voice features. The regular remote that comes with many devices uses infrared technology, which is old and outdated; you have to aim the remote directly at the TV to get it to work.
Oftentimes, the regular remote doesn’t even register button clicks. I’ll hit volume up 5-6 times, and nothing happens, then hit it a few more times, and suddenly they’ll all register at once, and it’ll increase the volume drastically. Not only is it laggy and unresponsive—especially when navigating menus like Netflix or Roku channels—but the button presses don’t register. I find myself constantly hitting the same button 3-4 times to get it to work, and it’s highly frustrating.
The new Roku voice remote connects over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, so it always works, no matter what. In addition, it’s faster, more responsive, and will even work from another room. It doesn’t need a direct line-of-sight to the TV, and that’s the biggest benefit.
The other huge benefit is that it allows you to use voice commands. For example, saying “launch Netflix” or “Open YouTube” instead of fumbling through the Roku menu is extremely helpful.
Once you buy the upgraded voice remote, you can also press and hold the voice button and say things like, “Turn on captions,” “start this movie from the beginning,” or “Find Christmas movies” to enable features, complete tasks, or find content quickly.
But while Roku talks up the voice features as the best reason to get this remote, it’s the fact that it doesn’t use infrared that makes it a game-changer in my living room. So grab the Roku voice remote from the link below, then throw that old one in a drawer and keep it as a backup. You’ll be glad you did.
Roku Voice Remote
Upgrade your Roku TV experience today with the more accurate, more helpful voice remote for $20.
While we’re on the subject, we figured you’d also like to know about a third option. In early 2021 Roku released another remote, the Roku Voice Remote Pro for $30. It’s a little more expensive but has even more perks than the original voice remote.
The Voice Remote Pro has a 3.5mm headphone jack for private listening and a slimmer lightweight design, and it comes with a built-in USB rechargeable battery instead of AA batteries. The voice features are better, too. While it can do the same voice commands as the regular voice remote, you also get hands-free voice controls. That way, even when the remote is on the other side of the couch, you can say, “Hey Roku, turn up the volume” without ever touching it.
The voice remote pro also has a tiny built-in speaker for a “lost remote finder” feature. That way, you can ask Roku to find your lost remote, and it’ll make an audible noise.
While voice controls, a lost remote finder, and a headphone jack are excellent, the improved accuracy and speed are the biggest difference.
It might sound like we’re nitpicking, but if you have the older regular Roku remote getting an upgraded model will definitely make your streaming experience better. Grab the voice remote above or the even better Pro model below.
Roku Voice Remote Pro
Get Roku’s best remote yet, the Voice Remote Pro, for only $30.