Is a Roku Remote Universal? Will It Work On Any TV?

a hand holding three roku remotes pointing at a tv

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What to Know

  • Although some Roku remotes can control certain TV functions, they aren’t universally compatible with all TVs.
  • Roku remotes are largely interchangeable, but some remotes may not work with specific devices.
  • Roku remotes come in “simple” and “voice” types, with the newer Voice Remote having both IR and RF capabilities.

Before we start, let’s clear up what “universal” means so there’s no confusion. “Universal” means the remote can control pretty much anything.

But, you’re probably more curious about whether your Roku remote can work with your TV or other Roku devices.

So, in this article, when I say “universal,” I’m talking about whether a Roku remote can control different TVs. And when I say “interchangeable,” I mean if a Roku remote can work with other Roku devices.

With that explained, let’s jump into the first question.

Is a Roku Remote Universal? Will It Work On Any TV?

No, a Roku remote isn’t universally compatible; it can’t control just any TV.

However, with the Roku Voice Remote or Voice Remote Pro, you can attempt to pair the IR signals to manage your TV’s volume and power.

These two remotes are also compatible with Roku TVs, as detailed in the compatibility table provided below.

For a guide on setting up your Roku remote to control your TV, refer to our previously published article here.

Can Roku Remotes Be Used Interchangeably?

Yes, Roku remotes are interchangeable, you can use someone else’s Roku remote with your compatible player. Some Roku remotes, however, may not work with specific Roku devices.

For instance, the Roku 1’s IR-based remote is incompatible with the Roku Stick, which exclusively uses RF for control.

Table of Remote & Compatible Roku Players

Remote Compatible Roku players
Simple Remote All Roku players (except Streaming Stick/Stick+/4K/4K+), Streambar, Smart Soundbar, Streambar Pro
Voice Remote Any Roku TV, Roku audio products, and all the latest Roku players (except for some older models)
Voice Remote Pro All Roku TVs, Roku audio devices (including Smart Soundbar and Streambar), and all Roku players made post-2017 (such as Ultra, Express, Streaming Stick, Premiere, etc.)

All Roku remotes, including the Simple and Voice Remotes, use IR technology.

While the Simple Remote exclusively relies on IR, the Voice Remote incorporates both IR and RF technologies.

Thus, the newer Voice Remote is likely to be able to control older Roku players that came with a Simple Remote.

To learn more about the compatibility or interchangeability of Roku remotes, a basic understanding of different Roku remote types is essential.

Roku Remote Types

As alluded to above, Roku remotes can be categorized as “simple” and “voice.” Below is a brief overview of the two.

Simple Remote

The simple remote employs infrared technology and needs a line of sight, like any IR remote. In other words, you must point it at the Roku stick to use the device, and there should be no physical object obstructing the communication between the two devices.

Simple Roku remotes generally use two AA batteries and have a relatively thick profile. If your Roku remote has keys with the crescent moon and sleep timer signs, it’s a standard or simple remote.

Setting up and using the simple remote is pretty straightforward. Just insert the batteries and point the device at your Roku TV or player.

Voice Remote

a roku voice remote on a stand

If you bought a new Roku device recently, it most certainly uses the voice remote.

The voice type is an RF (radio frequency) remote that works even when pointed at the opposite side of the streaming stick because it requires no line of sight.

The remote is relatively thinner as it employs a pair of AAA batteries. The RF remote also has the pairing button under its battery cover at the bottom.

To use the remote with its Roku player, you must first pair it with your Roku player or TV—more on pairing later.   

Simple and voice remotes don’t look very different from the outside, except for a microphone button. The button layout is pretty identical too.

Voice Remote Pro

a roku voice remote pro on a stand

The Roku Voice Remote Pro is slightly more advanced than the above remotes.

For starters, it employs audio search functionality, denoted by the microphone icon, which helps search for and launch apps or specific content through voice commands. And there are quite a few other unique things.

Unlike most other Roku remotes, the Voice Remote Pro doesn’t use AA or AAA batteries. It employs rechargeable batteries that hold juice for several months on a charge. The device uses a micro-USB charger.  

The remote has a “private listening” feature. 

You can insert your headphones into the remote’s audio jack and listen to content privately or without disturbing people nearby. When you plug in the earphones, the TV speakers mute automatically.

You could also do private listening by installing the Roku app on your smartphone and connecting your headphones wirelessly to your phone or plugging it into its headphone jack.

The headphone jack feature can also be found on several other Roku remotes and is not necessarily unique to the Voice Remote Pro.

There’s the “personal shortcut” feature to launch a streaming channel, open a live TV guide, etc., with a single button press. You can create the shortcut by pressing and holding the “1” or “2” button on the “Roku Touch tabletop remote” for a few seconds.

The voice remote also has built-in speakers to locate the remote when lost. The speaker grilles sit on the remote’s opposite ends beneath the infrared emitter.

The remote beeps when misplaced, and you actively search for it. You can locate your Roku remote by activating the ‘find‘ sound via the settings menu.

Step 1: Navigate to Settings on your Roku device.

system option is highlighted on a roku

Step 2: Select Remotes & devices then choose Remotes.

remotes & devices and remotes are highlighted on a roku

Step 3: Choose your Voice Remote Pro and click on the Find remote option. Your Roku Voice Remote Pro will now make a sound for you to find.

voice remote pro and find remote options are highlighted on a roku

Also, the voice commands can be hands-free, or you need not grab the remote and push the voice button before speaking. Enable the feature in Roku settings and ensure the device is relatively close by when you talk.

the hands-free voice controls feature on a roku voice remote pro

How to Pair a Roku Remote with a Roku Device

IR Roku remotes work with any compatible Roku streaming device without pairing.

RF remotes, however, must be paired with the respective streaming player or another compatible device. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Power on your Roku device. Grab your remote. Ensure the batteries are in. If the remote uses rechargeable batteries, make sure it’s charged.

Step 2: Long-press the pairing button located on your remote’s rear or under the battery cover until the status light starts to flash.

pairing buttons on two roku remote

Step 3: Press the Arrow Up & Down continuously until the light goes off.

the pairing light of a roku remote is blinking

A prompt will appear on your TV screen, indicating that the pairing is in progress. After a few seconds, the wireless connection is made.

roku is pairing with a roku remote

Step 4: (For Roku Voice Remote Pro) Check the I understand box and click Continue.

roku voice consent, i understand box is ticked

Step 5: Choose Finish to end the process and use your Roku remote seamlessly.

finish option is highlighted on a roku

How to Add a Second Remote to Your Roku

You can pair a Roku player or TV with more than one remote. It helps during multi-player gaming and when the first remote is not working. To link a second remote, follow these steps.

Step 1: On your Roku’s Home page, head to Settings.

system option is highlighted on a roku

Step 2: Choose Remotes & Devices.

remotes & devices option is highlighted on a roku

Step 3: Select Remotes and then Add a new remote. The subsequent page will present the instructions to pair the remote.

remotes & add a new remote options are highlighted on a roku

Bonus: The Roku App

The Roku App effortlessly pairs with any Roku device you own. With just one app, you have the convenience of connecting to and controlling multiple Roku devices.

The app only requires Roku OS 6.2 or higher, ensuring compatibility even with the earliest models, such as the Roku 1 and 2.

Although the app is only available in supported countries, this limitation isn’t significant. In a separate article here, I’ve detailed how to install and use the Roku app to control your Roku device, regardless of whether you’re in a supported country or not.

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One Comment

  1. I want to use two Roku remotes for my TV. One for me, one for my husband.
    How do I make sure I get the right remote & how do I pair them.
    The remote from my regular Roku will not work with my Roku tv.

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