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5 Pro Tips for Roku Owners to Get the Most Out of Your Roku (Updated)


1 Rename Your Roku Players

The ability to cast video and photos from your phone is a great feature. The ability to send YouTube videos from your computer or phone to your TV is even better, but if you are like me and own multiple Rokus sometimes it can be confusing to remember what serial number is the living room Roku and what is the bedroom Roku.

There is good news! If you head over to your My Account page on Roku’s website, you can rename your Roku boxes. That way you can easily figure out what Roku is in your living room and what one is in your bedroom without having to go find a serial number.

2 Roku Apps

Roku has a super powerful and helpful app for Android, iOS, and Fire OS devices. This app will let you cast photos and videos from your phone or tablet to your TV. And you can use your mobile device as a remote for your Roku if you ever lose your remote.

The Roku app also solves one of the most common complaints about all streaming players: The onscreen keyboards are slow and painful to use. With the Roku app your mobile device can be used as a keyboard for usernames and passwords.

3 Captions

Ever miss what was said on the TV? Is the sound low so you don’t wake someone up or is it just hard to understand what was said? Roku now lets you enable captions for instant replay. Just hit the Replay button and for the few seconds of the replay, your Roku will enable closed captions. (Settings > Captions > click “Instant Replay.”)

What if you want to know what is being said when the sound is muted? The game or show is on and the phone rings. So you hit mute but still want to know what is being said. Now with Roku TVs you can enable mute captions so anytime your TV is muted the captions will automatically turn on.

4 Turn Off Talking Menus

Go to Settings, Accessibility, and then Audio Guide. The various configurations available to you are as follows:

Audio Guide On/Off

You can just select to turn Audio Guide On or Off, or on any screen, you can turn the Audio Guide On or Off by pressing four times.

5 Cast Netflix or YouTube

Searching Netflix or YouTube on your TV is not nearly as fast or as easy as searching on your computer or phone. Now Roku will let you search for the show or video you want on your phone and cast it to your TV. All you need to do is hit the Cast button on the Netflix or YouTube app and select your Roku player. (Note: You must be on the same Wi-Fi network for this to work.)

Do you have a pro tip for Roku players? Post it in the comments and let everyone know about it.

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  • HeyRadar

    For taking menus. Pressing the * 4 times to enable or disable is an advanced tip.

    I also think an advanced tip is to cast website videos to your Roku is very powerful.

    • twistedvincent

      Pressing the * 4 times…Now THAT’S an excellent, and much simpler tip! Thank You

  • Fernzilla

    And another garbage article talking about pro tips. “did you know know you can install apps on your roku?” Anyone that ever turns one on will see that right off the bat. All this crap info and no mention of the fact you can actually CAST YOUR SCREEN FROM YOUR COMPUTER TO YOUR ROKU, effectively turning your tv screen to your computer monitor. Also no mention of non official roku apps which bring a whole slew of unknown yet amazing apps to your roku.

    • Fernzilla, did you read the two paragraphs under “2 Roku Apps”? Luke isn’t talking about apps on the Roku. He’s talking about the Roku apps for mobile devices.

      However, you’ve certainly got a point about mentioning apps like R-cast, iWebTV, PlayTo, AllCast, LocalCast, and RokuCast. RokuCast uses a Chrome extension to send videos to your Roku, similar to Chromecast. The others are mobile apps that allow finding (non-Flash, non-Silverlight) videos via your phone and playing them on your Roku.

      The official screen-mirroring functionality requires a Roku with a model number 3500 or higher (excluding the Roku Express models) as well as a device running Windows 8.1 or 10 (with Wi-Fi enabled) or Android 4.2 or newer. Also not all devices that meet those OS and Wi-Fi requirements work for whatever reason. Therefore, it makes sense to not mention it here and get people’s hopes up.

  • jrossjr

    Subscribe to Acorn. Best TV anywhere.

  • Frank Scammell

    Was hoping we would get something like down ,down, left, right ,up, up, * would release a magic mushroom or some other super power.

  • RonBoyd

    Which is the “Replay” button?

    • The counter-clockwise arrow symbol, which is often the top-left one under the direction-pad. Except some remotes don’t have it and have the voice search button in its place. In the video players for many of the channels/apps, the left arrow on the direction pad does the same thing.

      • RonBoyd

        I have had every model Roku since Roku 1 and have never used that button. I currently have an Ultra and two Premiers in use. But TBH, most of my Roku programs are recorded with PlayOn and played with SageTV.

        • How do you use SageTV with Roku? Are you using Plex or some other media server?

          • RonBoyd

            There is a Plugin for SageTV that makes it very user friendly. I, however, had problems with the Directory assignment(s) that the Plugin used — probably (but I not certain of) because the SageTV Server and the Playon Server are on different computers (on the same network however). So what I do is use Playon to record (both manually and scheduled) and then move the file to a directory that SageTV recognizes, run the “Scan Imported Media” which adds the Metadata/Fanart data to the file. The episode then shows up in either the TV or Video listing.

            The advantage to this is the ability to go forward/backward more smoothly than in Roku. In addition, skipping commercials is much easier — particularly an issue with those networks that don’t allow “forward through commercials” — even without using Comskip. Hmmm. I guess there are other advantages too… like archiving and offline playing.

          • RonBoyd

            Thinking of Plex (which I also use quite often) There is another way to do this. That is using a program like Replay Video Capture (https://applian.com/replay-video-capture/) which like Playon is merely a screen capture utility. The advantage to Playon, however, is the process is more automated (completely, actually) as it can, for instance, connect directly to subscribed networks. The advantage to RVC is that any video played on your computer can be recorded. In any event, either method can use Plex to view the video with the Plex App in, for instance, Roku.

        • Kevin Zemanek

          I use PlayOn as well, but in conjunction with Plex. I have added my PlayOn recording directories to Plex as libraries which works quite well – especially for recordings without commercials. For those with commercials I typically use the Roku PlayOn app as it supports their AdSkipper feature.

  • Kevin Zemanek

    “Now with Roku TVs you can enable mute captions so anytime your TV is muted the captions will automatically turn on.” This is an awesome feature and one that should come on every TV. Admittedly it is less useful if you’re running your audio through a home theater or similar, but there can still be a solution. When not viewing streaming content I am a DirecTV subscriber. In an earlier incarnation of their interface closed captioning could be turned on/off as a toggle. I programmed my Harmony remote so that when I pressed mute it muted my home theater and enabled CC on DirecTV (and vice versa). Since then DirecTV has changed their interface and I haven’t yet come up with a new solution. But it was slick while it lasted.