We’ve all been there before. You sit down on the couch ready to binge watch your favorite show and grab the Roku remote, only to find that it’s not working. You press every button repeatedly to no avail. The batteries seem fine, but no matter what you try, you can’t get the remote to connect. Don’t worry, there are a few tricks to get your Roku remote paired up again, even if it doesn’t have a dedicated pairing button.
The Struggle is Real
As a longtime Roku user myself, I’ve dealt with remote pairing issues more times than I can count. It’s frustrating when the remote stops responding out of nowhere. You go through the usual troubleshooting – changing batteries, moving the Roku device, cursing under your breath – but nothing gets the remote working again. Many Roku remotes don’t even have a manual pairing button, making it even more difficult to reconnect.
Luckily, over the years I’ve discovered some handy workarounds to force pair my Roku remote, regardless of model or connection type. Keep reading and I’ll walk you through several methods I use to get my remote paired up anyways, even when it seems unresponsive.
Types of Roku Remotes
Before jumping into remote pairing procedures, it helps to understand the different kinds of Roku remotes out there. Roku devices usually come with one of two main types of remotes:
Many Roku streamers include a basic simple remote in the box. These remotes have shortcut buttons for popular streaming channels like Netflix and Hulu, along with a directional pad, select button, back, home, replay, volume/mute, and power. Simple Roku remotes operate on infrared (IR) and need line-of-sight to the device to work properly.
Enhanced Roku devices come with a voice remote that adds voice commands and a headphone jack for private listening. Voice remotes may have channel shortcut buttons, a microphone, power, volume, mute, and headphone jack buttons. Some voice remotes use IR while others operate over radio frequency (RF) without needing line-of-sight.
Knowing whether your Roku remote is IR-based or RF-based can help determine troubleshooting steps. Next, we’ll go over some ways to identify if your remote has a pairing button or not.
Checking for a Pairing Button
Unless your Roku remote is brand new, there’s a good chance you’ve misplaced the original user manual that came in the box. Luckily, identifying a pairing button is pretty straightforward.
What’s a Pairing Button?
A pairing button on a Roku remote is a small, circular button with a circular arrow icon. Pressing this button initiates pairing mode on both the remote and Roku device to connect them.
Where to Find It
Pairing buttons are typically found on the bottom or backside of the remote near the battery compartment. Flip the remote over and inspect closely around the battery cover to see if a small pairing button is present.
If you don’t see a pairing button anywhere on your Roku remote, don’t worry. The following methods will help you get paired up anyways.
Pairing a Roku Remote Without a Button
Just because your Roku remote doesn’t have a dedicated pairing button, doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. Here are a couple ways to force your remote to pair with your streaming device again.
Method 1: Line-of-Sight Pairing
If you have a basic IR simple remote without a pairing button, you can attempt a manual line-of-sight pairing. This method essentially forces a connection by power cycling the remote and device.
Here’s how to try line-of-sight pairing:
- Turn off your Roku device by unplugging it from power or using the power button
- Remove the batteries from the Roku remote
- Wait 30 seconds or longer
- Plug the Roku device back in and turn it on
- Reinsert batteries into the remote
- Point remote directly at Roku device and press a button like Home or Select
The key is to disrupt the connection by removing power at the same time from both the streaming device and remote. When turned back on, the remote should search and pair with the Roku on button press. Keep trying this process until the remote begins controlling the Roku menu.
Method 2: Roku Mobile App
Both IR and RF Roku remotes can be paired using the free Roku mobile app. The app has a software remote that connects to your device over the local Wi-Fi network.
Follow these steps to pair with the mobile app method:
- Download Roku app to your iOS or Android phone / tablet
- Connect your mobile device to the same Wi-Fi network as your Roku player
- Open Roku app and access the remote control
- Use on-screen prompts to find and connect your mobile device to the Roku
- Once connected, go to Settings menu on the Roku home screen
- Select “Remote” then choose “Pair remote”
- Follow the pairing instructions shown on screen
The Roku mobile app essentially forces a pairing prompt on the streaming device so your physical remote can reconnect. If you run into any issues, try rebooting the Roku before attempting to pair.
Using a Universal Remote
If you’re still having issues getting your Roku remote to pair, another option is switching to a universal remote. Many third party universal remotes from Logitech, Sony, and others are compatible with Roku devices.
For a truly universal experience, look for remotes that support HDMI Consumer Electronics Control (HDMI-CEC). This allows the remote to control multiple devices over HDMI, including Roku.
Benefits of Universal Remotes
Here are some benefits of using a universal remote with Roku:
- Consolidates remotes for simpler home theater control
- Pre-programmed Roku codes simplify setup
- No manual pairing required
- Advanced remotes add gaming buttons, macros, etc.
With HDMI-CEC, a quality universal remote can switch inputs, control volume, and handle power across all of your home entertainment devices.
Smart Speakers for Home Theater
Another way to control your Roku without a remote is by setting up smart speakers. Smart displays and speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Nest can be configured to operate Roku with just your voice.
Here’s what you need to control your Roku with a smart speaker:
- Compatible smart speaker/display like Echo or Nest Hub
- Roku media player or Roku TV
- Wi-Fi network connection
- Alexa or Google Assistant mobile app
Ensure your Roku and smart speaker are on the same Wi-Fi network. The devices don’t necessarily need to be paired directly.
You’ll need to enable the appropriate skill in the smart assistant app:
- For Alexa: Enable Roku skill
- For Google Assistant: Link Roku account in Home app
After linking accounts, you can use voice commands like “Alexa, turn on Roku” or “Hey Google, launch Netflix on Roku.” Pretty cool!
Roku Home Theater Tips and Tricks
Now that you know the ins and outs of pairing a Roku remote, here are some additional power user tips for your home theater setup.
Select Roku remotes and devices feature private listening modes. You can listen to streaming audio through headphones connected to the remote’s headphone jack. No need to disturb others in your household!
If you want to add more advanced universal remote capability to your Roku, check out Sideclick. These neat gadgets clip onto your existing remote and add programmable buttons to control TV power, volume, playback and more.
At the end of the day, where there’s a will, there’s a way to get your Roku remote paired up. Don’t be afraid to get creative in your troubleshooting:
- Try a manual line-of-sight pairing by cycling device/remote power
- Leverage the Roku mobile app’s software remote
- Consider a universal remote for expanded functionality
- Control Roku with Alexa, Google Assistant voice commands
With this wide range of pairing options, you’re equipped to get your Roku remote connected again anyways, even without a dedicated pairing button available. Stay calm, be patient, and have fun exploring additional Roku home theater hacks and tricks.