What to do if you have problems with your Roku® remote

Background

Depending on which Roku® streaming player or Roku TV you own, you will have one of the following remotes:

  • Standard IR remote
  • Enhanced “point-anywhere” remote

Standard IR remotes use invisible Infra-Red (IR) light to transmit remote key presses. In order for IR remotes to operate reliably they must be pointed directly at the Roku device and there must be nothing that could block the signal from travelling from the remote to the front of the Roku device (where the IR receiver is located).

Enhanced “point-anywhere” remotes connect over your wireless network and do not need to be pointed directly at the Roku device in order to work. If you have a Roku® Streaming Stick® or a remote that supports voice search or private listening through a headphone jack on the remote, then you have an enhanced “point-anywhere” remote. Some other Roku devices also have “point-anywhere” remotes. 

See the section below on troubleshooting “point-anywhere” remotes for more ways to tell if you have this remote. You can also use this Roku device comparison chart to determine whether your Roku device model comes with a standard IR remote or “point anywhere” remote.

Roku Express and Roku Express+

There are special instructions for troubleshooting missed key presses on Roku Express and Roku Express+.

Roku devices with a standard IR remote

Standard IR remotes must be pointed directly at the front of your Roku streaming player or Roku TV. The most common reason for missed key presses is when the Roku device is located in a position where the signal from the remote is blocked (or partially blocked) from getting to the Roku device. The second most common problem is low or dead batteries.

To resolve problems with your standard IR remote, try the following:

  1. Make sure that you can see the front of your Roku device from where you are sitting and there is no visible obstruction between the Roku device and the remote.
    • Try holding your remote up higher and pointing it directly at the Roku device to ensure there is nothing to block the signal from the remote. If the remote now works, then you should move any obstacles blocking the signal from the remote to the Roku device, or if possible move your Roku device to a position where the remote will respond reliably.
  1. Try reseating the batteries
    • If the remote is still not responding or missing key presses, try removing the batteries from your remote and re-inserting them.
  1. Try replacing the batteries
    • If the remote is still not responding or missing key presses, try replacing the batteries in the remote.
  1. Try a new remote
    • If you think your remote is broken, you can a buy new one in the Roku accessory store.

Pro Tip: If you own a smartphone with a camera, you may be able to use it to see whether the remote is sending an IR signal or not. Smartphone cameras can “see” a wider range of light wavelengths than the human eye and can therefore detect infra-red light.  However, this will generally only work on smartphones with a front-facing camera. Put your smartphone into the camera mode as if you were taking a self-portrait (you should see yourself in the camera). Hold the remote control in front of the camera and press buttons on the remote. If you cannot see the IR signal flashing as you press buttons, then try replacing the batteries in the remote.

Roku devices with an Enhanced “point-anywhere” remote

Enhanced “point-anywhere” remotes connect over a wireless network and do not need to be pointed directly at the Roku device in order to work. During initial setup, “point-anywhere” remotes establish a connection with your Roku device; this process is called “pairing”. When your Roku remote is pairing you will see a message like this on the Roku device:

If you are not sure whether you have an Enhanced “point-anywhere” remote, open the battery compartment and check to see if there is a “pairing” button:

To resolve problems with your Enhanced “point-anywhere” remote, try the following:

  1. Try restarting your Roku device and remote
    • Open the battery compartment and remove the batteries from the remote.
    • Remove the power cable from the Roku device, wait 5 seconds and then re-connect the power cable.
    • When the Roku device displays the home screen, reinsert the batteries.
    • Wait for 30 seconds while the remote establishes a connection with your Roku device.
  1. Try re-pairing the remote
    • Open the battery compartment and remove the batteries from the remote.
    • Remove the power cable from the Roku device, wait 5 seconds and then re-connect the power cable.
    • When the Roku device displays the home screen, reinsert the batteries.
    • Press and hold the pairing button inside the remote for 3 seconds or until you see the pairing light in the remote begin to flash. If the light does not flash, try again. If the light still does not flash, then you will need to replace your batteries (see below).
    • Wait for 30 seconds while the remote establishes a connection with your Roku device.
    • The remote pairing dialog should appear on your TV screen.
  1. Try replacing the batteries
    • Open the battery compartment and remove the old batteries from the remote.
    • Remove the power cable from the Roku device, wait 5 seconds and then re-connect the power cable.
    • When the Roku device displays the first screen, insert new batteries.
    • Wait for 30 seconds while the remote establishes a connection with your Roku device.
    • The remote pairing dialog should appear on your TV screen.
  1. Try replacing your remote

A note about the Roku® Streaming Stick®

Since your Roku Streaming Stick can be connected directly to an HDMI® port on your TV, wireless interference from the HDMI connector can sometimes impact remote performance. If you are using a Roku Streaming Stick, try moving it away from the HDMI connector on your TV by using a free extension cable to connect the Roku Streaming Stick to your TV.

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