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Roku TV remote questions

My aunt has some sever disabilities and has been moved into an assisted living place that has Riku TVs. She is having trouble with the Roku remote. So I have two questions, one, if she had a universal remote with a number pad and typed in, say, 23, would it skip to channel 23? If so, my follow up question is what is the best universal remote to use with a Roku TV. Large buttons are best.

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Roku Guru

Re: Roku TV remote questions

The very short answer to your question is that even with a universal remote with number buttons, the ROKU software is not equipped to receive and respond to those number button presses.

I myself, being elderly, with an elderly wife, am well aware not only of the current physical issues associated with having to use the abbreviated button array that a ROKU remote presents, but also the mind-set of an older person who assumes a TV is a TV, and there are such things as numbered channels.

The ROKU software assumes you are navigating around a browser page, and the buttons and even the whole organization of the remote is organized to support that mission.  I myself use universal remotes to control my TV and other devices, and, for an older person (like my wife who is NOT a retired engineer like I am), the additional non-functional buttons that are presented by a universal remote makes controlling a ROKU TV all that much more confusing.

The one strategy I might offer for you to try to teach your aunt is to bring up the channel guide, step to the left edge where channel numbers are shown.  Once there, holding the UP or DOWN button will allow her to scroll through the channel numbers till she reaches the desired channel.

(Note: I seem to have mis-placed the ROKU remote for my TV.  The universal remote allows one to hold the button to scroll through the channel guide.  Some folks report this does not happen with a ROKU remote).

If there s anything else I can try on your behalf to make your Aunt's life easier, please let me know.

Roku Guru

Re: Roku TV remote questions

@terycoils82 wrote: if she had a universal remote with a number pad and typed in, say, 23, would it skip to channel 23? 

I'm sorry, no. Someone noticed their tv recognized a remote's number keys, and even changed the channel unpredictably. Myself and another confirmed our TVs recognized the numbers (displayed them) but couldn't reproduce any channel changing. 

This caused some speculation that Roku is implementing the functionality. I think it might just be some zombie remnant of the tv. The numbers displayed a different (odd, imo) color. They didnd't look like it was part of Roku. Customers have been asking for a numeric remote for YEARS. Roku has ignored them. 

what is the best universal remote to use with a Roku TV. Large buttons are best.

The URC-7935 might be a little larger than the Roku remote. There is a Roku enhanced voice remote which she could speak into "go to channel 5 point 1" (something like that). I don't know if those work with every Roku tv. You'd have to invesgitate that. They use wifi/bluetooth, not IR. She wouldn't have to deliberately point it at the tv. But, there's at least an initial pairing process. Not as simple as an IR remote.

What is she having trouble with? The reason I ask, Roku's recent 9.4 update, in addition to being untested, it significantly destroyed antenna tv. (Roku doesn't care.). It's much harder to navigate channels. Continuously holding down the up/down remote button doesn't work anymore. (You have to press once for each channel.). Favorites are gone. That was a relatively simple way to hop around the few channels you watch. The most stunning thing is that 1000+ streaming channels were crammed into antenna tv with no way to hide the ones you'd never watch. You can only hide *all* of them. So, the care facility has those on, that could be very frustrating.

If it's something like that, one workaround is left-arrow to the guide, the up/down buttons work continuously (and fast). Also, the << & >> will scroll by page.

Something else that can be done is to factory-reset the tv (home>settings>system>advanced) but tell the tv you'll setup the internet later (but don't ever do it). This installs a minimal, seemingly older version of the software. Continuous channel changing works. Favorites are back. Audio leveling is back (that could be useful in a facility. Leveling tones down the jarringly louder commercials so others aren't disturbed by someone watching a tv. Roku wants everyone jarred.). Captions on mute works again. Last summer it broke. When you unmute, captions stay on. That too could be useful in a shared environment.

I've done it to my two Roku TVs. For me, the real benefit is that the tvs are now protected from future untested software updates. Basically they're dumb tvs now. I have connected a $22 Firestick Lite to stream through HDMI. The downside to that is having two remotes. I think I've found a universal to work with this. It's on the way.

I feel sorry for anyone in a care facility forced to watch Roku TVs. That seems cruel. The facility's investment in TVs is at risk every moment of the day. Just one update and those tvs can go into a permanent recovery loop that Roku's in denial about, green screens, black screens. If the recent 9.4 untested update is what made your mother's antenna tv experience unpleasant, I would definitely consider the factory-reset (no network). If streaming isn't used there, this would be a no-brainer choice. The only possible downside is that there's no guide. The channel's programming info (which is broadcasted) displays when you change to a channel. But, there's no guide to see what's on adjacent channels, or in the next hours. That doesn't bother me. I use zap2it or titantv from my phone or laptop. But, in your mom's case, that might be a drag.

"People are often amazed at how much we’ve done with the number of engineers we’ve got." (Roku CEO Anthony Wood, Austin Statesman, Oct 4, 2019). "Amazed" is one way of putting it.
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