So you got the Roku 4 and want to know its hidden features. Or maybe you own an older player, like the Roku 3, and haven't yet used it to its full potential.
No worries. It's never too late to dig in and explore what your player can do.
To help you get the most of your set-top box, we've rounded up 14 cool things you likely didn't know were possible on the Roku platform. For instance, we've included a tip on how to stream local media from your devices. We've also mentioned tricks like how to rearrange your streaming channels or transform your TV screen into a cracking fireplace. Check out them out below.
Let us know in the comments if we missed anything. Also, keep checking back, because we plan to update this piece over time.
Rearrange your streaming channels
When you add streaming channels, they are automatically arranged by default on your home screen. But you can rearrange them to how you prefer. Just select the channel from your My Channels section, then click the options button (*), and select Move channel.
Add a new theme to your home screen
The default Roku theme is pretty shade of purple, but if you'd like to switch it up, go to Settings, then Themes, and try one of the other free themes (including Graphene, Decaf, Nebula, or Daydream). Roku also recently added a Themes category to the Roku Channel Store.
Transform your TV with a screensaver
Like themes, Roku offers extra screensavers under settings (Settings > Screensaver). You can also go to the Screensavers category in the Channel Store to get even more screensavers, such as Presto's cracking fireplace.
Use your mobile device as a remote
Every Roku player comes with a physical remote.
But if you lose it or for whatever reason don't feel like using it, you can use the Roku mobile app for Android or iOS as a powerful Roku control center. Once installed on your mobile device, it lets you browse, add, and rate channels. You can also use it to enter text using your device's own keyboard, or stream content from your mobile device. It even works with all Roku players.
Voice search without the remote
The new Roku 3 and Roku 4 each have a physical remote with a mic and search button for voice-searching.
You can use it to find movies, TV shows, actors, and directors from nearly 20 top streaming channels, including Netflix and Hulu Plus. But this feature is also available through the Roku mobile app for Android and iOS and is supported by current-generation players and Roku TV models.
From the Roku mobile app, select Search from the main menu, and then “Voice” to get started. Go here for more detailed instructions.
Rename your Roku players
Those of you with multuple Roku players in your home can log into your Roku.com account and rename your devices, making it easier for you to differentiate your players when using the Roku mobile app or casting from Netflix or YouTube.
Click Rename under the My linked devices section and follow the prompts.
Instant replay captions
Have you ever watchED a movie and couldn't understand a character’s dialogue due to mumbling? Simply press the replay button and the subtitles will pop up. But you have to enable the feature first (Settings > Captions > click on “Instant replay”).
Record antenna content
Roku offers channels beyond streaming services. For instance, Simple.tv and Tablo TV allow you to watch, pause, and record live TV (over-the-air TV programmes via an antenna) on your Roku player or Roku TV model.
Screen mirror from your your phone
Similar to Apple's AirPlay feature, Roku lets you mirror stuff from your phone to your TV. Check out Roku's screen mirroring beta for Microsoft Windows and Android devices. It provides an easy way to mirror videos, apps, web sites, and more from your device to a TV via your Roku.
You can learn more about how to started with Roku's screen mirroring beta from here.
Stream music, photos, and videos from your phone
Roku's mobile app (for Android, iOS or Windows Phone) doubles as a remote control. It's also loaded with features, such as Play On Roku, which lets you to stream music, photos, and videos saved on your phone to your Roku.
Just click “Play On Roku” from the pull-down menu in the mobile app, and then choose the type of content you wish to stream. Keep in mind you can use other apps while streaming, but if you're mirroring, everything you see on your phone display will appear on your TV.
Play files from your local network or USB drive
Some Roku players have a USB port so you can plug in a USB drive and play back personal video, music, and photo files stored on the drive. You just need the Roku Media Player channel to do so. The channel also lets you play back files from a DLNA server on your local network.
Cast from YouTube and Netflix
YouTube and Netflix both feature a cast button that allow you to send video from those apps to your TV. Download the apps to your phone as well as your Roku Player, and then tap the cast button from the mobile apps. Your devices must be connected on the same Wi-Fi network.
Expand storage capacity for channels
If run out of storage space for channels on your Roku player, insert a microSD card into the microSD slot on the back of the unit.
It can only be used to store channel information, thus enabling your Roku to load channels faster. It can't be used to store video files or other content. When the card is installed, the card will automatically be formatted.
Go here to learn more about installing a microSD card on a Roku.
Add private channels
Did you know there are unofficial channels you can install to your Roku player?
Private channels are not displayed publicly because they might have adult content, still be in beta, or maybe they're an unofficial third-party channel for a service without an app. You won’t find them when you browse the channel store, so you'll need to install them with a code or link.
Private channels can be added through the Roku website. Sign into your Roku account, then go to the My Account page, and select Add a Private Channel under Manage Account. You can then enter the channel access code and select "Add Channel". You can find private channels to add through sites like channelstore.roku.com, RokuGuide.com, StreamFree.tv, and RokuChannels.tv.
Want to know more?
Roku offers this cheat sheet with 101 other helpful tips and tricks.