Sideclick soups up your media streamer's remote (hands-on)

This ingenious accessory is a must-have for anyone who owns a streaming media box such as Apple TV or Roku.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read

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True Bloom LLC

In my house, the streaming box is king. Sure, we still use the DVR from time to time, but a lot of our TV viewing is powered by Roku.

And that means juggling three remotes: one to turn on the TV (and switch to the correct input), one to control the volume on the sound bar and one for the Roku itself.

Too bad Roku's remote doesn't have some extra programmable buttons that could handle all that other stuff.

It does now. Sideclick is a universal-remote attachment for Amazon, Apple, Roku and Google Nexus streaming media devices. It's currently wrapping up its already-funded Kickstarter campaign, but I got the chance to fiddle with a working prototype. Spoiler alert: You want one.

I first wrote about the Sideclick back in April. Although I was super-enthused by it from the start, developer True Bloom LLC scrapped the original campaign, made a few (very worthwhile) changes to the product, then relaunched it.

The version I tested came with two clips: one for a Roku remote, the other for Apple TV. (You can pick the clip you want when it's time for your Sideclick to ship, and additional clips will be available for purchase -- probably for about $5 each.)

Program all eight buttons as you see fit. True Bloom LLC

That clip is really just a holder to marry your current remote to the Sideclick IR remote. The latter is fully programmable, and in my experience it was a breeze to set up the power and input buttons from my TV remote and volume buttons from my Zvox sound bar.

Because I don't typically use channel-up/down buttons, I programmed those to be "up" and "down" navigation buttons (for the onscreen input-select menu) and the "A" button as "OK." I haven't figured out yet what to do with the remaining "B" button, but I'll probably use it for Mute.

The Sideclick obviously adds some width to your streamer's remote, but not much; I found I could still do everything one-handed (it's thumb-friendly). My prototype's buttons were a little loose and mushy, but serviceable. I expect the finished product will have better buttons.

In the end, I cut three remotes down to one. The only real bummer is that it has no macro option, so you can't use the power button to, say, turn on both your TV and your receiver. Even so, the Sideclick is a brilliant idea that works exactly as advertised, and I'm planning to get one for every TV that has a streaming device connected (which is all of them).

As of now, with about two days left in the campaign, the best remaining early-backer option is $40 for two Sideclicks. Delivery is scheduled for December.