Control your Roku box with free Android app

And just like its iOS counterpart, it's awesome! You get one-tap access to your favorite channels and an onscreen keyboard that makes searches a million times easier.

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
Roku for Android puts a full-featured remote (better than the one that comes with the box, actually) in your phone or tablet.
Roku for Android puts a full-featured remote (better than the one that comes with the box, actually) in your phone or tablet. Roku

I love me some Roku boxes. They're cheap, easy to use, and capable of streaming everything from HBO Go and Hulu Plus to Netflix and Pandora. Oh, and don't forget the awesome CNET TV channel, nudge-nudge, wink-wink.

Of course, another box means another remote, and Roku's clickers are so small they can easily vanish into the couch cushions, never to be seen again. (Well, unless you look.)

Here's a handy alternative: Roku for Android, which brings a full-featured remote to your Android phone or tablet. (It's also available for iOS.)

The app connects to your box via your home network. I quickly and easily linked my Republic Wireless LG Optimus S to both an older Roku XR and a new Roku LT.

I found Roku for Android superior to the stock remote in many ways. For one thing, it offers one-tap access to your subscribed channels, which beats the usual method of navigating to the Home screen and scrolling through the list. You can also browse the entire channel library and add/remove channels as desired. That's mighty convenient.

As for actual menu navigation, the app provides onscreen button controls that effectively mimic the actual remote. However, the Android version doesn't give you the option of a swipe-based interface like the iOS version. That's not a huge deal, but I like the swipe system because it makes it easier to keep your eyes on the TV, without having to glance down so often. Hopefully Roku will add that option in a future update.

Of course, the real perk here is the app-powered keyboard, which makes searches infinitely easier than navigating the Roku's own keyboard. That alone makes the app a must-have.

Indeed, I'd say that if you own a Roku box, you should definitely have the Roku app. If nothing else, it's a spare remote. And it's free, so there's literally no downside.