Appolicious powers Verizon Educational Tools

Roku Android app is a useful complement to your TV viewing

by Ian Black

Nowadays, you don’t need someone to build a better TV remote, you just need a better app. The Roku app provides the benefits of a more useful remote control for the Roku and you can download it for free from the Google Play Store.

After the download, just enter the Roku username and password you used to sign-up for the service. As long as your Android device and your Roku reside on the same Wi-Fi network, you’re good to go. The app will begin searching for Roku devices as soon as you’ve logged in. The app found my Roku 2 XD in seconds and the pairing of the app to the Roku device worked without a hitch.

Controlling the Roku was simple, far easier than the little remote that came with the Roku box. You’ll see the same keys on the app as the physical remote but they are bigger and easier to tap. In addition, the app features one-touch access to the Roku home screen, which includes all of your subscribed channels, and the Roku channel store where you can sign up for more. What’s great about these tabs is the ability to scout out new and existing channels without interrupting what you are currently watching. My only complaint: With a touch-screen you do miss out on the tactile feedback a physical remote control provides, so you’ll need to glance down at your Android to see what key you’re tapping.

I had initially thought that the app would also greatly improve typing by using the Android’s virtual keyboard rather than the hunt-and-peck of typing on a TV-style interface with a remote. And while the app does add that capability and does it well, this doesn’t improve your life much because Roku designed the interface for almost no typing, mostly it’s just moving up, down, right, and left as you scroll through shows and movies.