If you recently picked up a Roku streamer, or you’re considering getting one, chances are the features that drew you in were these: a massive content library and best-in-class search functionality (you can search across the likes of YouTube, Netflix, Google Play, and more all at once). They also tend to be, on the whole, among the best-reviewed streamers available.
But there’s more to each Roku model than its high-profile bells and whistles. Here’s a look at some of the best tricks and features you probably didn’t realize were hiding up your Roku’s sleeve.
Stream media from your smartphone or tablet
Want to share all those smartphone snapshots from your recent vacation with your dinner guests? Or the highlights from your kid’s last soccer game? Fire up the Roku app on your smartphone or tablet, tap Play On Roku, and select the photos or videos you want to view on the big screen.
Mirror your smartphone or PC to your TV
If you have an Android smartphone, Windows 8.1 tablet, or Windows 8.1 PC, you can go a step further and mirror your smartphone, tablet, or PC display directly to your Roku. The process is slightly different for each device. Click here to follow instructions for each scenario.
Use your smartphone as a Roku keyboard
Tired of using your Roku remote to navigate an on-screen keyboard, letter by letter? The Roku app on your smartphone has a built-in keyboard. Next time you’re prompted to type something in, just open the app and start the keyboard.
Use your smartphone for voice search
Of course, typing is always going to be slower than using your voice to search. But not all models of Roku have voice search built into the remote. The solution? Use the Roku app on your phone to enjoy voice search with any model of Roku.
Plug-in your headphones for private listening
Some models of Roku come with a remote, and some of these remotes include a 3.5mm headphone jack, so you can watch (and listen) to your movies and shows without disturbing other housemates. If you don’t have one of these models, some versions of Roku support this same feature through the Roku app on your smartphone.