Philips' new universal remote for Roku and Fire TV is stupefyingly simple

(Image credit: Philips)

As a category, universal remote controls are stagnating. Apart from Logitech, few companies are making new universal remotes, and with good reason. With the rise of streaming devices, most consumers can get what they need now with the remote that comes with their smart TV. 

Still, standalone Roku and Fire TV devices are very popular, but there's one problem: They communicate with their remotes via Bluetooth, something most basic universal remotes lack. 

In an effort to clear up your coffee table's clutter, Philips has come up with a deceptively simple and cheap solution for combining multiple remotes. The Philips Universal Companion Remote ($24.99) has a recess on its underside into which you can slide a remote for either a Roku or a Fire TV. 

(Image credit: Philips)

So if you're watching cable TV, for instance, you can use the front side of the remote to change the volume, switch channels and set your DVR. The remote can be programmed to control up to four devices. Then when you want to use your Fire TV, just flip it over and you've got that device's remote all ready to go.

While I'm not sure of the ergonomics of feeling a bunch of buttons on the underside of your remote and having to control the volume using a pair of buttons along the side, this remote solves a simple problem cheaply. 

The Philips Universal Companion Remote will work with Amazon Fire TV devices (second generation and later), and the Roku Express+, Premiere+, Streaming Stick and Streaming Stick+. 

We're interested to see how it performs in the real world, and if it's worthy of our list of the best universal remotes.

Be sure to check out all of our CES 2020 coverage for the latest news and hands-on with all the hot products coming out this year.

Mike Prospero
U.S. Editor-in-Chief, Tom's Guide

Michael A. Prospero is the U.S. Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide. He oversees all evergreen content and oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories for the site. In his spare time, he also tests out the latest drones, electric scooters, and smart home gadgets, such as video doorbells. Before his tenure at Tom's Guide, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, the Times of Trenton, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where he worked on the campus newspaper The Heights, and then attended the Columbia University school of Journalism. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight — or chagrin — of his family.