If a new leak (first written by The Streamable (opens in new tab)) is to be believed, Roku may have just released a new feature-rich version of its remote that's worth paying attention to. Titled the Roku Voice Remote Pro, it will house "hands-free voice controls," a rechargeable battery and a lost remote finder.
Unfortunately, according to users on Reddit (opens in new tab), the listing seems to already have been taken down, with some claiming it's on backorder. Curiously, the leaked image embedded below also shows blank buttons where branded ones might be. This likely is an error on Roku's part, as this product may have been unveiled a tad prematurely. When it is officially unveiled, it will probably feature services such as Netflix, Sling and others.
The Streamable did reach out to Roku and was given the following statement: “We’re always working on bringing new products and features to Roku users, and part of that process is publicly testing new ideas with a small set of our customers.”
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The Roku Voice Remote Pro looks remarkably similar to the one that comes with the Roku Ultra. That means users will get two customizable shortcuts, TV controls, a headphone jack for private listening and a mute button.
Roku makes an excellent streaming user interface. It's why we believe Roku beats every other streaming device, including ones from Amazon, Google and Apple.
So far, the Roku Voice Remote Pro is only available to members of the company’s Early Access Program, and will set users back $30. That’s the same price as the entry-level Roku Express, for those keeping score. The small print also says that only 2,000 of these will be sold, and according to Reddit, the offer page has already been taken down.
That means you won’t be getting one of these anytime soon, even if you are already a Roku early access member.
Per the small print at the bottom of the screen, it says “channel pre-set buttons vary." This likely means that different regions get different streaming services pre-programmed on remotes. While users on Reddit wished Roku would make all these buttons programmable, customers will likely only be allowed to customize the "1" and "2" buttons. It's annoying as I constantly find myself accidentally hitting the Sling button, which asks me to download the service.
This remote would be appealing to those that have a cheaper Roku device, like the Express or Premiere, assuming there's compatibility. That said, if you have a more expensive Roku streamer, you’ll likely have a lot of these features already.
Luckily, Roku batteries tend to last a long time. It's hard to recall the last time I had to change mine. The good thing with the Voice Remote Pro is that it shows Roku is willing to improve and listen to its customers.
Because this product is currently being tested with a small number of Roku customers, it's possible a final version will become fully available sooner rather than later.
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