Saturday, July 3, 2021

Those Roku remote buttons

As one who frequents the Roku support boards, I have seen many complaints about the buttons on the Roku remotes. If you aren't sure what I'm talking about, it's the four buttons on the lower portion of the Roku remotes that act as shortcut buttons for certain apps.

Roku sells space on the remotes to services/apps and if you purchase a remote that has these buttons -- and for some time, that's been all of the remotes -- then you have quick access to those apps, whether you want that quick access or not.

For example, the remote I normally use for my Roku has Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and Vudu buttons. I never use the buttons. The one I would use the most would be Hulu. I would not use Netflix, as I no longer subscribe to Netflix. I don't even have the app on my Roku. But I have the button on my remote.

I understand the frustration some people have with the buttons. Most of the complaints fall into two categories:

  • Accidentally pressing the buttons
  • Wanting to reprogram the buttons

Roku pretty much takes the attitude that if you don't want to use the buttons then don't use the buttons. They also won't consider allowing the reprogramming since it's a revenue stream. If a service pays for the buttons, they should get the buttons for the life of the remote, not just until the user opens the box.

I understand and actually agree with Roku's position. If I bought and paid for buttons, I wouldn't like it if Roku allowed someone to reprogram them. If Roku turned them into simply reprogrammable buttons, then it's no longer a revenue stream. Making money is actually the purpose of being in business. Some people don't get that.

As for accidentally pushing a button, I am in the camp of don't push the button. Learn to use a remote. And quit whining because you can't.

Harsh? Yeah, maybe. But if your biggest problem in life is that you can't stop pressing a button you don't to press, you're problems aren't that big. You're in pretty good shape.

I do wish Roku would take Amazon's approach to the on-device advertising. You know how Amazon offers tablets with discounts if you allow advertising? Or you can pay more and skip the advertising? That would allow those that hate the buttons to not have the buttons and Roku not lose their advertising income.

Or, people can just deal with it. That's the approach I'm taking. My Streaming Life is good, and little things like this don't complicate it.

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