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Will Roku Ultra Remote Work With Roku Express?

Last Updated Jul 7, 2022
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If you have a Roku Express, you might be wondering if your Roku Ultra remote will work with it along with your Roku Ultra device. A Roku Express has many of the same capabilities as the Roku Ultra, so it’s reasonable to assume that you can also use it with remote and voice commands.

The Roku Ultra remote will work with a Roku Express to let you operate the Roku with voice commands. The Roku Ultra remote is an IR remote that works interchangeably with all Roku devices that are compatible with IR remotes, and doesn’t require pairing with the device.

The Roku Ultra remote is only one type of Roku remote that will work with the Roku Express. Read on to learn more about the types of remotes used with Roku devices and how to use one with your Roku Express.

Types of Remotes for Roku Use

Roku remotes can generally be broken down into two major categories: IR (infrared) and enhanced. IR remotes are also known as simple remotes.

The stock remote that comes with the Roku Ultra is a simple IR remote, which makes it compatible with any of the Roku devices except the Roku Streaming Stick series. If you need a remote for Roku Express, this means a Roku Ultra remote will do the trick.

Are Roku Remotes Interchangeable?

Roku remotes are largely interchangeable between models, with a few key exceptions:

  • IR Roku remotes can’t be used with Roku Streaming Stick
  • Enhanced Roku remotes are not compatible with some older Roku models

As long as you have a remote that is compatible with the Roku Ultra, it should also be compatible with the Roku Express.

Is There a Universal Roku Remote?

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a universal Roku remote. Some Roku models function with a simple IR remote and manual commands, while others are designed to be operated with an enhanced remote that features voice commands.

What Remotes Will Work With Roku Express?

Any simple IR Roku remote will work with Roku Express. You can use either the stock IR remote that came with your Roku Ultra, or you can purchase a third-party IR remote to control your Roku Express.

Enhanced and Simple Remotes for Roku

Other than figuring out which remotes are compatible with which Roku devices, there are a few key differences in how IR remotes and enhanced remotes operate. Here are the main changes you’ll note when going between a simple and an enhanced Roku remote

  • Simple IR remotes have to be within line-of-sight of the Roku device in order for the device to receive commands from them.
  • Enhanced remotes don’t need line-of-sight to operate because they operate on radio frequency (RF) signals.
  • Simple IR remotes are not capable of delivering voice commands.

The easiest way to tell the difference between a simple and an enhanced remote is to look at the remote itself. If the remote has a red light on the end of it that lights up when the buttons are pressed, it is an IR remote. If the remote doesn’t have this light and has a voice activation button, it is likely an enhanced remote.

How to Pair a Roku Remote to Roku Express

The main advantage of an IR remote for controlling the Roku Express is that it doesn’t require pairing with the Roku’s signal like an enhanced remote would. Instead, the IR remote is automatically paired with the Roku Express. You can immediately begin using the Roku Ultra remote with the Roku Express without formally connecting them.

Troubleshooting Roku IR Remote Issues with Roku Express

If you’re having trouble using your Roku Ultra remote with your Roku Ultra, it isn’t a matter of compatibility. Chances are there is something else interfering with the remote’s ability to communicate with the Roku device.

Here are some possible causes for your Roku Ultra remote not working with the Roku Express:

  • The remote is dead. If the batteries in the remote are dead, this will prevent the remote from being able to make a connection with the Roku device. This problem can be solved by replacing the batteries. In rechargeable remotes, the remote should be charged up on a micro-USB cord.
  • There is something blocking the signal. Because simple Roku remotes operate with IR technology, this means even the glass doors on an entertainment console can deflect the incoming signal and prevent the remote from working correctly. Make sure that there is nothing blocking line-of-sight between the remote and the Roku Express.
  • The remote needs to be reset. With a simple remote, the method for resetting it involves removing the batteries or power source, waiting thirty seconds, and replacing the batteries. This can sometimes resolve connection issues between the IR remote and Roku devices.

Addressing these two potential issues is usually enough to get your Roku remote working again. However, if you continue to have problems after checking for these problems, some other hardware in the remote may be malfunctioning. Trying a backup remote on the Roku Express can tell you whether the problem is an issue with the remote or with the Roku itself.  

Roku Ultra Remotes Are a Good Match for Roku Express

Although you can use any simple IR Roku remote with the Roku Express, if you already have an IR remote with your Roku Ultra, you’re in luck! Without having to do any special programming, you’re able to use this remote easily with both of your Roku devices.

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