One of the coolest features of recent Rokus—including the Roku Premier Plus, the Roku Ultra, and the slightly older Roku 3 and 4—is the headphone jack on the remote. If your Roku came with a set of headphones, you have this feature.
It’s pretty neat: plug in any headphones to your remote, and you can hear your TV’s audio from across the room. The relatively long-range on the Wi-Fi-based remote means you can probably walk around your house without missing anything.
There’s just one problem: it mutes your TV’s speakers. That’s fine most of the time, but what if you want to keep hearing the game in the garage while someone else keeps watching downstairs? Or extend your music into the backyard? A simple trick lets you pull this off, and you don’t even need any third-party software.
Update: This hidden trick isn’t officially supported by Roku, and it may be removed in the future. In fact, many Roku users report that it no longer works on the Roku Ultra since an update in October 2020. As of March 2021, it reportedly still works on other Roku models, such as the Roku 3 and Roku Streaming Stick.
Just plug in your headphone jack. You’ll see a volume icon on the right side of the screen, like this:
You’ll also hear the audio in your headphones, but not the speakers. Press the volume buttons on the side of the remote in this order:
Up Up Down Down Up Up Up Down Down Down
That’s Up twice, Down twice, Up three times, down three times. This secret code will allow your Roku to play audio on your TV’s speakers and your remote simultaneously. You’ll also briefly see a volume icon like this:
Now you’ve got the best of both worlds. One person can leave the room without missing anything, while another can keep watching on the TV itself. It’s a small thing, sure, but it’s bound to come in handy now and then. I like using plugging in a portable speaker as quick alternative to a whole-house audio system.
When you’re done, unplug the headphone jack. You’ll see this icon on the right:
Audio will now come from only the TV speakers. If you plug the headphone jack in again, you’ll need to re-enter the code.
There’s only one downside: depending on how much Wi-Fi interference there is in your house, the audio might not quite be in sync. This can be disorienting if you’re wearing your headphones while in the same room at the TV speakers, but once you leave the room you won’t notice at all.