If you’re a Google Home user, you probably love the idea of controlling as many things as possible in your house with just your voice. The thing is, if you’re also a Roku user, it can leave a huge disconnect in your “Hey Google, <do the thing with the TV>” experience.
But it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. By using an Android app called Quick Remote on your phone, you can use Google Assistant to do rudimentary things on Roku.
What to Expect from Quick Remote
If you’re ever used another TV product you can control with your voice—like Android TV, for example—then you may have some notion of what to expect from Quick Remote. But I’ll tell you right now: keep those expectations in check.
Quick Remote is a very simple voice control solution for Roku. You can’t tell it to do things like “Turn on the TV” like you can with Android TV, but you can use it to do basic things like pause the TV, launch specific apps, along with basic remote control commands like “move up one, and right two, and select.” It can get a little awkward, but hey—it works in a pinch.
How to Set up Quick Remote
First things first: go ahead and install Quick Remote on your phone if you haven’t already. Make sure your phone and Roku are on the same wireless network, then fire up the app and accept the license agreement to get started.
It should automatically search for active Roku devices on your network. Tap on “Select a Roku” at the bottom, then choose your Roku to connect to it.
From here, you could just use your phone as a remote control for the Roku. But that’s not what we’re here for—we’re here for Google Assistant integration. To do that, tap on “Sign into Google Home” at the top.
This will bring up Android’s account picker. Select the one that you use to sign into your Google Home.
Boom, you’re in.
Using Quick Remote to Control Your Roku
To get started with Assistant and Quick Remote, say “OK Google, let me talk to Quick Remote.”
This will open the Quick Remote interface on Assistant. From there, give it a command. Try telling it to “Start Netflix.”
Netflix should start up. If you only have one command, you can also say “Hey Google, tell Quick Remote to start Netflix” and it should do the same thing.
That’s really the gist of Quick Remote. You can tell it to launch specific apps, and it should do it without issues. If it has trouble understanding you, open the Quick Remote app, tap the menu button in the upper right, and choose Channels.
This will open a list of all channels installed on your Roku, where you can add “other names” for any given app. This will make it easier for Quick Remote to understand you.
Like I mentioned earlier, you can also navigate your Roku’s main interface with Quick Remote. Say “Hey Google, let me talk to Quick Remote,” then “go right, go down, and select.” Keep in mind that you’ll have to repeat commands to move more than once space at at time; for example, it can’t understand “move right twice,” so you have to say “move right, move right” then finish the command. It’s not the most intuitive thing, and honestly it may just be easier to use the Quick Remote app interface (or the Roku remote) for stuff like that.
If you want to send multiple commands to Quick Remote, you can tell it to “wait.” So, “Hey Google, tell Quick Remote to launch Netflix and wait,” which will prompt it to execute the first command, then continue listening for your next command. This is an easier way of stringing together more complex commands.
Speaking of, you can find a full list of Quick Remote commands here. Experiment with it!
Finally, if you get tired of saying “Hey Google, let me talk to Quick Remote” or “Hey Google, tell Quick Remote to…” every time you want to send a command, you can set up shortcuts in the Google Home app. These are simplified commands that are translated into something longer—kind of like the “text replacement” feature on software keyboards.
To do this, fire up the Google Home app, then open the menu. Choose “More settings.”
Tap on “Shortcuts.”
Press the plus button in the bottom right to add a new shortcut.
This is where things get fun, because you can customize the command. So you can keep it simple and straightforward, or as quirky as you want. I’ll go with the former for this example, but you do you.
In the first box, enter what you want to say. For example, I’m using “pause the Roku.” I find it’s helpful to use the mic button and actually say the command here instead of typing it out. You can also add multiple versions of the command if you’d like.
In the “Google Assistant should do” section, give the full command. So in this case, it’ll be “Tell Quick Remote to pause.”
From now on, instead of saying “Hey Google, tell Quick Remote to Pause,” I can just say “Hey Google, pause the Roku.” It will do the same thing. Perfect.
There’s actually a lot you can do with Quick Remote and Google Assistant when it comes to controlling your Roku, but you’ll have to spend the time learning and customizing to make the most of it. It’s not quite as intuitive as some of the native functions and integrations with Home, like controlling Android TV, but it’s definitely nice to have if you use Assistant and have a Roku.