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You can now control Roku directly from your Apple Watch


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Image: Roku

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Zenith Radio Corporation released the first commercial television remote control in 1950. It was dubbed “Lazy Bones” because it solved the relatively trivial problem of having to walk the five steps required to change the station. When I heard about Roku’s new Apple Watch app, I couldn’t help but think about that quirky factoid of technological trivia, and how history repeats itself.

Think about it: Roku’s replaced something that was initially conceptualized and marketed as a lazy, frivolous convenience with something lazier, more frivolous, and way more convenient. Oh, how I love the 21st Century.

As you’d expect, the Roku Apple Watch app lets you control every facet of your streaming box, allowing you to switch channels and pause playback with ease. Crucially, it enables you to do that without desperately hunting for a tiny remote control that’s, let’s face it, probably buried within the deepest recesses of your couch. You can thank Roku app development partners like Zemoga for innovative features like these.

The app experience bears a strong resemblance to the official Roku mobile app

For fans of the affordable OTT streaming boxes, the learning curve will be virtually nonexistent. The Roku Apple Watch app also allows you to control the volume on your TV by twisting the circular crown.

Predictably, the app also has some accommodation for the Apple Watch’s postage-stamp-sized display. To spare you from awkwardly thumbing your watch to find your latest channels, it comes with voice search baked-in. On launch, it shows you the last channels you watched, allowing you to find the content you care about without much fuss.

Roku announced its Apple Watch app over the weekend, and it’s gradually rolling out to users beyond the United States, including those residing in the United Kingdom. To get this, update your Roku iOS app to the latest version (6.1.3), and it’ll automatically show up on your watch provided you haven’t disabled the “Automatic App Install” setting.

It’s been a massive year for Roku, today’s news notwithstanding. In the face of stiff competition from Apple and Amazon, the company continues to release new devices, with the latest cohort announced just two months ago. At the lower end, there’s the pocket-friendly Roku Express, which is one-tenth of the size of last year’s model. The firm has also paid attention to its high-end devices, with the Roku Ultra receiving an updated quad-core processor and a customizable remote.

What do you think? Plan on using the Roku Apple Watch app? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Matthew Hughes is a journalist from Liverpool, England. His interests include security, startups, food, and storytelling. Past work can be found on The Register, Reason, The Next Web, and Wired.

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