Tech Talk #210–Aug 5, 2023

You probably know what a Roku is. A streaming device that lets you use Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, and more, even if you don’t have a smart TV. And Roku often does a better job of streaming than a smart TV.

Why Roku? Because roku is number six in Japan, this was the sixth company Roku founder Anthony Wood started.

Anyway, right out of the box, Roku devices are simple to use, but like most electronics, there are some tweaks you can do to make it yours.

Change the theme

The default on a Roku device is a plain purple screen. But your Roku ships with many other themes. Here’s how to see the theme options on your Roku. Press the Home button on your remote. Scroll to Settings and select Theme. Scroll through the themes until you find one you like. Already downloaded themes have white check marks. The green check mark is your current theme.

Turn off menu sounds

The menu and remote make a confirmation noise as you move around the screen and press buttons. If it annoys you, you can make it keep quiet.

Press the Home button on your Roku remote. Choose the Settings option and select Audio. Choose Menu volume and select your preferred menu audio level, from High to off.

Clean up the home screen

The Roku home screen only has two parts: the menu sidebar and the channel grid. You can remove some things from the sidebar by pressing Home on your remote, then selecting Settings and Home Screen. You can remove choices you don’t want to appear on the screen from here.

You can also delete channels you don’t want from the channel grid. Move the cursor to a channel you want to eliminate and hold down the * key. Select Remove and confirm to remove the channel from your grid.

Disable (some) ads

Since Roku makes more money from ads than from sales of Roku devices, there are only two options here.

You can disable or reset your tracking ID by pressing the Home button, then selecting Settings. Now choose Privacy and then Advertising. Check the Limit ad tracking or choose the Reset advertising tracker option. Or both?

Stream from your phone or tablet

Did you know you can stream to your streaming device? It’s true. You can use screen mirroring to send whatever’s on your phone or tablet to your Roku. Well, you can if your Roku device runs OS 7.7 or later and your iOS devices run iOS 12.3 or later. Of course, both devices need to be on the Wi-Fi network.

Press the Home button on your remote. Go to Settings, then System, then Screen Mirroring. Now select Screen Mirroring Mode and Always Allow to keep it simple.

For iOS devices, there’s one more step. Press the Home button again and choose Settings. Go to Apple AirPlay and HomeKit and turn AirPlay on.

To mirror the screen from your iPhone or iPad, swipe down from the upper right corner to open Control Center. Now tap the screen mirroring icon (it looks like two screens next to each other.) Finally, choose your Roku from the device list and enter the code on the screen. Now anything on your phone or tablet’s screen will appear on your Roku.

Android devices allow screen mirroring, but it’s pretty device-specific. Google your particular Android phone or tablet for the exact steps necessary. You can also “cast” from Android devices, which is app-specific. Again, search for the steps for your device.

What’s a squirrel’s favorite way to watch TV?


Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has been providing Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at

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