How to Control Sound Bars With a Roku TV Remote
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Considering televisions are so expensive, the speaker systems on them are surprisingly poor. The problem is primarily caused by the space available. As TVs become progressively thinner, the speakers themselves have less room to work with, so we end up with a shallow “tinny” sound.

As such, audiophiles and cinephiles have taken to external sound bars. In many cases, they provide fuller and richer sounds than TV sets are capable of. And you don’t have to spend a fortune on top-end models like Sonos! Mid-range models are more than excellent.

However, if you use a media streaming box like Roku, not being able to control the volume with your remote is annoying. Here’s how to get your Roku remote working with a sound bar.

ARC Over HDMI

Audio Return Channel (ARC) is an infrequently mentioned audio protocol. Today, it’s becoming increasingly prevalent in HD televisions.

If you use ARC over HDMI to connect your sound bar to your TV, Roku TV can use Consumer Electronics Control (CEC) to control the sound bar’s volume. Unfortunately, if you use optical cables to connect, you’re out of luck.

No ARC? No Worries

Even if the sound bar doesn’t have ARC support, the Roku TV remote could still work as long as the speaker supports HDMI. Navigate to Settings > System > Control other devices and turn on System Audio Control. If ARC isn’t being used on either end, the remote might still work.

If neither of these two methods works for you, you might be forced to buy a universal remote. The Logitech Harmony Ultimate is one of the best.

Harmony Ultimate One Harmony Ultimate One Swipe and tap color touch screen: Navigate TV, movies, music, games and your most frequently used commands with one touch Buy Now At Amazon $108.00

Did you get your remote working? Which setting worked for you? Let us know in the comments below.

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  1. Kevin Respecki
    August 22, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    Ditto on the Sideclick

  2. Tom
    August 22, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    What worked really well for us is the Sideclick remote. It has a clip on the right for the Roku remote and a single row of 8 or so IR buttons that you can learn from the existing remote(s), so you effectively still only have one remote to keep track of.