I’m turning into my father and it’s causing me to see why he was a grumpy old man.
The remote control on my Roku Premiere began to give me problems early last week but the fact that it was coming to it’s final days of life really didn’t surprise me. I got the Roku Premiere from Roku to do a review on it shortly after it was released and it’s been a great device for the almost two years that it’s been in my possession. Nor do I wish to imply that the Roku remote control is of shoddy quality. Truth is that I’m pretty hard on my remote controls.
I’ve got a habit of clicking the battery cover when I’m holding any remote control in my hand. This usually results in the need to use scotch tape to hold it in place. But not my Roku remote. My battery cover was almost as tight as the day I got it. Another nasty habit includes chewing on the purple tab at the bottom of the remote. After two years of this strange abuse the tab was still whole albeit missing the white Roku text on the purple cloth.
What went wrong?
My needing to replace this remote control is no doubt due to my clumsiness. This poor black magic wand that gives me access to all my favorite streaming services has been dropped on the floor more times then I care to count. Some spills have been so severe that the earlier mentioned battery cover ended up located on the opposite side of the room. It would be missing until I’d find the elusive piece of plastic when I needed to sweep or vacuum under an item. One week was exceptionally rough on me when I couldn’t do my ritual battery cover “clicking” while watching CBSN.
I don’t want to give the impression that I violently throw it across the room. I’m just a clumsy oaf. Some of the abuse my remote controls experience includes having various liquids and foods spilled onto them. I’m pretty sure that this one is the one that managed to find its way into my glass filled with Iced Tea. I have no doubt that it’s even been located in the refrigerator once or twice. I’ve been known to try putting it in my pajamas pocket when heading to the kitchen to get an item, but totally miss the pocket completely resulting in the familiar smack of plastic hitting a hard floor. Or those occasions when I’m spinning it between my thumb and index finger like a fidget spinner and it bounces of the furniture and again creates that all to familiar sound to me after behaving like a wayward basketball.
I desperately want 70’s shag carpeting to make a comeback if for no other reason then to get an extra year or two of life out of my remote controls and God help me if my TV remote fails because I’ve not been able to find a universal remote that will give me access to most of the features of my TV!
But I digress…
The issue that made me realize that my remote was nearing its final stages of life was that the directional pad was causing problems. Up, left & right all worked, but down and the asterisk key would only work if smacked against my palm several times. In my younger days, I probably would milk it that way for as long as I could, but I’ve realized as I’ve gotten older that when an item starts telling you that it’s failing that it’s often best to just replace it right away rather than to ‘make do’. Besides, using only the up key can be a royal pain in the butt.
And it’s right here where I realized that I do sound like my pa when he was alive.
I feel obligated to point out that the Roku Premiere came from the factory with the infrared remote control. Not that I had any concerns about the infrared version. In many ways, it’s my preferred remote because if in my fidgeting or clumsiness I hit the sling button on my remote, it won’t always stop mid news story and go to the button I accidentally hit unless it just happens to be pointed directly at the device, which with me is a rare feat.
One fateful evening I couldn’t immediately locate my sister’s Roku stick remote while babysitting so I just used the app on my cell phone. But oddly the Roku would suddenly change to the home screen or Hulu or Netflix or sling or… well you get the picture.
After convincing myself that it had to be my lovely niece or nephew screwing with their Uncle and chewing them out, I realized that it happened whenever I shifted position on the couch. The missing remote was finally located beneath the cushion. That reminds me, I need to apologize to my niece for making her cry.
Oh who am I kidding, she was most likely the responsible culprit for losing it in the sofa anyway, she deserved the chewing out even if it was for the wrong reason…
But it’s occurrences like this that gave me an appreciation for infrared remote controls over their radio frequency or its WiFi based counterparts. The infrared style would simply lay waiting until eventually discovered and not play with you in such a way.
But again, I digress…
Decisions to be made
So going to the Roku website I saw that my premiere remote could be upgraded to the same one used on the premiere plus or the Roku ultra. This would allow me to turn my TV on or off or change the volume with the newer remote, provided that it could mate. (See earlier concerns regarding universal remote.)
A fair price of $30, but it would only cost $15 to get the original remote.
I decided to upgrade, and it was then that a felt myself being possessed by my father from beyond the grave.
“SHIPPING AND HANDLING TOO?!? At that price I could almost buy a Roku stick with the remote giving me the same features and not wait a week to get it. Hell no I’m not paying that! I’ll just buy the $15 replacement thank you very much!”
After removing the selected item in protest I chose the cheapest remote and upon hitting the ‘go to checkout’ button it dawned on me… if they were gonna charge shipping and handling on this, what do you suppose it’s final price range is going to be?
The tally only confirmed my suspicions. For about $10 more I could just buy an Express and keep it as a backup if needed, but I would have it tonight before going to bed.
I concluded that the best thing to do was step away from my computer and sleep on it that night.
After smacking my Roku remote a few times and setting up a Plex playlist of movies, so I wouldn’t need to put more welts on the palm of my hand, I pondered over my current situation. Go to Wal-Mart tomorrow and purchase a new Roku or to place an order for a replacement remote control and hope that it would only take a week to arrive.
When I woke up the next morning I grudgingly went to the Roku website and dutifully paid them $37.78 (shipping and handling along with Iowa ripping me off too) and gave them my credit card information, I then went to the Wal-Mart website to confirm my fears that for just a few more bucks I could have easily stopped at Wal-Mart electronics during my grocery shopping run and gotten a new Roku stick that came with a remote that would do the same thing I purchased online, but the downside is that it would only work on the Roku Stick.
I can hear my dad’s voice from his grave, “These damn business are ripping us off!”
I know I shouldn’t be so critical. Truth is that this isn’t the first time I ordered a replacement remote from Roku, several years ago my mom’s dogs decided to use my remote as a chew toy when we left them alone at my place to go out to eat. But back then the cheapest Roku was $50 & the replacement remote only cost $10, plus it didn’t have the four instant access buttons at the bottom!
(BONUS!!) I ordered two of them because I had two TVs at the time with a Roku connected to each one. I figured it was a good idea because… well if you actually read this, you know why it was a good idea. I needed it just a few short weeks after I purchased it because… well… because I’m hard on remote controls. Oddly one replacement, coming up on almost 10 years of faithful service is still in use. Obviously not by me but the short version is that I gave it away with the accompanying Roku I purchased it for and the Roku eventually died from use. He upgraded to a new Roku and discovered that the remote worked on his new Roku and keeps it handy because he has a young child who likes to misplace remote controls.
But it still bothers me a little that it seems that half of the cost for a Roku is the remote control now, especially considering that the only difference between the first generation remote control and the Express remote is… well… nothing really. Sure, it’s more ergonomic in shape, but it’s the exact same remote control. You can use the Express remote control on the first generation devices or the first generation remote control will work on every Roku built other than the multiple stick models.
I’ve had my new remote control for a couple of days now and despite my concerns it does work on my TV. I can turn my TV on or off or alter my volume using my new fancy replacement and it does give me the piece of mind knowing that I can place my TV remote up so that it’s less likely smack a hard floor with just a thin sheet of carpeting to protect it. Now it will only be used on the rare occasion when I change from one source to another. But I couldn’t help but notice that the replacement remote control didn’t come with batteries like it would have if I purchased a brand new Roku. Plus the good batteries that was in the old remote are AAA, the new remote takes AA.
That reminds me, I need to dig out the scotch tape to better secure the TV remote battery cover…
While I confess that I’m not dissatisfied with my choice, I’m still not convinced that I made the correct one. I find myself wondering if perhaps I shouldn’t have just purchased a new Roku. I’m not worried that my current model has any flaw or is going to go out of date anytime soon. It’s 4K capable, even if it isn’t connected to a 4K TV set. Its got a quad-core processor and makes my first Roku LT and XD models I owned feel like a Yugo that entered in the Indy 500.
I do have this habit of loaning or giving out Roku’s to individuals like candy to a bunch of beggars on Halloween. So having an extra one on hand can prove to be handy when someone I know says “Roku? What’s a Roku!” Besides, I’ve been looking at the Roku Ultra due to the remote control feature that it has because… well… I don’t really need to go there, do I? Not to mention that I may soon be getting a second TV set.
But more than anything else, I think what I’m the maddest about is that I’m sounding like my dad and I can sense the eye rolling from a younger generation. But I suspect I’ll be touching up on this topic again. Like I said I’ll probably be getting a second TV set early next year so I’ll be facing a new dilemma. Do I go with a Roku TV with a Mi Box attached to it or an Android TV with a Roku attached to it?