Skip to main content

Private listening on Roku: Listen to Roku TV with headphones

Private listening on the Roku app is a great feature for those looking to watch some late-night movies without disturbing family around them. This feature allows you to watch Roku TV and listen to it privately on your headphones that are connected to your phone or tablet. Any type of headphones will do: Bluetooth, earbuds, or wired ones plugged directly into your mobile device.

While this function does not carry over to other A/V gear connected to your TV (game systems, Blu-ray players, etc.), it's a fantastic way to experience Roku-specific movies and shows during the late-night hours when you don't want to wake up your family.

If you own a Roku device or are thinking of purchasing one, we've put together this guide to teach you how to use private listening on the Roku app and listen to your Roku TV with headphones. Grab your phone and your preferred headphones, and let's get started.




5 minutes

What You Need

  • Roku-enabled TV

  • Headphones or ear buds

  • Roku companion app on phone or tablet

Connect your headphones

Your headphones need to be attached to your mobile device. If you're using a pair of wired headphones or earbuds, ensure they are connected to the mobile device that your Roku app is on. If you're using Bluetooth headphones, make sure they're paired to your phone or tablet.

You also will want to check that your headphone volume is at a safe level.

The Roku app and the search keyboard.

The Roku app is required for private listening

The latest version of the Roku app is necessary when using the private listening feature. If you don't already have the app installed on your phone or tablet, go ahead and do so, and then log in.

Turn on private listening

After signing in, you'll find yourself on the Roku Channel home screen. You should see row after row of movies and TV shows that you can scroll through. Never mind the scrolling, though — what you actually want to do is tap Remote from the navigation bar. Then select the Headphone icon to activate private listening.

This is the toggle on/off for private listening. If your headphones (wired or Bluetooth) are connected correctly when you tap this button, the icon should change to an image of the same headphones but with audio wavelengths passing from one cup to another, along with a green status indicator displayed above the icon. This means that private listening is enabled.

You should also see a headphone icon displayed in the top-right corner of whatever TV your Roku device is connected to, indicating that private listening is now active.

Test that private listening is working

To test that private listening is working, go ahead and start a movie or TV show. Even if your TV speakers are turned on, all audio should be routed directly to your headphones. Private listening is essentially muting your TV speakers.

Conveniently, when private listening is turned on, you'll be able to adjust headphone volume using the volume buttons on your mobile device or with the volume controls on whatever set of headphones you're using (if they have volume controls).

How to turn off private listening

When you're done using private listening, simply tap the Headphones button once more to turn the feature off. If you are using wired headphones for private listening, you can also unplug your headphones while the Roku app is open to turn it off.

How many people can use Roku private listening at the same time?

Four people are able to sync up to their mobile devices and use private listening on Roku at the same time. Simply repeat the steps above for each device you wish to connect to private listening.

That's all there is to it. If everything checks out, you've done everything correctly and you've successfully got private listening on Roku working. This is a really great feature that makes all your late-night binge-watching Roku sessions something that won't annoy other family members.

Editors' Recommendations

Amanda Blain
Amanda has been geeking it up since the Commodore 64, Atari, and MS-DOS days.  She regularly attends technology tradeshow…
How we test streaming video devices
The box for the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max.

One of the benefits of being Digital Trends is that we get to test a lot of things that simply aren’t easily available or replaceable should they not work out for the average person. That’s why we put so much work into testing TVs, for one example. Or full soundbar setups, for another.

Other times it’s because we’re able to take products for a test drive before they go on sale. Like video games, or computers and phones. That’s good because it helps you make a relatively expensive and important purchase decision.

Read more
Formula E adds Roku for streaming and expands on CBS
Formula E is coming to The Roku Channel in 2024.

Formula E is coming to The Roku Channel in 2024. Roku handout photo

The next big event horizon for streaming is, of course, live sports. That's not particularly new, but all of the players are finally realizing just how important live sports are (and have been) for bringing in — and keeping — subscribers. To wit: Roku is now getting into the game with its first live sports deal for Formula E.

Read more
The best wireless headphones for 2023 from Bose, Sony, 1More and more
Sony WH-1000XM5 wireless headphones hanging on wall hook.

While wired headphones are still great for getting the most out of hi-res lossless music, wireless headphones have come a long way in terms of sound quality, features like active noise cancellation (ANC), transparency mode, and more. They're incredibly comfortable, and, of course, you don't have any wires to get tangled up in on your morning commute.

We're always looking for the best wireless headphones, and we also take comfort, audio quality, and battery life, seriously, too. For this roundup, we're focusing on wireless headphones of the over-ear variety. For the best wireless earbuds, we've got a roundup of those, too.

Read more