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Roku app transforms Apple Watch into wearable remote control with voice commands

Apple Watch owners may now install the Roku app into their devices for free, transforming them into wearable remote controls with an impressive set of features.

The Roku app for the Apple Watch brings basic remote control functions, including the ability to play and pause content, to the user’s wrist. The app also offers a home button, the OK button, and directional buttons to navigate through the menus, with the volume adjusted through the device’s digital crown. (“What’s Roku,” you ask? Read our complete guide to Roku for details.)

The Apple Watch also receives a Channel Launcher to quickly open channels with one tap. The feature lists the channels starting with the most recently launched ones, so users will not have to scroll down to find their favorites.

Users will also be able to use Voice Search capabilities on the Roku app by tapping the voice icon. The feature, which is available on all versions of the Apple Watch but only on select Roku devices and Roku TV models, not only allows users to search for content but also enables voice commands for functions such as launching channels.

The Apple Watch will also come in handy in case the wearer loses the Roku remote control. The app is capable of causing the remote control to make an audible chime to help look for it, though the feature is only available on the Roku Ultra and certain Roku TV models.

In order to access the Roku app on the Apple Watch, users will simply have to update the Roku app on their iPhones to version 6.1.3. The app will then appear on the wearable device, though a manual install may be required if the Automatic App Install option is deactivated.

Roku offers a family of hardware and software that looks to provide easy access to streaming video and audio content on a TV. The Roku players, ranging from the $30 Roku Express to the $100 Roku Ultra, all come with a remote control that the Apple Watch app is attempting to emulate.

The latest version of Apple’s wearable device is the Apple Watch Series 5, which received a very positive review from Digital Trends’ own Andy Boxall. The new Apple Watch retains the same design as its predecessor and it remains “the best smartwatch you can wear right now.”

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