WPRemote for Roku adds YouTube video playback to Roku devices

Back in September we reviewed a handy remote control app for the Roku video streaming devices called ROKUbox. It mostly provided a convenient substitute for a real Roku remote control, plus a few extra features. Fast forward to 2012 and ROKUbox has now become WPRemote for Roku. The name change is a result of the Roku company’s desire for keeping 3rd-party apps from being confused with official ones. Of course, there is no official Roku remote app for Windows Phone, but you know legal types are.

Additionally, the app’s version 2.0 update added a handy YouTube video playback function. See, for some crazy reason the Roku company doesn’t want to pay Google for the rights to provide an official YouTube channel on the Roku. Never mind that the Xbox 360, Sony Blu-Ray players, and myriad other devices have such channels. Thankfully the folks at Localyf have created their own custom Roku channel that plays YouTube videos.

To enable the feature, you’ll need to follow the instructions provided in the WPRemote for Roku app. Basically it involves going to the Channel Store on the Roku device and inputting a code to download Localyf’s channel. Once you’ve done that, simply press the YouTube button at the bottom of the WPRemote app. The app’s YouTube section allows you to search for YouTube videos by name and view recently played videos. Once you choose a video, it immediately starts playing on the Roku and your HDTV. You can also pin a live tile for the YouTube search function to your phone.

YouTube playback is the one glaringly missing feature of Roku devices, so it’s awesome that Localyf has found a workaround. There are other Roku remote apps for Windows Phone, but WPRemote for Roku appears to be the only one with a YouTube feature. That should be enough to make it a must-buy for Roku owners.

WPRemote for Roku costs $1.99 and there is a free trial. Get it here on the Marketplace.

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

  • Hearing about this app first time. As the official apps were only available in iOS and Android, I didn't even took the effort to search in marketplace. I'm going to try this with my new Roku box.
  • I tried it out and it's not bad. Couldn't get youtube to work though. I downloaded the channel and tried playing it, but it just kicked me back to the main screen. Anyone else have this problem?
  • It works for me. You could try reinstalling the app and see if it helps...
  • Tried this app a few months ago and the lag between screen taps and when my Roku would respond was very bad.  Maybe I'll give it another show and see what happens.
  • This is a great app took me a minute to find it cause, I was looking for ROKUBox, based on the original review, but once found it, it works great. Now thanks to this article i can't wait to get home and try out the YouTube option.
  • Very nice update. Have been using YouTube feature and has been great so far..finds and starts clip/shows without issue,. Anyways for what it does thru roku it does very well ..take care