Google TV and Android TV are about to get Roku’s best feature

A TV remote poiting at a screen of blurry TV banner images
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Proxima Studio)

Google’s two TV OS – Google TV and Android TV – are about to nab one of the best Roku features with the introduction of a virtual remote on both Android and iOS devices through the Google Home app.

If you’re prone to misplacing your TV remote, this nifty virtual replacement ensures nothing will get in the way of your entertainment. It’s certainly helped us out on more than one occasion – even if it just meant we didn’t have to get back off the couch when we realized the remote was out of reach.

And even if you never lose your TV remote, Google’s virtual alternative will still save you time by letting you use your phone keyboard rather than the clunky TV option when you want to type out words or passwords.

Google hasn’t been specific on when this update is coming – just saying “soon” – but based on our experience this means sometime in the next couple of weeks.

Android users can already take advantage of the virtual remote now through the Google TV app (previously known as Google Play Movies & TV). However iOS users will have to wait for the upcoming Google Home update for the same privilege.

What other updates are coming to Google TV? 

The virtual remote isn’t the only quality of life feature coming to Google TV ‘soon’. 

A new profiles feature – like the one you find on Netflix or Disney Plus – will see Google tailor its content based on who is using the TV. This means personalized recommendations, your own watchlist, and access to data from your own Google account like calendar information.

On top of that, the idle screen is getting a revamp. Now it won’t just show you pictures and memories, the display will now show you personalized information like the local weather or the latest game score. On-screen shortcuts will also let you play your favorite music or podcast with just the click of a button.

Once again Google has been vague on when the new features will arrive, but we expect to see them in the next few weeks.

Hamish Hector
Senior Staff Writer, News

Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.