Remote for ATV for Seniors

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by omgzombies, Apr 21, 2019.

  1. omgzombies macrumors newbie

    Feb 10, 2014
    We currently use the apple TV and have a subscription for hulu since we cut cable. My in-laws occasionally visit and are technologically challenged to say the least. The touch sensitive ATV remote is beyond them, and I would like to find a remote for them to use that will allow them to easily navigate to the hulu live tv menu. Is there any remote out there, or an app that I could use to set it up for them to click one maybe two buttons max? Thanks!
  2. Longkeg macrumors 6502

    Jul 18, 2014
    S. Florida
    Been here, done this... didn’t work. IMO the remote is only part of the problem. For some people who grew up with traditional “turn it on, pick a channel” TV, the additional steps of choose an input, open an app, navigate menus, clicking on wrong things, finding that GD menu they just had but now can’t find.... I think you get the idea.
  3. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

    Sep 23, 2014
    You can use just about any IR remote with the ATV.

    The ATV has a "Remote Learning" feature that it can learn the inputs of any IR remote. If you have an old remote somewhere that you are not using, you can use that. I like to use the TV's remote if at all possible, that way it has a power and volume buttons on it. The Apple TV can learn universal remotes too, and there is no need to program it, just use the remote learning feature in the Settings.

    I even used non-entertainment remotes with it, just to see if it would work. The ATV can learn a iRobot Roomba IR remote, and my electric heater's remote.

    You can also use the older Apple Remotes.

    The only thing that will not work is Siri and the "Home" button that is on the Siri Remote.
  4. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 65816

    Feb 9, 2009
    Have you tried the Apple TV remote app that is built into the iPhone? I've always found this a beautiful experience - even more so on the iPhone X full screen designs.

    It's a shame that they are used to the old style remotes as I find the Apple TV 4K remote to be a thing of beauty. It's lovely. Remember in the olden days of DVD when those cheap remotes had 50 to 100 buttons on them for all silly things that were never used? A design nightmare in the olden days!

    If that doesn't work, maybe just don't let them play with your Apple TV :) :) :)
  5. Beelzbub macrumors 6502

    Feb 6, 2012
    The old Apple TV remote will work just fine (use one in my bedroom with an Apple TV 4). I love my Apple TV's (4K & 4), we got rid of satellite last year and went the streaming route, but I am not a fan of the Apple TV remote. Luckily for me the TV remote we have (an Amazon fire TV), works perfectly with the Apple TV. I prefer the directional pad it has vs the touch pad on the Apple remote. I am really hoping that Apple will release a newer style remote with the next version of the Apple TV and that it is not a touch pad. For those that like the touch pad, that's great, but for me I just find it cumbersome to use. Other than that I find the Apple TV itself to be an excellent streamer.
  6. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

    Sep 23, 2014
    This is my biggest complaint about the Siri Remote.

    The touch pad on the Siri Remote is a solution to problem that didn't exist.

    I wish Apple would, but I wouldn't bet on it.
  7. Lee_Bo macrumors regular


    Mar 26, 2017
    Greenville, SC
  8. jtara macrumors 68000

    Mar 23, 2009
    Tell that to my friend who goes into fits of rage, yelling alternately at his Harmony Remote and Roku Box in frustration trying to rewind/fast-forward.

    Apple solves that problem in multiple ways:

    - touchpad, which makes "scrubbing" a dream
    - enforcing UI standards (different Roku apps implement rewind/forward in different ways, and some are more or less performant at it than others)
    - you don't have to awkwardly keep the remote pointed at the box while operating the remote (because it connects via Bluetooth)

    I do have to say, I wouldn't mind having directional buttons as well. The remote seems a tad too sensitive navigating icons, etc.

    I actually normally use the remote app on my iPad. But getting annoyed at the new iOS 12 "feature" requiring me to constantly choose my one and only Apple TV...
  9. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

    Sep 23, 2014
    Your friend's situation could be just a poorly designed remote and/or app.

    I have a Roku, and I hate the rewind/FFW on it for some apps.

    But, this doesn't mean Apple solved any problems with the D-pad, because the D-pad works great with tvOS.

    I use an IR remote all the time with the ATV, and I do not have those issues.

    An issue with the touch pad and scrubbing is that sometimes it scrubs when it is not supposed to scrub. Sometimes the 10 sec forward or back doesn't work either.

    I love the scrubbing feature of the touch pad, but that is the only benefit I see over a D-pad. The scrubbing feature isn't worth all the problems the touch pad causes.

    I hate having to manually enter passwords (the UI also makes this even worse), I hate playing platform games with the touch pad, I hate the endless swiping when scrolling through large lists when a dimple button press down should work, and there is plenty of other things.

    I will say that I love the battery life of the Siri Remote and love Siri when it works as I intended it to, but overall, I think it is a bad design.

    As for forcing UI standards on tvOS, the YouTube app is horrible with the Siri Remote ever since the big redesign, in my experience.

    Having a D-pad and/or more physical buttons instead of a touch pad wouldn't prevent the remote from being Bluetooth.
  10. Dc2006ster macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2011
    Alberta, Canada
    Can you not teach them to use Siri e.g. “ open Hulu”
  11. Huntn macrumors P6


    May 5, 2008
    The Misty Mountains
    And here I thought I was the only one who hated the ATV remote. :) Mine looks like this:
    We just got a Vizio P series 4k TV and I’ve ordered a 4K ATV. If the remote looks the same, I will be in the market for a substitute. What substitute would that be?

    I’ve not looked at the remote on the iPhone, but am thinking I prefer physical buttons, along with buttons for fast forward. I’ll give it a shot though. Just recently I discovered this: :oops:

    If you click on the left and right side, does this notch the FF function up for multiple settings, or just one fast forward speed?

    For some reason I just don’t like swiping left and right, as I tend to overshoot or undershoot.
  12. dwfaust macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    I've been using the old AppleTV remotes (both the white plastic one from ATV gen 1, and the aluminum remote from ATV gen 2 and 3. I despise the track pad on the ATV4 remote... OR I use the remote app on my phone.

    My wife prefers the Harmony remote that we use in the family room.
  13. winstars macrumors regular

    Dec 10, 2015
    I love the Apple TV remote but after reading your post wanted my ATV4 to learn my FireStick remote, to have a spare so to speak. I go into settings and go to learn remote, get the screen up that says press the up button to start and.... nothing happens... I know the Firestick remote is working because it works fine with the..... Firestick...

    I know my way around the ATV4, got it the first day and I believe bought the first case available for it because the case solves many issues.

    But can't figure this out....
  14. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

    Sep 23, 2014
    I thought the fire stick remote uses RF, not IR.

    The remote learning feature is for IR remotes.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 27, 2019 ---
    Maybe it can be connected using BT?

    I have never tried.
  15. StarShot macrumors 6502a


    Mar 31, 2014
    Hey, I'm a senior also and have had all the ATV's. I especially don't like the last two with the touch (rub) pad as I'm constantly overshooting the arrow. Forgot about the ATV App. Just downloaded it and IMO, it's 100% better than the latest stick that comes with the ATV.

    Now the only thing I regret is selling my last iPad when I got my new 10.5" pro. My Pro stays downstairs 99% of the time. My 65" LG is upstairs wnere it would now get great to have the old iPad there just for this purpose.

    Thanks for reminding me about the iPad App.
  16. winstars macrumors regular

    Dec 10, 2015

    Ahhhh, yes I believe you are correct in the RF vs IR on the FireStick...

    Beezlbub did not mention the method used in the post... But I read it to say it was possible.

  17. Beelzbub macrumors 6502

    Feb 6, 2012
    I am not sure how my remote works for my Apple TV. I never bothered figuring it out. I have an Amazon Fire TV, an actual TV with the Fire stuff built in. I never use the built in stuff and just use my Apple TV all the time. Amazon had these TV's on sale last summer, 50 inch 4K TV's, took a chance and it has been a great TV, compared it to my Sony and the picture for me has been spot on. So anyways back to the remote. I picked up the TV remote one day without thinking and went to rent a movie on my Apple TV and it worked. So I use this remote all the time and put the Apple TV remote in a drawer. I can pick up the TV remote and turn on the TV and the Apple TV, browse to my apps and use them, like YouTube TV, or renting a movie in iTunes or watching something on Curiosity Stream, and it just works. When I am done, I hit the power button on the TV remote and it shuts off the Apple TV and the TV.

    I don't know how it all works and do not remember doing anything extra. All I know is the Amazon Fire TV remote for my TV can control my Apple TV 4K perfectly. I read somewhere once (and don't remember where) where someones Roku TV remote worked on their Apple TV and I have been tempted to move my Apple TV to my Roku TV I have setup in my game room and see if it can control my Apple TV, but I never have got around to doing that. I will see if I can try this this evening and report back.

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16 April 21, 2019