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Roku has launched a new iPhone app for its streaming set-top boxes that turns your iPhone or iPad into a remote control.

Roku boxes, which range in price from $49-$99, allow people to access over 350 channels of content from video, music, social and gaming services. Many people use it solely as a way to watch Netflix and Hulu Plus, but that could soon change. That said, the iOS app remote is a nice, long-overdue addition to the set-top boxes.

Aside from the standard video playback functionality, the app allows Roku owners to rate, add/remove and launch channels on their device. The app gives you all the standard buttons found on a regular Roku remote and lets you swipe your fingers to navigate through other things. Probably the biggest advantage to the iOS app is the virtual keyboard. (I don’t know about most people, but I definitely hate having to type out account information with a direction pad, one character at a time.)

The remote works for all Roku set-top models and the setup process is pretty simple. Users need to have their iPhone on the same wi-fi network as their Roku for the remote functionality to work. Once that’s done you just need to sign into your Roku account for it to start working.

With the increased focus of using streaming set-top boxes as low-powered gaming consoles, I wonder if Roku will ever make use of the iPhone as a motion controller. Although, many people (myself included) probably don’t want to wave their $600 smartphone around wildly while shouting at a television screen.

Screenshots via Roku

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