In this article, I will do my very best to provide a thoughtful and complete answer to the question: What are the best remote controls for YouTube TV?
Ok, this was a tough one. I’m not gonna lie.
Admittedly, I’m brand new to YouTube TV.
SO full disclosure – I am not yet a subscriber to YouTube TV. But since a few of you have recently asked “what are the best universal remotes for YouTube TV,” I set out to get you the best possible answer.
Surprisingly, this was not as easy as I thought it would be.
The Bottom Line: My Recommendations
The short answer to the question of what is the best YouTube TV remote control is: it depends on the streaming media device you are using. For Roku, choose any Logitech Harmony Hub-based remote; for Apple TV [4th-generation or later], I like SevenHugs or Harmony Hub remotes, for Xbox One, choose Caavo Control Center or any Harmony remote that supports the Xbox you are using.
I will put together a detailed comparison table for each of these streaming services along with what I feel are the best options for each of these devices below.
What Are the Best Universal Remote Controls for YouTube TV?
Ok, so let’s get to the heart of the matter The following table provides a summary of the best universal remotes that work with YouTube TV, along with the current price on Amazon. Pricing is updated nightly via direct integration with Amazon’s API, click SEE IT to get the up-to-the-minute price on Amazon.
Next, I’ll go into a little more detail about each remote and I’ll give you my top pick for each streaming media service
Best Remotes for Chromecast: Still A Mystery
I know a lot about remotes. Over the past two years, I’ve conducted hundreds of hours of research for articles in this blog and thoroughly tested several products.
But some answers here are just downright elusive.
For this post alone, I’ve spent the better part of a week researching YouTube TV remotes and still have some lingering questions about some of the options out there. That said, I CAN give you some definitive universal remote recommendations for major streaming players that support YouTube TV.
For Google Chromecast, the answer is not so easy. It looks like your TV needs to support CEC — and you need to enable it — in order to use a physical remote with Chromecast. Harmony has confirmed that Chromecast will not work with Harmony remotes directly. There are some hacks to get Chromecast to work with Harmony, but I don’t feel comfortable recommending any of them.
Some folks have had good luck with using various remote apps on their phone, but I don’t really like any of these either. After diving deep into the forums like Reddit, AVS Forum, and Quora, it looks like some folks have had luck controlling Chromecast with Roku remotes. However, this is a largely proprietary fix, so I don’t recommend this either. Long story short, I would like to hear from you guys as to what is working and what is not before I feel comfortable giving a solid recommendation.
In fact, my hope is that this page will serve an ongoing dialog in general as to best remotes to use for YouTube TV, so please leave a comment to share your experiences in using ANY universal remotes with a YouTube TV – the good and bad. Just a leave a comment below.
Stopping short of profanity, I will publish them all, and I follow up w researched-based answers to your questions ASAP.
I try to reply to all comments within one business day.
Ok, let’s dive in.
What Is YouTube TV Anyways?
The best way to explain YouTube TV is to explain what it is not:
- It is not a direct competitor to the big cable companies like Verizon and Xfinity — sort of (see the third bullet)
- It is not a service designed to let you watch YouTube videos on your TV. The YouTube app does this just fine.
- It does not give you all or as many of the channels that the major cable providers give you. It does give you many basic channels including some local programming and a few channels that may surprise you. More on that below.
- It is not YouTube Premium [formerly YouTube Red]. YTP is a different paid YouTube service that strips ads out of YouTube videos [along with some other benefits].
What DO You Get With YouTube TV?
YouTube TV is available on:
- Some smart TVs
- Many popular streaming media players [see next section for a full list]
- Virtually any computer with a web browser
- Mobile devices including smartphone and tablets
It includes basic cable networks, a ton of sports channels, and original web shows from YouTube Red.
Other benefits include access to some local channels (depends on market), an DVR feature that allows you to record unlimited content up to the Cloud. and the ability to add paid subscriptions like Showtime and Xxx
Oh yeah, and it’s cheaper than cable.
You can try out YouTube TV for seven days before you’re charged. And because there’s no contract for the service, you can cancel at any time.
Did I mention it’s cheaper than cable? Just 50 bucks at the time this post was published.
Which Streaming Media Services Support YouTube TV?
Here is the current list of streaming media services that work with YouTube TV:
Additionally, you can really stream from almost anywhere as other options include:
- iOS Smartphones and tablets
- Android Smartphones and Tablets
- The YouTube Website from your PC or Mac computer
Sadly, it will not work on Amazon devices like Fire TV Cube and Fire TV stick at this time.
Best YouTube TV Remote Control for Roku: Logitech Harmony
For Roku, I like Logitech Harmony Hub based remotes. My favorite of all of the Harmony remotes is the Harmony Elite. This will let you control Roku, plus all of the other devices in your entertainment center, and smart home devices too. You can pair multiple devices together into activities or scenes, like “Movie Night” or “Watch Roku.” When you press the button with that specific label, Harmony will fire up all required components automatically. For example, for Movie Night you can program an activity that would fire up your Roku, tune to YouTube TV, automatically dim your lights, lower your smart blinds, and more. I do realize that the Harmony Elite is a bit expensive. If this is not an option, check out the Harmony Companion, it will pretty much give you all the same features of the Elite without the fancy color LCD screen.
You COULD also use the Roku remote to do this; however, I just can’t get excited about any of these plastic remotes. However, they are certainly less expensive than the other options listed here.
The Wanderer001 does a nice job showcasing these remotes.
My top pick 👍👍: You can check the price of the Harmony Elite here.
And, if you really want a Roku remote, I will be sad, but you can see a bunch on Amazon here.
Best YouTube TV Remote for Apple TV: Caavo Control Center
Ah Apple TV. If you are big fan of Apple products chances are you are also a fan of Apple TV and maybe even already a subscriber. Subscribers to ATV seem to love it. I do find this a bit funny as you don’t really get THAT much more than you get with other services, like Amazon or Roku for less. That said, some customers have said the Apple TV remote works just fine for controlling YouTube TV. However, this is a proprietary remote of course. If you want something more universal, check out any Caavo Control Center, which will let you control up to four devices plus a soundbar. Caavo will also let you search across multiple streaming media services (including YTTV) for content, has a simple setup, and even a find my lost remote feature.
Harmony Hub based remotes will also work with AppleTV. SevenHugs Smart Remote will work as well but the approach is different.
My top pick 👍👍: If you are interested in Caavo Control Center, check out the latest price on Amazon here.
Best YouTube TV Remote Control for xBox One: Any Harmony Remote
I’m going to go back to Harmony remotes for xBox one and YouTube TV. Logitech has confirmed Xbox One will work with all Harmony remotes, which gives you a ton of options and pricing. It is even compatible with Logitech’s new Harmony Express remote [pictured here], which features Amazon Alexa built right into the remote for voice control. I still like the Harmony Elite better, because it also gives you Google Home control as well Alexa, plus that cool LCD panel that helps you organize your activities and content.
My top pick 👍👍: You can check the price of the Harmony Express at Amazon here.
Best YouTube TV Remote for Chromecast: TBD
As mentioned previously, there is just too much conflicting information for me to make a recommendation for a YouTube remote for GC right now.
At least one Chromecaster had success with the following app:
How-to Geek has an article that talks about using a physical remote with Chromecast. Still, I’m not convinced.
If you have had success with a true universal remote for Google Chromecast, please leave us a comment below. Thanks!
Best YouTube TV Remote for Amazon Fire TV: Also TBD
Sadly, Amazon FireTV does not offer support for YouTube TV yet. I will continue to watch this space and update this post if things should change.
Best YouTube Remote Control for Smart TV: Harmony Smart Keyboard
I would be remiss if I didn’t include a recommendation for your favorite Smart TV. While I haven’t had a chance to test this directly with a YouTube TV, it works great for regular YouTube viewing. I tend to do a ton of searching around when I watch YouTube and navigating with a remote, any remote, was downright painful. That was until I bought the Logitech Harmony Smart Keyboard to go along with my Harmony Elite remote. It does put another device on your coffee table, sure. But this is totally worth it in time savings alone for avid YouTube watchers in my opinion.
My top pick 👍👍: You can check the latest price on Amazon here.
Best YouTube TV Remote Control App: Harmony Hub
You can watch YouTube TV using YouTube’s own TV app. In fact, here’s a helpful video from YouTube TV Help that shows you how to download the app and set this up.
However, I like Harmony Hub better. Why? Harmony Hub is the best remote control app for YouTube TV. In fact, it is the best remote control app you can buy, period. It gives you nearly all of the feature of the Harmony Elite remote for up to eight devices. It will let you program activities like movie night we mentioned previously, plus you can also control your smart home devices to boot. If you want more info, you can read my review of the Harmony Hub here.
My top pick 👍👍: You can see the latest price and customers reviews about the Harmony Hub on Amazon over here.
The Best Remotes for YouTube TV: Your Turn
So, what do you think about my picks for the best YouTube TV remote?
As I said earlier in the article, I would love for this post to turn into more of a dialog so I can update it with your opinions and insights as well.
Do you subscribe to YouTube TV? Thinking about cutting the cord? If you already subscribe, what streaming media services are you using to run YouTube TV? How do you like it?
If you are using Chromecast, have you any success with a remote? If so which one?
How about a remote for any other service listed here [or not here]?
Please leave a quick comment below and let me know.
I look forward to watching and moderating an ongoing dialog here. Cheers!
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About the Author
Tim Brennan is Founder and CEO of Writeinteractive, Inc., a professional services firm that helps companies solve technical content challenges. He is also an owner of a smart home technology blog oneSmartcrib.com and a regular contributor to UniversalRemoteReviews.com. UniversalRemoteReviews.com is a website that specializes in reviewing smart remote controls and related technologies. Brennan is a father to two sons, and he manages the day-to-day operations of Writeinteractive.
He is also an active blogger, Star Wars nut, and HUGE proponent of the Oxford comma.
Tim holds a B.A. in Journalism from Northeastern University. For more than 25 years, he has worked as a technical writer for organizations in and around Boston. These include General Electric,Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Liberty Mutual, and Biogen.