Solution for Roku tv and Vizio soundbar
November 22, 2022 2:38 PM   Subscribe

Is there any way to get my new Roku TV remote to control my older Vizio soundbar?

The team from Best Buy installed and wall-mounted my new Roku 5 series TV and my older Vizio soundbar. The soundbar connects through an optical connection and works, but I can’t figure out how to make the Roku remote control the volume on my soundbar (Model SB3821-C6). It looks like some Vizio soundbars have a “learning mode”, but I don’t think mine does. It also does not even have an HDMI eARC port.

I really don’t want to have to buy a new soundbar, or have multiple remotes just to control the sound. Are there cheap replacement remotes that I could train to control the soundbar?
posted by bove to Technology (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There should be settings for this:
posted by anotheraccount at 2:48 PM on November 22

Response by poster: But as far as I can tell all of the options in that link only work via HDMI connections.
posted by bove at 2:52 PM on November 22

Weird, I could've sworn that I had controlled my optical-only soundbar via my Roku TV, but Googling reveals that Roku devices can only control audio via HDMI.

So your options are:
1. Continue to use separate remotes
2. Buy a different soundbar that has an HDMI out so that it can be controlled by the Roku TV
3. Buy a universal remote that will allow you to "separately" control both devices within a single remote. If you haven't shopped for a universal remote in awhile, they're not like they used to be. Most of them require programming while connected to a computer and cost around $100, like the Logitech Harmony.
posted by anotheraccount at 3:05 PM on November 22

Best answer: Re: smart universal remotes: The Logitech Harmony has been discontinued, but it seems the Sofabaton has filled its niche in the market - the U1 basic model can be found for about $50.
posted by General Malaise at 4:05 PM on November 22 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: What about options like this? Would something like that work?

It just feels like overkill to get a fancy universal remote to only control the volume. But that is still cheaper and easier than getting a new soundbar. I know using two remotes will drive me crazy.
posted by bove at 4:18 PM on November 22

Best answer: That’s interesting, but the product description says it doesn’t work with Roku TV
posted by advicepig at 4:32 PM on November 22 [1 favorite]

Simplest solution is to go into the Vizio settings and tell it to ignore any remote control volume settings. The Roku volume control will then control what gets sent to the sound bar, which should just "play" whatever sound is sent over the optical connection. If that ends up being too soft at one end or too loud at the other, use the manual up/down controls on the soundbar to adjust.

You want to do this anyways to avoid the "doubling" effect where volume up/down is performed by _both_ the TV and the soundbar, which means you remote control doesn't have any "fine" adjustment and is hard to get right.
posted by TimHare at 5:35 PM on November 22 [1 favorite]

Knowing nothing specific about the Roku TV, every other TV I have encountered has a fixed volume level on the optical output. The industry norm is to adjust the vol level via the soundbar in case of optical connections, with some soundbars being able to learn the TV remote's IR commands.
If the Roku TV has a headphone output and the soundbar has an analog input, that would work, as the headphone out will have adjustable level controllable by the tv remote.
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 5:58 AM on November 23

Best answer: Advicepig pointed out that the one I had linked to didn't support Roku TV, so I searched around a bit more and found this one. It worked great. I programmed it to control the soundbar volume up, down, and mute. It also controls my TV.
posted by bove at 8:59 AM on November 28

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