Google TV’s new ‘Magic’ Star Button can launch any app or change TV input — Available first on the Onn 4K Pro remote

Rumors and leaks of a “magic” star button for Google TV remotes stretch all the way back to 2020 when leaked marketing material for the, then-unreleased, 2020 Chromecast 4K showed a mysterious star button on the remote. The 2020 Chromecast remote eventually launched without the star button, but leaks of alleged Google TV star buttons persisted throughout the years with, most recently, the Android TV 14 beta release containing diagrams of an unreleased Chromecast remote containing the star button, yet again. This week, Walmart released its brand new Onn 4K Pro streaming box and, in addition to a giant “Free TV” button, the included remote is the first to ship with the elusive star button, so, here’s what it can do and how it works.

The star button is located in the top right corner of the Onn 4K Pro’s remote, whereas the older Onn remotes just had an input switching button in that location. Pressing the star button for the first time presents you with a screen to select if you want to use it to open an app of your choice or switch TV input.

Selecting to use the star button as an app shortcut presents you with a simple list of all of your installed apps where you can select the one you want assigned to the star button. After that, anytime you press the star button, your selected app will launch. At any point, you can hold the star button to quickly reassign it to a different app.

If, instead, you opt for using the star button as an input switcher, you’ll be kicked out to set up your remote to control your TV and/or other home theater devices. Once the remote is working with your equipment, you’ll be able to select which device, TV, soundbar, or A/V receiver, will switch inputs when the star button is pressed. Each press of the star button will switch to the next input of the home theater equipment you selected.

Oddly, holding the star button while it’s configured for input switching doesn’t take you back to the configurator, like it does when set to launch apps. To change its function, you need to go to Settings > Remotes… > Setup remote buttons > Customizable button. From there you can switch the star button to open an app or change which device it changes input on.

That’s all there is to the new star button for Google TV. It’s a great way of taking the old input button and making it more useful for some people while retaining the original use for those who want to use it for changing input. While the Onn 4K Pro’s remote is the first to have it, I expect that most Google TV devices will adopt it moving forward. Some people assumed the star button would only be available on devices running the upcoming Android 14 update, but that’s not the case since the Onn 4K Pro is running Android 12.

3 comments
  1. User says:

    Is it programmable to sideloaded app? Alexa Remote Pro couldnt

    • Dean says:

      Youtuber Superdell-TV did pretty much a full review on this device and when he created the shortcut it looked like it didn’t show any of his sideloaded apps as an option. I believe it has to be an app downloaded form the Google Play Store.

  2. Ryan says:

    Believe that nice backlit remote shown in the first Pic is not the one that’s included with the Pro at Walmart from. What a few have said. Sad. Had a chance to be great, and they skimp on the remote yet again.

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