Walmart’s Onn 4K Pro remote has a giant stupid “Free TV” button on it

The brand new Onn 4K Pro Google TV streaming box from Walmart released this week has been looking like a killer device. With specs like 32GB of storage, 3GB of RAM, hands-free controls, quad-core 2 GHz CPU, hands-free controls, and much more, all for under $50, it’s quite compelling. Unfortunately, my excitement took a nosedive the second I took its remote out of the box because there was a giant stupid blue “Free TV” button smack-dab in the middle of the remote.

It doesn’t seem as though all Onn 4K Pros come with a remote that has the giant “Free TV” button on it. The two units I purchased today from my local Walmart store both came with remotes that have what I’m going to start referring to as the Blue Button of Death (BBOD), but other people have found that their Onn 4K Pro remotes don’t have the button. The non-BBOD remote appears to be identical in every other way to the BBOD remote.

Pressing the button launches Google’s “Free TV Channels” app which contains over 100 free ad-supported live channels to watch. Since the remote already has a Channel Guide button, to the right of the Home button, where all of those free channels are already listed, the giant BBOD is quite redundant.

The Onn 4K Pro settings don’t have any options to change the BBOD’s behavior to make it more useful for those not interested in quick access to Google’s channels. Fortunately, the Button Remapper app in the Google Play Store was able to reassign the BBOD to open any app I wanted, serve as a giant second Home button, or several other useful actions. Note that the similarly named and more popular Button Mapper app was not able to remap the button, so be sure to use the right app if you get the BBOD.

Despite the new name I’ve given it, the BBOD isn’t a deal breaker for the Onn 4K Pro. While it’s huge and a tacky attempt at earning more ad revenue for Walmart, Google, or both, it’s surprisingly easy to ignore thanks to it sitting slightly lower than the raised Home button above it. Since, unlike Amazon which actively blocks remapping Fire TV remote buttons, Google and Walmart allow buttons to be remapped through simple tools available directly in the Google Play Store, its easy to turn this negative into a positive. Being remappable means it at least gives you an extra customizable button on your Onn 4K Pro’s remote. Once remapped, I might go as far as to say the BBOD could even be a desirable feature for some poeple, like elderly users or kids, because it’s so big and easy to find.

It’s unclear which version of the Onn 4K Pro remote will be more commonly included with the new streaming device. If you’re buying an Onn 4K Pro at a store, the device’s box is, surprisingly, not sealed in any way so you can easily open it and take a peak at which remote is inside before committing to buying it.

17 comments
  1. Raymond Lukasik says:

    Where are you able to get the new box? I’m a Walmart + customer and I’m only seeing the 2023 model

  2. Jerramie Mcgough says:

    Looks like a great button to use, TV Quick action pro. I like it better than button mapper.

    • Ricky D Cash says:

      Yeah I have so many “Free TV” apps the dilemma will be which one to set it too. Lol.

  3. Leo says:

    Lol. Oh I have plans for that blue button. Just remap it to another app that actually has free TV.

  4. Robert says:

    They add that giant disgusting thing but no RW/FF buttons… stupid. Looks as flimsy as the last model as well. Not a remote on par with a $50 device.

    • discgolf4life7 says:

      FF and rewind work with the right and left parts of the circle. Same set up as the 2019 Nvidia Shield and works like a charm.

    • discgolf4life7 says:

      You use the left and right side of the ring for FF and rewind. Works exactly like the 2019 Nvidia Shield.

  5. streaming_sooner says:

    Can you maybe pair your old (white) ONN 4K remote with the new “Pro” instead of using a new (black) one with the BBOD?

    • Yes, you can. There are lots of remotes that will work with it.

      • Adam says:

        And that specific little factoid just made this a more desirable device IMO. Thank you.

        The default remote is a big load of “meh” for me, but if I can pair it with one I enjoy using more, it becomes a non-factor.

      • streaming_sooner says:

        Thanks much! But now, sadly, there’s this new news of it’s woeful performance in your tests.

  6. Quantum Oracle says:

    Probably something to do with getting the price so low. Partnered with Google to push their TV app prob get a certain cut of ad revenue from it. Sucks but if it makes the price so low I can live with it.

  7. JFC says:

    I’m not going to call it “BBOD,” since that’s just a silly and inapt name for the blue button, which has nothing to do with “death.”

    But, as Elias eventually gets around to pointing out, having a large extra button on the device’s remote can be very handy since the user can use the Button Remapper app to assign the big blue button to do anything they want! Which is a very nice little extra.

    Amazon eventually came around to the same notion of allowing the user to customize their remote experience some by adding the assignable 1 and 2 buttons on its latest premium remote. But unfortunately, Amazon being Amazon, AFAIK, you can’t assign either of their two extra buttons to any sideloaded apps.

    • I agree it’s a dumb name and don’t realistically expect anyone to call it that. I just didn’t want to type “Free TV button” or some variation a dozen times in this post.

      Now that it’s remapped, I’m starting to like it. Sorry BBOD, I judged you too soon.

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