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Roku not working? Common Roku problems and how to fix them


roku logo ifa 2

Roku is an extremely popular name in the home streaming world. The company offers tons of streaming sticks and smart TVs, so what do you do if your Roku doesn’t work? While we can’t teach you how to build your favorite apps for the platform, we can give you plenty of troubleshooting tips. Here are the most common Roku problems and how to fix them.

See also: The best Roku streaming players: What are your options in 2021?

Ideally, your Roku should never actually face any of these issues. However, it’s important to have a few tricks up your sleeve. If none of these methods seem to work, it might be time to check out our best deals for a new streaming device.

How to update, restart, or reset your Roku


The good news is that most common Roku problems can be fixed with a simple update, restart, or reset of your system. Obviously, an update or a restart is faster than a reset, but we’ll walk you through all three.

Update your Roku

Most Roku updates are meant to happen automatically in the background, but nobody is perfect. Occasionally you might find that you have to roll your sleeves up and do the update yourself. Here’s what to do:

  1. Press the Home button on your remote.
  2. Scroll until you reach the Settings cog.
  3. Select System settings.
  4. Choose the System Update option.
  5. Press Check Now to manually search for updates.
  6. If an update is available, your Roku should begin the process automatically. Do not interrupt it while the update installs.


There are actually two ways to restart your Roku streaming device if you’re having problems. The first method is best if your remote works and you have full control, while the second option is better if your device seems to have frozen. Here are both methods:

Restart with remote

  1. Press the Home button on your remote control.
  2. Select the Settings cog.
  3. Choose the System settings option.
  4. Click on System Restart.
  5. Use the directional arrows to highlight the Restart button and confirm with OK.

Restart when frozen

  1. Press the Home button five times.
  2. Select the Up arrow once.
  3. Tap the Rewind button twice.
  4. Press the Fast Forward button twice.

Reset your Roku

The factory reset is the most extreme way to fix most Roku problems. As the name suggests, it returns your streaming device to its default settings. You’ll have to redownload and log into all of your apps all over again, but it should help to fix common errors. Here’s what to do:

  1. Press the Home button on your remote control.
  2. Enter the Settings menu.
  3. Select System settings.
  4. Click on Advanced system settings.
  5. Choose Factory reset.
  6. Select Factory reset everything and follow the prompts.

You can also use your Roku’s physical reset button to skip the menu steps. Some devices have large buttons that you can press with a finger, though you’ll need a paperclip or something similar to press the pinhole reset button on the Roku Ultra.

See also: Roku buyer’s guide: Which Roku streaming device is right for you?

Roku hardware problems

Roku Ultra 2019

Roku streaming devices usually work pretty dependably, but nobody is perfect. Occasionally, you’ll find that the hardware itself is the source of your problems. There aren’t too many things that can go wrong, but keep an eye out for the following:


If you set your Roku on top of another device or in a confined space, it can overheat. It shouldn’t be a common occurrence, but you will see an on-screen warning if your Roku is overheating. Some Roku devices also feature an LED light that will light up bright red when it overheats.

When you see the on-screen warning or LED light, immediately shut your Roku off and unplug it. Wait ten minutes or longer before you reconnect your device and power it back on. If the problem persists, turn your Roku back off and unplug it. You may have to contact Roku if you can’t find a way to cool your device down as it may indicate bigger hardware problems.

Red LED on the Roku Express or Express Plus

You may also run into a problem where your Roku isn’t getting enough power, indicated by a red LED or on-screen warning. If you’ve plugged your USB-powered Roku device into your TV in a closed loop, that may be the cause of your problem. Some TVs come with USB outlets that deliver less power than others, and some aren’t meant to deliver power at all.

The easiest way to fix this Roku problem is to plug your USB into the power adapter that should have come in the original box. Roku designed its adapter to deliver the correct power level, so trust the hardware! If you’re still having problems, try moving the power adapter to a new outlet or power strip.

See also: The best power surge protectors to keep your tech safe

Roku remote control problems

Smart TV remote control

Most Roku products ship with simple IR remotes, but the Streaming Stick Plus and Ultra complicate things with Wi-Fi remotes. Sure, they let you point anywhere with good results, but you may run into connection problems. Most of these issues should be easy to fix on setup, but here’s what you can try if not:

Roku IR remotes

Unfortunately, IR remotes still require direct lines of sight to your streaming device. This means that you’ll have to move any and all obstacles between yourself and your streaming device. Make sure to check your line of sight from anywhere you like to sit in front of your TV.

You can also replace the batteries in your IR remote for a stronger connection. The IR blaster works like a flashlight, and it’s only as good as its beam strength. A fresh set of batteries should help to fix this type of Roku problem.

Roku Wi-Fi remotes

Roku’s Wi-Fi remotes are slightly more complicated, but they’re also significantly more powerful. You can try the battery trick we mentioned above, but it can also help to restart or re-pair your remote and streaming device. Try these steps:

  1. Remove your Roku device from power.
  2. Take the batteries out of your remote.
  3. Reconnect your Roku device to power and wait for it to boot.
  4. Insert the batteries back into your remote and wait 30 seconds to one minute.

This should restart both components, and here’s what you can do if you have to re-pair the two:

  1. Repeat the first four steps from above, but don’t replace the battery cover.
  2. Press and hold the pairing button found inside the compartment for three seconds. You should see the pairing light begin to flash on your remote.
  3. Wait 30 seconds while your remote completes its pairing process.
  4. Follow the pairing prompts on your TV screen.

Note: If you’re not sure which remote you have, remove the battery cover. You’ll see a small pairing button if you have a Wi-Fi remote, but this will be absent from IR remotes.

See also: 10 best TV remote apps for Android

Roku Wi-Fi connection problems

Flashrouters picture of Linksys-3200ACM

Your Roku device needs a stable internet connection in order to pump content to your TV reliably. One of the most common causes for Roku problems is if you simply don’t have a strong enough connection. On the bright side, this usually isn’t because of a problem with your streaming device.

See also: The best Wi-Fi routers: Which one is best for you?

You can check your Roku connection status from the Settings menu. Simply head into the Network section and look for the Signal Strenght indicator. You should see Excellent, Good, Fair, or Poor indicators. If you have a Fair or Poor connection, you may want to try to improve your connection.

If your Roku device has an Ethernet port, try connecting to the internet that way in order to test if the problem comes from your Wi-Fi. This may mean that you’ll have to reset your router, or you may want to reposition your Roku. It’s not always possible, especially if you have a streaming stick, but you can also try to reposition your TV set. Error code 009 on your Roku means that it’s connected to your router, just without internet. If that happens, restart your Roku.

Roku audio and video problems

Premiere 2019

Audio and video problems on your Roku can come from a few different locations. It could be a problem with your apps or software settings, but it could also be a hardware issue if something is connected incorrectly.

Before you try any of these more complicated solutions, try restarting your Roku first. Unplug it from power and wait a few seconds before you power it on again. It may sound like a silly answer, but it often works wonders.

Still having problems? Here are a few potential solutions:

Check your connections and inputs

If you have a set-top Roku, check your HDMI input at both ends. All of your cables should be tightly connected to both the TV and your streaming device. You may also want to check that you’re connected to the right audio input. Finally, make sure that the mute function is turned off and try adjusting your TV volume.

Check your Roku’s settings

You can use the Settings menu to adjust your audio input. Press the Home button on your remote and head to Settings, where you should find the Audio option. If you’re connected via HDMI, adjust your setting to Stereo and change your HDMI to PCM-Stereo.

Audio and visual sync issues

You may notice that your audio and visual playback is out of sync. If this is the case, you may have to fiddle with your video refresh settings. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Press the Home button on your remote control.
  2. Enter the Settings menu.
  3. Choose System and then Advanced system settings.
  4. Click on Advanced display settings.
  5. Choose Auto-adjust display refresh rate and select Disabled.

Common Roku app problems

Roku screenshot 2020

Roku’s companion app is an essential add-on for both Android and iOS users, but it can be a source of some common problems. You can use the app as a remote control, and it’s the easiest way to add content to your streaming device. However, you have to make sure that you get the connection settings just right. Like most problems, the root cause probably lies with your Wi-Fi connection, so here are some solutions:

Connect both devices to the same network

Modern Wi-Fi routers often come with two different networks — a 2.4GHz option and a 5GHz one. You should make sure that both your phone and streaming device are connected to the same network just in case. The two networks should be able to talk to each other, but sometimes it helps to be extra careful.

Fix your Roku’s network problem

  1. Press the Home button on your remote control.
  2. Enter the Settings menu and head to System, then Advanced system settings.
  3. Open the External Control option.
  4. Now, go to Network Access.
  5. Try changing the setting from Default to Permissive.

See also: Can you use Roku to watch Disney Plus? Here’s your answer

We’ve hopefully helped you find a solution to your most common Roku problems. If none of the above tricks have worked, it might be time to replace your streaming device. Luckily, we have plenty of favorites to recommend, so give them a try!

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