Common Roku problems and how to fix them

Is your Roku device not working? We’re here to help because while Roku is a very popular name in the media streaming world, and with excellently rated products,  nothing is quite perfect. This is true across the range of streaming products from Roku, which that start from as low as $29.99, with higher-end options as well. Regardless of what you’re looking for, Roku has something for everyone, and all devices can have their ups and downs. Roku currently has a down with HBO Max missing right now, but things can change quickly in streaming.

And, like any modern electronic and mobile device, the Roku players are not without their problems. We’ve rounded up some of the common Roku problems, and offer potential solutions on how to fix them. So if your Roku is not working, keeping reading and we’ll help you attempt to troubleshoot it.

Disclaimer: Not every Roku device will face these problems, and in fact, it is more than likely that you will not come across any of the issues listed below at all. 


Problem #1 – Issues with the Roku remote

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While all Roku products come with a simple IR remote, the Streaming Stick+ and Ultra devices also come with “point anywhere” Wi-Fi remotes. As often happens with new devices, you may have some difficulty getting the remote to connect, or have issues with the connection dropping.

Potential solutions:

The first, and most obvious, thing to do is to make sure that the batteries in the remote aren’t dead. A pair of fresh batteries is definitely recommended before any further troubleshooting.

If you find the connection to drop frequently, try clearing the settings and re-pairing the remote again. To do so:

  1. First, unplug the Roku player, and then remove the battery compartment from the remote.
  2. Press and hold the A and B buttons, or the Home and Down buttons, depending on the remote, and then press the pairing button (in the battery compartment), while still holding the first two buttons.
  3. Release the buttons once the pairing LED starts flashing. There will be three more LED flashes, which indicates that the remote pairing has been cleared.
  4. Now reconnect the player, put the remote into pairing mode by pressing the pairing button, and you will see the pairing message on the screen once the player reboots completely.

Heavy congestion of wireless networks in your area, such as in a residential location, may be causing some interference as well. To find a channel that is traffic free, use an app like Wi-Fi Analyzer (if you have an Android device) that can be downloaded from the Google Play Store. Channels 1,6, or 11 are recommended, as they have no overlapping frequencies. Check the user manual of your Wi-Fi router to find out how to change the channel.

The Roku Stick comes with a regular IR remote which requires line of sight to function. However, the Stick plugs into the HDMI port that is sometimes on the back of the TV, which may cause issues when using the remote. If you own a Roku Stick, Roku will send you a free HDMI Extender Cable, that you can get by filling up the form here.

Looking for even more ways to fix your Roku remote? Check out our Roku Remote troubleshooting guide.


Problem #2 – No audio heard when watching videos

Some Roku Ultra owners have reported that there is no sound to be heard when streaming content.

Potential solutions:

The issue generally seems to be caused by the wrong setting being enabled by default. The audio settings can be found by going to Settings – Audio. If you are using a S/PDIF (optical) cable for audio output to a receiver, try setting the audio mode to Dolby Digital. If you are connected via HDMI to the TV and optical to AVR, change the audio mode to Dolby Digital/DD+.


Problem #3 – Red LED lighting up on Roku Express and Express+

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If you see the red LED flashing or solid on the Roku Express or Express+, this is what it means, and what you can do.

Potential solutions:

The flashing red light means that the device is not receiving enough power. If the device is plugged into a surge protector or power strip, try plugging it directly into a wall outlet to see if that works. If it does, you will need to replace the power strip with a new one. Of course, make sure that you are using only the power cord and adapter that were provided with the device.

In case the LED light is solid, that means that the device is overheating. Power off the device, and let it cool down for a while before rebooting it. To avoid this situation, make sure that the Roku Express isn’t placed on top of a set top box, routers, or AVR receivers, and avoid placing the player inside a cabinet or other enclosed spaces.


Problem #4 – “This HDMI input does not support HDCP 2.2” error message when enabling 4K

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The Roku Premiere, Premiere+, and Ultra are capable of streaming 4K content, assuming that you have the compatible equipment. Many users have come across the above error message when trying to enable 4K for the first time.

Potential solutions:

Something to keep in mind here is that every device in the chain between the Roku player and the TV has to be HDCP 2.2 compliant. For example, while your TV supports 4K content, not every HDMI port is HDCP 2.2 compliant, so you will have to check the owner’s manual to confirm which port is the one that will work. If the port is HDCP 2.2 compliant but you’re not seeing anything, you can also try to examine the HDMI cable you’re using, as well, to ensure it can play 4K and/or 4K HDR content. Even using a cable longer than 15 feet might cause issues but this is more rare.

If you are connecting to the Roku player through an AVR, the AVR must also be compatible. If you have a 4K TV, and your AVR does not support HDCP 2.2, you can still get both 4K video and use your AVR by connecting the Roku player directly to the HDCP 2.2 input on your TV, and using either ARC (Audio Return Channel) or S/PDIF to route the audio from the TV back to the AVR.


Problem #5 – Time to reset Roku

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While the problems above apply to very specific issues, sometimes your Roku just isn’t performing right. In these cases, the best way to fix your Roku problems is to try and reset your Roku.

First, let’s try a soft Roku reset. 

This method works only if you can still navigate the menus in your Roku. Basically you go to System > Advanced System Settings > Factory Reset. This will return everything to its default out-of-box state. This will require you to put all your information back in to access your Roku channels, but sometimes it’s the only option left. From here just follow the prompts onscreen.

What if you can’t get your Roku to respond at all?

If your Roku is completely locked up, you might want to try hard resetting the device. A hard Roku reset requires you to locate the reset button on your device, and follow the on-screen instructions.. The location will vary depending on the model. You hold down the button until you see it is actively resetting and the Roku logo has appeared on screen. From here you’ll get a clean setup and hopefully find your problem is gone.


So, there you have it for this roundup of some of the common problems faced by Roku player owners, and potential solutions on how to fix them. If you have come across these issues, or any others, do let us know in the comments section below, and we will try to help you with them.

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