Roku Not Working? Here’s What To Do.

Here's how to troubleshoot your Roku streaming devices

Roku devices are reliable and easy to use, but they don’t always deliver the goods. As with any streaming hardware, however, the Roku Ultra and a few of the previous generation Roku devices sometimes don’t work quite right.

We’ve identified some of the most common hardware and internet issues based on our own testing.

Read on to find out how to resolve the most common problems.

Note that in this article we’re covering the Roku Ultra we tested, but these tips apply to most Roku devices.

Troubleshooting Roku

Before we jump into specific troubleshooting tips, we suggest that you follow these simple steps for any problems you’re experiencing while streaming from a Roku device.

Roku troubleshooting tips:

  • Check your internet connection. If your network is experiencing disruptions due to outside issues, like network congestion during peak times, you may need to look into getting a faster connection.
  • Try disconnecting your Wi-Fi router for 30 seconds, then reconnecting it.
  • Sign out of your Roku account and then sign back in.
  • Restart the Roku device.

My Roku won’t connect to Wi-Fi

When you first turn on the Roku Ultra, you might discover that the device simply won’t connect to the internet. You won’t see the usual indications that you have a Wi-FI signal.

By far the most common reason for internet problems with the Roku is related to your own network, not the device. We’ve rarely, if ever, seen a Roku device that had a faulty connection. Your router or your internet provider are usually the culprit.

The easiest fix, and the one that usually works the best, is to simply turn off your router, wait a few seconds, then turn it on again. It sounds too simple but it works. Some routers become congested or experience some other minor failure.

If you use a cable modem for your internet connection, try turning that off and waiting about ten seconds, then turning it back on. Beyond those tips, if you suspect an actual internet outage, check other devices to see if they connect.

My Roku remote control won’t work

Another common issue with Roku streaming devices is that the remote control won’t let you control any of your apps.

There are very common two reasons the remote won’t function.

The most obvious is that the batteries are dead. The Roku Ultra remote uses AAA batteries. Even if you think the batteries might be somewhat fresh, it’s always a good idea to at least try brand new batteries and see if that helps

It’s also fairly common for the pairing not to work. We’ve seen this occur when other devices connect over Bluetooth in the same room or when there is some other interference. To solve this issue, go to Settings, then Remote & devices. You should see the connected remote (it should say “in use” but if you don’t see that, try setting up a new device).

Sometimes, the best bet with a remote is to try removing the batteries and putting them back in. It’s old school, but we’ve seen that resolve the pairing issue.

4K problems between my Roku and TV

Most of us want to see shows and movies in the best resolution possible. On Netflix, apps like Amazon Prime Video, and on the free 4K channels included with the Roku Ultra, that means 4K video. The problem is that your television might not support the higher-definition standard, even if the device itself certainly does.

To check into this problem, go to Settings then Display type. What you should see is a virtual image of a display with the words 4K HDR. That means the Roku Ultra recognizes your 4K television, and everything should work fine. If you don’t see this, it’s possible the Roku Ultra doesn’t support the specific 4K model you have or the TV is not actually 4K.

Here’s one tip to address the issue: get a better cable. The Roku is great at recognizing your 4K television … unless you have a bad HDMI cable or an older cable. Try purchasing a brand new HDMI cable and using that to see if the Roku Ultra recognizes your TV.

Find alternative products

Not everyone loves the Roku Ultra. It’s a powerful device, apps run fast, and there are plenty of cool features like the 4K spotlight (for finding movies). Maybe you are ready to use a totally different app or purchased a smart television. If so, consider these apps.

Best streaming alternatives to Roku
ServicePriceLearn more
Netflix$8.99–$15.99/mo.View Plans
Hulu with Live TV$55/mo.View Plans
YouTube TV$49.99/mo.View Plans
Sling TV$20–$35/mo.View Plans

Data as of 11/12/20. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.