I recently noticed that my Roku still consumed a lot of my internet bandwidth even when my TV is turned off, leading to exorbitant data bills.
Initially, I shrugged it off as a bug, but only when I dived knee-deep in research did I notice that this isn't a bug, but rather a port hardware situation that isn't Roku's fault.
But the fact that this is an issue worth fixing still stands strong and has led me to make this troubleshooting article on the various ways by which you can get around this issue.
Roku will keep streaming even when the TV is off as Roku is powered from a different power source. The video stream must be manually turned off using the Roku remote.
Roku Will Continue to Stream Content Even if the TV Is Turned Off
If you turn off your TV before turning off or pausing the content you were streaming, the Roku will still stream the content in the background.
This is because Roku is an input device and doesn't have the capability to know the current power state of your TV
The Roku devices are usually powered by an external power source, using an adapter that bypasses the area of control that the TV remote has with the power state of the device.
So if you are streaming media from services like Netflix and Prime Video, and you just turn off the TV instead of pausing the media or turning off the TV, the streaming doesn't halt.
Streaming on Roku, especially with a better Ethernet connection, can consume a lot of bandwidth if you're not very observant of the said notion.
Make a Habit of Turning off the Stream Before Turning off the TV
There are a number of ways in which you can get around this dilemma, ranging from the simplest of steps to implement to setting certain checks to tackle this head-on
One of the easiest and most straightforward steps is to simply develop a habit of turning off or at least pausing the stream before turning off the TV.
It can be a hassle to manage two different TV remotes for controlling media on your TV.
But properly shutting down a streaming service before you move on is an effective way to ensure that nothing runs in the background and inevitably drains all your data.
Ignoring the above-mentioned tips can lead to issues with Roku, like Roku becoming slower over time.
Enable Bandwidth Saver Mode on Roku
Roku has a multitude of options to help you customize your experience with their ecosystem, and Bandwidth Saver mode is a god-given option for those who don't turn off streams
The Bandwidth Saver mode essentially determines any inactivity from the user side and sends out a message prompt to shut down for every 4 hours of inactivity
If the user doesn't respond to that message prompt by clicking the 'Keep Watching' option, the Roku will automatically shut down.
This can potentially save a lot of data, considering the 4-hour time period. Unfortunately, this 4-hour duration cant be customized as of writing this article, but it is effective nonetheless
To enable bandwidth-saver mode on your Roku, follow the steps below:
- Open the Home menu on your Roku
- Navigate to the settings option and click on it
- Select the Network option on the resultant screen
- Go to the Bandwidth saver option and turn it on
This enables the Bandwidth saver option, thus reducing idle data consumption drastically.
Change the Playback Bitrate on Your Roku
Roku devices, since their inception, had multiple hidden menus sprinkled across the whole user interface that can only be accessed by inputting certain codes from the Roku remote
One such hidden menu opens up the option for manually setting a playback bitrate of your choice for all your streaming purposes
With a lower bit rate, you can force the stream to adjust quality accordingly and provide you with a much cheaper bill if you keep forgetting to turn off the streams when inactive
This combined with the bandwidth saver mode enabled is probably the best fix for saving data whenever the TV is turned off when the Roku sits powered on idle.
This menu, named the 'Bit rate override' menu can be accessed and configured by the following steps:
- Open and navigate to the home screen of the Roku
- Using the Roku Remote, input the following buttons: Home button 5 times, Rewind button 3 times, and Fast forward button 2 times.
- This opens up the Bit Rate Override screen. Tap on Manual selection from the screen
- Select your desired bit rate from the resultant screen
This fixes the bit rate of all streamed content from Roku, saving you a ton of data over time. Doing so can also solve issues with the internet/WiFi on Roku.
Roku fosters a fantastic lineup of devices over a wide price range with which you can connect to any TV and make it smart and powerful.
Even if your TV is a smart TV, a Roku device can be used to enhance the overall performance and user experience, as a typical smart TV comes with underpowered processors.
That being said, attaching an external brain to your TV comes with the side effect of needing to control both with different remotes.
This is the prime reason why people usually forget to turn off their media streams, and rather directly turn off the TV instead, resulting in an insane data drain overnight.
This is strictly not the fault of Roku for doing this, and a solution that integrates both the TV and the Roku more seamlessly needs to be implemented to get rid of this issue.
Such solutions do exist, in the form of smart hubs that combine multiple technologies and control the whole system using WiFi, but that is a costly affair for a simple problem.
But still, the fact that we can troubleshoot the issue from our end with a simple habit change or mode change from the settings shows just how easy it is to bypass the issue.
Also, as mentioned earlier, running your Roku for a longer period of time can cause, fast-forwarding issues on Roku being one of them.
I hope my article has been an effective read and helped you solve the issue of your Roku continuing to stream media even after the TV is turned off.
Have a good day!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How much data can Roku consume every hour?
A media stream from a Roku device can consume anywhere from 600MB to a massive 15GB every hour, depending on the streaming service and video bit rate.
Is there a monthly subscription fee to access Roku?
Roku is a one-time payment service and doesn't work on a subscription plan. But you will have to pay for other video streaming services like Prime Video and Netflix to access that.
What are the key specifications of Roku?
Depending on the price range, the Roku lineup can have anywhere between 51MB to 2GB of RAM, with the higher-end models implementing a quad-core A55 CPU for smooth performance.