I've mostly had great experiences with Roku products.
And so, when I first started experiencing internet download/stream speed issues, I knew it could be resolved if I do it right.
I have had a few Roku devices over the years, from the Roku 2s to the current-gen Roku TVs, and I do enjoy my sweet time with them.
Timely updates and picture-perfect streams form just the tip of the iceberg, as there are a lot of features that make them cool, and in a way, resourceful.
And so, coming back to the internet download speed issue, there could be multiple reasons why this could be happening.
If your Roku internet download speed is poor, reboot your Roku and check the internet connection. If the issue persists, refresh the router and switch to higher bandwidth. You could also try updating the Roku and changing the router settings. If none of the above works, hard reset the Roku.
Below I have explained each troubleshooting step in detail so that you can fix a Roku with slow internet speed.
Reboot Your Roku
Rebooting your Roku is not as ineffective as you might think. Sometimes, a simple refresh can make the system run even better than before.
Restarting your Roku can and will remove any temporal bugs that are indubitably harmful to the system.
The best and the most effective way to restart a system is through a power cycle test. Apart from the foreboding name, the process is a breeze to perform.
All you have to do is unplug the device and leave it unplugged for a few seconds, presumably even minutes. In the case of a Roku Streaming stick, unplug the device from the HDMI port.
In the case of a Roku TV, after the 'leaving it idle part', press and hold the power button for a few seconds. Perform this step a few times.
Then plug back in the power cord and check for the issue now.
You could also restart Roku using the in-device commands. Follow these steps on your Roku to do so.
1. Press the Home button on your remote to bring up the Menu tab.
2. Click and open the Settings option and then select System.
3. Click on the System Restart option(in the case of a Roku TV, go to Power and then select System Reset).
4. Select the Restart option to initialize the process.
Once the restart is complete, check for the issue.
Check Your Network Connection
Now, before getting into the good stuff, you need to know a few things about downloading and streaming on your Roku device. Namely, the speeds that you require for a particular resolution.
Roku requires a minimum internet speed of 512 KBPS - 3 MBPS for a smooth and uninterrupted streaming/downloading in SD quality. HD streams and downloads may require north of 5 MBPS and 4K streams/downloads, a good 15-20 MBPS.
The best way to check whether your Router supplies adequate speeds to your Roku device is to run a speed test on your network. There are a couple of ways through which you can accomplish this task.
First, let's try running the speed test through a speed tester application on your smart device. You can either download the application or access it through a browser.
Run the test and check if the speeds are up to the mark. Once completed, the results will reveal the speed and latency of your network.
Another way to check the speed and status of your network is through the Roku itself. Follow these steps to do so.
1. On the Home Menu tab, click and open the Settings tab.
2. Click on Network, and here, you will find several options.
3. The About tile will show you the status, strength, IP/MAC address, speed, among other info about your network.
4. To test your network speed, click on the Check Connection tile.
After running the test, you will be able to see what speed and signal strength you're getting on your Roku.
Did you know that Roku has an in-built Web browser? Even if the features are limited compared to a traditional browser, you can live with it alright. You could also run a speed test through this browser.
Refresh the Router
So the results have come in, and the speeds are not up to the mark. What to do next? Well, there are quite a few things that could go wrong, either with the Roku or with the Router.
Let's start with the Router, specifically by restarting it.
Over time, especially if it has been running for a long time, an electronic device is bound to become slow, probably even less efficient.
The best way to resolve such a predicament is by restarting it.
A similar Power cycle test that we applied on the Roku should do the job.
Start by unplugging the Router and leaving it idle for a few seconds. After that, press and hold the power button, or any other button, for a few seconds and release it. Perform this step a few times.
Plug back in the power cord and start the Router.
Check the speed once more using the speed testing application. If the results are satisfactory, connect the Roku to a network connection.
Check for the issue now.
Switch to a Higher Bandwidth
Wireless connectivity has become the most adopted method for connecting to the internet, thanks to its ease of use and connectivity. But that doesn't mean it's free of issues.
There are a few problems that trouble wireless connectivity on Roku.
A traditional 2.4 GHz band(even if it does provide better and longer coverage and signal strength) is prone to various issues.
The most prominent one among the bunch is the speed and latency issue. This issue becomes evident once the traffic in the network exceeds the threshold.
Once you exceed the threshold, you may get buffering issues and slow download/stream speeds on your devices.
Now, you can either limit the traffic on your network or switch the connection to a wider bandwidth network to overcome such an issue.
A 5 GHz band can host a lot of users without breaking the network. The speeds and the latency remain the same even under heavy load.
But do remember that not all Roku devices support a 5 GHz network. Some older models, including the Roku Premiere(3920, 3921) and the Express models of yesteryear, lack support.
To change the network on your Roku, follow these steps.
1. On the Home tab, click and open the Settings menu.
2. Select Network and then click on the Setup Connection option.
3. Click on the 5 GHz band name and enter the password.
Restart the device after connecting to the new network. Check for the issue now.
You could also do the vice-versa of what we have done, meaning you could also switch the connection to a 2.4 GHz band if you are having issues with the 5 GHz band.
If you have problems with both the wireless bands, try switching to a wired Ethernet connection. An Ethernet connection isn't affected by faint signal strengths and traffic-induced limitations.
All you have to do is connect the Ethernet cable to the device(if your Roku supports it), and restart the device.
Check for Updates on Roku
One grey area worth taking a look at is the updates. Always check whether you are running your Roku on the latest firmware.
Outdated firmware acts as a conduit for all the many bugs and errors waiting to take root in your system. The developers are always on the lookout for any such erroneous bugs, and they do come up with a fix quite frequently.
Once you start experiencing issues(small or critical) on your Roku, immediately check for any updates that the devs may have issued in response to the said issue.
To check and update the firmware on your Roku, follow these steps.
1. In the Home tab, click and open the Settings menu.
1. Click and open the System option and then select System Update.
2. Proceed to select Check now to check for updates.
Apply the updates, if any. Restart the device and check for any issues.
Change the Router Settings
Now, let's check and change the various characteristics of your Router. Improper configuration can lead to network issues, like the download speed issue we are dealing with right now.
We will be looking at the broadcast channels and the DNS settings for the time being. There are other settings and functions that you could alter to bring about a change, but most of them involve ISP authorization.
So without any further ado, let's start with the Channels, shall we?
Check the WiFi Channel
A channel determines the efficiency and the capacity that a particular band can support.
Some channels are susceptible to interference. Opting for such a channel can hinder the performance of the connection. Such issues are more evident in adjacent channels where traffic can exceed the threshold.
Once you sort out this issue, you will get better latency and strength on your network.
To do so, first, connect your Router to your PC either through an Ethernet cable or using a USB connection.
Then follow these steps to check and change the channels.
1. Open a browser on your PC and enter the IP address of your Router onto the search bar. You can find the IP address on the bottom side of the Router.
2. On the Router Portal, enter the User ID and the Password. You can find these credentials on the bottom of the Router as well.
3. Now, you'll have to find the Wireless Channel menu(often located under Advanced Settings).
4. Here, you can find the channels for your bandwidths. For the 2.4 GHz band, select the 1st, 6th, and 11th channels. In the case of a 5GHz band, go with the 36th, 40th, 44th, 48th channels.
5. Make sure to save the changes and exit the portal.
Restart the router/modem. Check for the issue now.
Check the DNS setting
DNS determines the source location through which your Router/Modem communicates with the ISP(internet service provider). Tampering with the DNS can and will cause problems on your network.
If you have changed the DNS in the near past, intentionally or inadvertently, revert the setting back to its original configuration.
To change the DNS settings of your Router, follow these steps.
1. In the Router portal, search and locate the DNS setting menu(often located under the Basic Settings/Setup/WAN menu).
2. Here, you can find various tiles with numbers on them. The tiles you should be looking for are DNS 1/primary and DNS 2/secondary.
3. Enter either a standard DNS(DNS 1- 126.96.36.199 & DNS 2 - 188.8.131.52) or the ISP recommended DNS onto these fields.
4. Save your changes and exit the portal.
Restart the Router and check for further issues.
Hard Reset Your Roku
Finally, reset your Roku as a plausible fix. A factory reset can and will clear off any unwanted entities such as piled-up bugs and temporal errors residing in your system.
A reset will also refresh the cache memory of your device. It is in here the bugs take their refuge.
Other advantages include better performance and more efficiency.
A reset is also one of the most effective remedies for a black screen or 'screen of death' issue on Roku TV. In such cases, the screen of your Roku TV remains black and unresponsive to your commands.
Follow these steps to reset your Roku:
1. On the Settings tab, click and open the System menu.
2. Click and open the Advanced System Settings option.
3. Select Factory Reset.
4. Now, enter the Special code from the bottom right corner onto the designated tile. Click OK.
Once the process completes, set up your device like new. Check for any further issues.
You can also reset some Roku devices through the Reset Button. Roku TVs are known to have reset buttons on their back. Press and hold this button for a few seconds or until the device turns OFF and then back ON again.
Older devices may have a pinhole button. Make use of a pointed device like a toothpick to press such buttons.
Poor signal strength on Roku can also result from the effect of interference from nearby gadgets. Check and turn OFF any other wirelessly transmitting devices like a gaming console or a smart home gadget in the vicinity of the Roku.
Also, remove any Bluetooth transmitter/receivers that you have connected to the Roku itself.
This is because Bluetooth devices transfer information via the 2.4 GHz band, similar to a traditional WiFi network. Hence, causing interference issues.
Make sure to perform each and every step mentioned in this article to find the best possible solution to the problem.
If none of these fixes worked for you, contact Roku support for further assistance.
Sometimes, Roku itself may become slow. In such cases, you might as well check if it's an app issue or an issue with a remote. Also, most of the troubleshooting steps mentioned in this article do apply to this issue as well.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How do I get to the Roku secret menu?
To open the secret menu on your Roku device, press these buttons on your remote in following this sequence: Home button five times>Rewind button three times>Fast Forward button two times.
Does Roku support screen mirroring?
Indeed, Roku supports Screen mirroring. To enable mirroring on Roku, go to Settings>System>Screen Mirroring>Screen Mirroring Mode. Roku also has support for Apple Airplay.
Can you use Plex on Roku?
Yes, you can use Plex streaming on Roku. But, you can only use Plex as a client on your Roku. To avail Plex services go to the channel store and search and type Plex. Install the channel and enter your Login credentials to set up Plex on your Roku.