Screen freezes are one of the most irksome issues one can come across on a modern-day TV. But what will you do when a streaming platform freezes, say a Roku device?
Being a Roku user myself, I became really annoyed when my Roku TV froze dead right in the middle of a beloved show a couple of days ago.
After much research, I found out that the Roku TV keeps freezing mostly because of overheating and outdated software.
If your Roku keeps freezing, perform a quick power cycle and update your Roku to the latest version. If the issue is with a particular channel, remove and re-add it. Also, check for issues with the Remote. If the problem persists, factory reset your Roku.
Here are the best fixes to try if your Roku is freezing:
|Faulty HDMI cable||Check cable connections. Use HDMI cables that support HDCP 2.2 connection|
|WiFi issues||Your WiFi and internet connection to make sure they work correctly|
|Outdated Roku firmware||Update firmware|
|Device unresponsive||Power cycle Roku|
|Recent changes caused errors||Revert changes like screensavers or background changes. Auto-adjust refresh rate settings. Turn off bandwidth saver.|
|Roku remote issue||Pair and unpair the remote. Remove headphones connected to the remote.|
Roku Frozen: Basic Fixes to Try
Always make sure to cover the basic stuff when troubleshooting a problem. These include checks associated with HDMI, Internet, firmware, and the UI.
Check the HDMI Connection
A faulty HDMI cable or a precarious connection can complicate things and lead to issues one way or the other.
Common problems include a freezing issue, an AV sync issue, or even an outright blackout (which is easier to find out).
If you are using an external Roku device connected to a smart TV like Samsung's smart TVs, the Roku UI won't show up if the HDMI connections are shaky.
Ensure the cables are connected properly.
Always remember to use HDMI cables that support HDCP 2.2 connection. HDCP is a copyright protocol that is necessary for streaming content from various platforms, like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
Depending on the model you have, you may want to select the appropriate cable. A 4K-ready device may require an HDMI 2.0 (or above) cable, preferably from a reputed manufacturer.
Check your Internet Connectivity
An unstable internet can cause all sorts of problems, frozen screens being one of them. WiFi issues have always been an issue for select TCL Roku TV models too.
Ensure you have stable internet by checking the speeds using speed testing software. You can access such an application either through a dedicated app or the browser on your mobile or PC.
If the speeds are irregular, consider refreshing the connection by restarting the modem/router.
Do so by unplugging the router/modem and plugging it back in after a few seconds.
Check the speed and then reconnect the device.
If you still have problems, try changing the connection to a wider bandwidth. Some Roku devices support dual-band connections, meaning they can host both the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands.
A traditional 2.4 GHz band has its limitations. It cannot support high network traffic and if the traffic is high, so is the latency. This can cause buffering and freezing issues on connected devices.
The wider 5 GHz band doesn't have such limitations. It can support higher traffic without overshooting latency. However, the effective signal range is a bit narrow.
To change the network on your Roku device, follow these steps:
1. Head over to the Settings menu and navigate to the Network tile.
2. Choose Set Up Connection and choose Wireless.
3. Select the 5 GHz band (or vice versa). Enter the password to complete the setup.
Check for the issue now.
Check for Updates
Running on an outdated version of the firmware can make any digital device vulnerable to bugs and errors.
Make sure to run your Roku on the latest version at all times.
To update your Roku, follow these steps.
1. In the Home screen, click and open Settings.
2. Open Systems.
3. Click on System Update and Check Now to manually scan for updates.
Wait for the updates to be installed and then restart the device.
Check for Interferences
Another subtle yet grave issue with Roku is its susceptibility to interference. A well-known example is the interference anomaly caused by the Nintendo Switch.
The problem arises when you game online on the Switch. The wireless transmission between the Switch and the Router seems to make nearby Roku devices unresponsive.
A quick fix is to Turn Off the WiFi or move the Switch away from the Roku.
Similarly, relocating the Roku from wirelessly transmitting devices will take care of the interference factor to a certain degree.
Power Cycle and Restart the Roku
If you get a frozen Home screen and the device seems unresponsive to your commands, power cycling the device may be the remedy.
Power cycling a device essentially is a system refresh but with a little more oomph. Think of it as an advanced way of rebooting the device.
Doing so will make all the temporal inconsistencies in the device disappear and also cool down the device.
Here's how it goes - Unplug the Roku device from the power supply, leave it to rest for a couple of seconds, and plug it back again to power.
You could also manually restart the device on the Roku by following these steps.
1. In the Settings tab, click and open System.
2. Click on System Restart.
3. Then press Restart.
In the case of Roku TV, you will have to go to Settings>System>Power>System Restart>Restart.
Earlier (first and second-generation) Roku models may not feature this option.
Check the Roku Features
Making menu changes on your Roku (especially the older models) has been reported to result in frozen screens and flickering interfaces.
If so, better revert any recent changes you have made on Roku as a troubleshooting step. Restart the device after reverting the changes for better results.
Screensavers and background modifications are known to be erroneous. Make sure to change them back to the default ones.
Other changes to take note of are as follows.
Auto-Adjust Refresh Rate Settings on Roku
Claimed by many to be a principal cause for this issue, this setting must be turned OFF if you have any issues with the display.
As the name suggests, this option will automatically adjust the Frame rate of your device depending on the content you play.
To turn off Auto-adjust refresh rate settings on Roku, follow these exact steps.
1. On the Settings tab, click and open System.
2. Click on Advanced System Settings.
3. Select Advanced Display Setting and turn OFF the Auto-adjust the Display Refresh rate option.
Restart your device and check for issues.
Turn OFF Bandwidth Saver
Another setting that is known to cause internet issues, and ultimately screen freezes, is the bandwidth-saver setting.
This setting makes the device go to sleep if the remote has been inactive for over 4 hours.
When you wake up the device from its respite, the UI may not be as responsive as before.
To turn OFF the bandwidth-saver option:
1. Go to the Settings tab and open Network.
2. Click on Bandwidth Saver and disable it.
Restart the device and check for further issues.
Issues with the Roku Remote
Sometimes, the problem may not be with the Roku itself, rather it may be a communication issue with the Remote.
A dead battery or communication interference can also trigger the freezing issue.
So, it's best to check whether the remote battery is working and whether there are no impedances along the line of sight with the Roku (need not worry about this in the case of RF-enabled remotes).
Other remote-related things to consider are as follows:
Unpair and Re-pair the Remote
If the REMOTE connection seems to be janky, try refreshing the connection by unpairing and re-pairing the remote with Roku.
To unpair and re-pair the Roku remote:
1. Turn OFF the Roku and remove the batteries for the remote.
2. Plug the batteries back into the remote and turn it ON.
3. Press and hold the pairing button next to the remote's battery compartment till you see the blinking LED.
4. Follow the on-screen prompts to pair the remote.
Remove Earphones/Headphones Connected to the Remote
If you have connected an earphone or a headphone to the headphone jack on the Remote (supported models), there is a slight chance for the screen to freeze.
The exact cause for the same eludes this writer for the time being, but it is safe to surmise that a bug might be the chief culprit behind the same.
Remove the headphones/earphones and restart the remote by removing the batteries as a fix.
Roku remote beeping issue is another common issue reported by Roku users.
App/Channel Issues on Roku
Freezing issues may not necessarily result from Roku malfunctions, it could also stem from a buggy app/channel.
Several apps, like Netflix and Sling TV, have been known to host issues capable of rendering the whole stream to freeze and jitter.
Sure, all such bugs usually get fixed through an eventual update, but once it occurs, there is no escaping the issue. TCL Roku TVs have also been facing channel issues.
And logging out and re-logging into the channel can prove to be helful, but the best way to tackle such issues is to remove and re-add the troublesome app.
To remove the app, follow these steps.
1. On the Home screen, navigate and hover over the erroneous channel.
2. Press the * button on the remote to bring up a settings menu.
3. Click on Remove channel at the bottom of the list.
4. Confirm by clicking Remove to delete the channel.
Restart the device and then install the channel once more from the Roku Store.
If the issues became evident quite recently, remove the most recently added app as a troubleshooting check. If the freezes stop after doing so, the app in question may be the culprit.
Hard Resetting the Roku
The last straw in my bag of tricks and tips is to reset the Roku back to its factory setting. This will clear the memory and remove any bugs and errors present in the device.
Follow these steps to reset your Roku.
1. In the Settings tab, click and open System.
2. Click on Advanced System Settings and then select Factory Reset.
3. Enter the special code displayed on the screen and click on OK.
4. Wait for the process to be completed. Set up your Roku again and check for problems.
If the screen is frozen and there is nothing you can do to change it, you can reset the device using a combination of buttons pushed on the Roku remote.
Follow this order to soft reboot the device.
1. Press the Home button 5 times.
2. Then the Up arrow once.
3. Press the rewind button twice.
4. Then the fast forward button twice.
Once the button pushes have been recognized by Roku, the system will eventually reset, and a bouncing Roku logo will appear.
You can also press and hold the reset button (pinhole button in some models) on your Roku to bring up a recovery mode screen. From here, you can update and reset your device.
A quick hotfix for a freezing Roku TV is to remove the SD card and restart the device.
SD cards have caused issues in the past so, you might as well give it a try.
If none of the tips seems to placate the issue, contact Roku support for further assistance.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Why does my Roku streaming keep stopping?
The most obvious reason for the stream to come to a sudden halt is an unstable internet connection. Other plausible causes include faulty remote controls, software bugs, and outright hardware issues on the system internals.
Does system restart on Roku delete everything?
No, a system restart will reboot the Roku as a whole and that's pretty much it. On the other hand, a Factory Reset will delete everything on your Roku, including added channels and user-defined settings.