There are a lot of things to like about Roku. It can be the simple UI, its streaming capabilities, or the new Find my Remote feature.
What attracted me the most is the variegated list of channels on offer. This is what led me to acquire a number of their devices over the years for my streaming sessions.
But don't get me wrong, they are not perfect. Being a Roku user myself, I can say the screen freezes annoy me the most.
To find a solution to the problem, I went online and visited Roku support pages and user forums.
I found out that the Roku tv keeps freezing mostly because of overheating and outdated software.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. If the problem persists, try a factory reset.
Check the Basics
Always make sure to cover the basic stuff when troubleshooting a problem. These include HDMI, Internet, update, and interference issues.
Check the HDMI connection
A faulty HDMI cable or a precarious connection can make your Roku put on a different persona. It may be 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 won't show up if the HDMI connections are shaky.
Make sure 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 on various channels, like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
Depending on the model you have, you may want to select the appropriate cable. A 4K capable device may require an HDMI 2.0 supported cable.
Check your Internet Connectivity
An unstable internet can cause all sorts of problems, a frozen screen being one of them. WiFi issues have always been an issue for select TCL Roku TV models too.
Make sure you have stable internet by checking the speeds using a speed testing software on your mobile or PC.
If the speeds are irregular, consider refreshing the connection by restarting the modem/router. Simply unplug the router/modem and plug 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 such as the streaming stick series and the Ultra series.
A traditional 2.4 GHz band has its limitations. It cannot support high traffic and if the traffic is high, so is the latency. This can cause buffering and freezing issues on the device.
A wider 5 GHz band doesn't have such limitations. It can support higher traffic without overshooting latency. Try changing the connection on your Roku to a 5GHz band to avoid further network issues.
Check for Updates
Running on an outdated version of the firmware can make any digital device vulnerable to numerous bugs and errors.
In fact, it is one of the main reasons why Roku's UI keeps slowing down.
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 but grave issue with Roku is its susceptibility to interference. A well-known example is an interference issue caused by a Nintendo Switch device.
The problem arises when you play a certain game on the Switch. The wireless transmission between the Switch and the router seemed to make a nearby placed Roku unresponsive.
A quick fix is to Turn Off WiFi on the Switch. Similarly, make sure that there are no wireless devices placed close to the Roku. Relocating the Roku may also be helpful.
Power Cycle and Restart the Roku
If you get a frozen Home screen and the device seems unresponsive to your commands, power cycle the device.
To power cycle a device means unplugging the device and plugging it back in after a few seconds. This will make all the temporal inconsistencies in the device disappear and also cool down the device.
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.
The earlier (first and second generation) Roku models may not have this option.
Check and Revert any Changes
Making changes on your Roku(especially the older models) has been reported to result in frozen screens and flickering interfaces.
Try and 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 changes 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 troublemaker, 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 can cause internet issues and screen freeze 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 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 might not be with the Roku itself, it may be a communication issue with the Remote.
A dead battery or communication interference can cause this issue.
Make sure the remote battery is working, and 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 connection seems to be faulty, 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. Turn ON the Roku and plug the batteries into the remote.
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 the Earphone/Headphone Connected to the Remote
If you have connected an earphone or a headphone to the headphone jack on the Remote, you may experience issues on the Shield TV.
Remove the headphones/earphone and restart the remote by removing the batteries.
Roku remote beeping issue is another common issue reported by Roku users.
App/channel Issues on Roku
Freezing issues may not all be a result of Roku malfunctions, it could also be due to a faulty app.
Several apps, like Netflix and Sling TV, have been known to have issues that can make the whole stream freeze and jitter.
Sure, they will be fixed eventually through an update, but once it occurs, there is no escaping the issue. TCL Roku TVs have also been facing channel issues.
You can log out and re-log into the channel, but it may not be as effective as removing the entire 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, you can install the channel once more by searching for it on the app store.
Make sure you remove the most recent app you added if the issue came to light after the said channel has been installed.
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 cache 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.