Roku devices are reliable and easy to use, but they don’t always deliver the goods. As with all streaming hardware, however, the Roku Ultra and some of the previous generation Roku devices sometimes don’t perform quite well.

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

Read on to find out how to fix the most common issues.

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

Roku troubleshooting

Before moving on to specific troubleshooting tips, we suggest that you follow these simple steps for any issue you are having while streaming from a Roku device.

Roku troubleshooting tips:

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

My Roku won’t connect to Wi-Fi

When you turn on the Roku Ultra for the first time, you may find that the device simply does not 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 issues with the Roku is related to your own network, not the device. We have rarely, if ever, seen a Roku device with a bad connection. Usually your router or internet provider is the culprit.

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

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

My Roku remote isn’t working

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

There are two very common reasons why the remote control does not work.

The most obvious is that the batteries are exhausted. The Roku Ultra remote uses AAA batteries. Even if you think the batteries might be a bit cool, it’s still a good idea to at least try new batteries and see if that helps.

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

Sometimes the best bet with a remote is to try and remove the batteries and put them back in. It’s old school, but we’ve seen this solve the pairing problem.

4K issues between my Roku and my TV

Most of us want to watch shows and movies in the highest 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, your TV may not support the higher definition standard, although the device itself certainly does.

To resolve this problem, go to Settings then Display type. What you should see is a virtual image of a screen with the words 4K HDR. This means the Roku Ultra recognizes your 4K TV 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 isn’t actually 4K.

Here’s a trick to solving the problem: get a better cable. The Roku is great at recognizing your 4K TV… unless you have the wrong HDMI cable or an older cable. Try buying a brand new HDMI cable and use it to see if the Roku Ultra recognizes your TV.

Find alternative products

Not everyone likes the Roku Ultra. It’s a powerful device, the apps work fast, and there are many cool features like the 4K projector (for finding movies). Maybe you are ready to use a totally different app or buy a smart TV. If so, consider these apps.

Best streaming alternatives to Roku

A service Price Learn more
Netflix $ 8.99 to $ 15.99 / month See the plans
Hulu with Live TV $ 55 / month See the plans
YouTube TV $ 49.99 / month See the plans
Sling TV $ 20 to $ 35 / month See the plans

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