Roku devices are a great way to convert any non-smart TV into an impressive smart streamer. Moreover, they are a good way to change the operating system in your smart TV into something different.
Most Roku sticks and streamers are notably fast and good enough to keep up with all your streaming duties. However, as the conditions get unfavorable, it is not unheard of for Roku to get sluggish and even borderline unusable.
If your Roku is responding too slowly for your liking or slower than it usually does, here is a couple of things you should check on first before considering getting a replacement.
Check Your Internet Connection
A slow internet connection will slow down your Roku device – especially if you are playing or browsing online content from platforms like YouTube, Netflix, Hulu and other online video providers.
A slow network connection could be due to one of the following:
There is an Outage or a Problem With Your ISP
If your ISP connection is slow, you won’t get enough bandwidth to access any online streaming services. Your Roku will keep spinning the loading wheel for a while whenever you launch a video and apps will take a while before launching past the splash screen and loading icons.
While your internet might be fast enough at times to stream content, it will get slower if the ISP has a mild problem with the connection, more people are accessing the web and streaming content from your network or you are trying to stream to high of a definition content.
Such sluggishness should vary over time as other users drop out or the ISP gets back to normal.
ProTip: Consider upgrading your subscription plan if you have less than the following Roku recommendations
- 3 Mbps for SD content
- 9 Mbps for HD content
Your Home Network is Congested
Your ISP connection might be up to spec but your home network is still sluggish because it is congested. Congestion happens when:
- You have more devices connected to your home router than it is recommended hence congesting your network
- You still run the ISP basic router for all your home networks and have high bandwidth devices like a Network Attached Storage (NAS) which can easily saturate the router’s LAN bandwidth
You can bypass congestion by:
- Reducing the number of devices running on your home network at the time
- Switching to WiFi 5 or Cable connection if the congestion is just on WiFi 2.5
- Getting an aftermarket router that can handle better LAN bandwidth and more devices
The WiFi Signal Isn’t Strong Enough
If you moved your Roku device to a different room and it got sluggish, chances are the WiFi signal in that room is not strong enough.
You can remedy this by:
- Taking it back to a region with a stronger WiFi signal (closer to your router)
- Adding a WiFi repeater or using a stronger access point
- Using a wired connection
ProTip: Use another device (like your phone or computer) to stream content or do a network speed test. If it can stream just fine and your internet speed tests are as high as you expect depending on your ISP connection, then the problem must be your Roku. Move on to the solutions below.
Restart Your Roku
A simple restart can fix a lot of problems in a wide range of electronics. It is no different in your Roku.
Restarts will fix temporary bugs and refresh your cache memory. This can easily fix apps that were suddenly too slow for no reason.
You can power cycle your Roku by unplugging it from the power for five seconds before plugging it in again. Alternatively, you can restart it by:
- Go to settings and open System
- Click power and then System Restart
- Click Restart to confirm and initiate the restart
Do You Have Pending Software Updates?
Checking for any pending software updates is another way to fix a slow Roku device. Piled up updates will mean you are not running the latest software with incremental optimizations and security patches for your hardware.
You can fix this by going to the System Menu then navigating to System Update. Check for updates and ensure you have your internet connection active for this.
Install any pending updates and restart the device to see if this fixes the problem.
Change the Batteries in the Remote
Sometimes, all that sluggishness can be because your remote batteries are low or the remote itself is acting up.
If your Roku still responds snappily to instructions from your smartphone app, consider changing the batteries on the Roku remote to remedy the problem.
Delete Unused Apps
Too many apps on your Roku device means less remaining space for cache files. This could drastically reduce your resources making the Roku device very slow.
Since most Rokus, especially older models, don’t have enough storage and RAM to accomodate multiple apps at a go, I’d recommend uninstalling apps you don’t frequently use.
You can re-install them again next time you need them. Just don’t keep them lying around.
Implement a Factory Reset
If you are still having problem even after implementing the above solutions, it might be time to implement a factory reset.
A factory reset will wipe all your additional settings and installation so be ready to start from scratch again. Here is how to do the factory reset.
- Open the Settings Menu and Navigate to Sytem
- Select Advanced System Settings
- Click Factory Reset
- Enter the code displayed on the bottom right of the screen to implement the factory reset
Consider Getting a Newer Faster Roku Device
If your Roku is still slow even after trying all the above fixes, chances are the hardware itself is faulty, the device is thermal throttling or it is simply too old to keep up with your current streaming demands.
- If it is more than three years old, you might consider a replacement
- If you ever got the heat warning, consider installing it at a place with more airflow
- Otherwise, consider buying a newer and more powerful Roku device