How to Fix Buffering on Roku

Imagine being stuck in an infinite buffer loop while trying to load your favorite show on the Roku. Even worse, the video might stop at a critical moment when you’re stuck in the same loop.

How to Fix Buffering on Roku

Annoying as it is, fixing the Ruku buffering isn’t that hard. The usual suspects are your network connection and the Roku software. Either way, this article will help you pinpoint the issue and continue enjoying your content seamlessly.

What’s the Main Culprit?

Without a doubt, weak Wi-Fi is the number one cause of buffering on Roku or any other streaming gadgets. You might have high upload or download speeds, but they can do you little good unless Wi-Fi is up to standard.

With this in mind, your Wi-Fi network can get congested which means there are too many devices that use the network. In turn, the signal gets even slower and you’ll need to disconnect some of the devices to prevent buffering.

roku express

How to Fix This

First of all, you need to make sure you’re getting the speeds you’re paying for. Grab another Wi-Fi-enabled device and run a speed test. You can do the same via an ethernet connection to determine the difference between the two.

That said, the download speeds aren’t always the same as on paper. In general, it’s okay if you-re getting 80-95% of what you’re paying for. For example, your Roku should work just fine with 80MBs to 90Mbs if you’re paying for 100Mbs.

On the other hand, getting only 20% of the optimal speed might not be enough for smooth streaming. In this case, you need to get in touch with the internet provider because the problem could be their end.

But before you call the provider, restart your router or modem to see if it helps. There’s usually an On/Off button at the back of your router or you can simply unplug it from the socket and plug it back in.

Expert Tips

You need to be persistent when contacting your provider and ask them to send someone over to inspect the connection. Those using a smart TV can connect it to an ethernet cable and avoid Wi-Fi altogether. Of course, this assumes the network is okay.

If the cable connection isn’t possible, make sure your modem or router is as close to the TV as possible. You can also use network extenders and switches to make sure each device is getting sufficient download and upload speeds.

Connection Trick

Contemporary routers usually have 5GHz and 2.4GHz connections. Needless to say, you should use the more powerful one for your Roku.

roku

The range of a 5GHz network is shorter, but the connection is much faster. There’s a specific socket for this connection and an LED signals that the connection is active.

Restarting the Roku

If the connection doesn’t seem to be the problem, you can try restarting the Roku. This removes some of the cache and junk files that might be interrupting the stream. Here are the steps.

Step 1

Navigate to Roku’s home screen and select the System option. You’ll be using your Roku remote for this.

roku buffering

Step 2

Move down and choose System Restart, then confirm by clicking Restart. Now, you might need to wait for a few minutes for the device to turn off then back on.

Manual Restart

Sometimes your Roku might get completely frozen and you won’t be able to navigate the menus. But there is a pre-set sequence of remote buttons you can press to initiate the restart.

Hit the Home button five times and press the arrow Up only once. Then proceed and press Rewind and Fast Forward two times in this sequence. Check out the quick recap:

Home x 5 > Up x 1 > Rewind x 2 > Fast Forward x 2

Software Update

If all else fails, a software update might do the trick. Hit the Home button on your remote, move up and choose Settings, then click System.

Confirm by selecting System Update and choose Check Now to look for new software. The System window is where you can also check the current software version and the time and date of the last update.

The device then installs the updated software and updates all your channels. Once the download and installation are complete, the Roku reboots and you should be able to establish a stable connection.

Hardware Issues

The Roku isn’t prone to hardware problems unless you physically damage the dongle. But there’s a possibility that your ethernet cable is faulty if you use a wired connection. The quick fix is to take the cable out and test it on another device with an ethernet connection. Just make sure to turn off Wi-Fi on that device to get accurate results.

Buffer-Free Streaming

Whichever way you look at it, poor internet speed is to blame for buffering and this doesn’t only apply to the Roku. As a rule, your download speeds should, at least, be at 20Mbs for seamless streaming, regardless of the device.

How often do you experience buffering problems with your Roku? What’s your internet speed? Tell us more in the comments section below.

8 thoughts on “How to Fix Buffering on Roku”

Thomas A Petersen says:
I’ve had Roku for a couple of years with no problems. About two weeks ago my Net Flix, started buffering after about a 2 minutes of watching. It’s only the Net Flix that does it, none of the other channels do? I’ve tried restarting both Roku and Net Flix with no luck?
Called my ISP and I’m switching to fiber optics but that wont be for about two weeks!
Any suggestions of what I might try in the mean time?
Lou Dunn says:
I just bought and my Roku yesterday and it started buffering yesterday.
Linda Wright says:
I’ve done everything I can do and I’m still getting buffering on Frendly channel and roku Chanel. Haven’t tried any others yet. Hulu seems to do well. I just give up but it’s sad cause the roku is all we have cant afford cable.
Sister Mary Margaret says:
The only channel I am having streaming issues with is the Roku channel. I have been through all the restart and software updates listed in the article and none of it resolved the issue.
L Coon says:
We suddenly started having problems with streaming Spectrum app on three different TVs with three different ROKU devices. Spectrum has tested speeds, excellent on download and upload. Tested speed with Orbi routers. Excellent speed. Computer streams fine, phone streams fine, but anything with a ROKU device continuously buffers and we are not even able to watch TV. That includes the Spectrum app, Netflix & Prime TV apps. I’ve done all the changes recommended by ROKU ( including reducing the bitrate). Nothing has worked and we are still unable to watch any of our three TVs. Someone somewhere has changed something!
Mary Folk says:
Same issue as you. How’s you fix it??
Eric H says:
I am having the same issue. Is there a solution?
Lindsey says:
I have 400 speed download and a hardwired Roku and I buffer when I FFWD and stop/play.. always. Speeds are fine. Internet provider blames the roku software. What gives? No other slowness experienced with the internet.
Eddy Jones says:
for about the last week, I’ve been having buffering problems on my Roku running Netflix. I have 200 Mbs consistently. I’m seeing the problem when I’m hardwired into the router as well as when I’m using WiFi.
The problem ONLY happens with Netflix. All of my other streaming services are streaming just fine. And when I stream Netflix from my Smart TV, or my computer, I am not having the buffering issue. I am pretty convinced that Netflix put out an “update” for the Roku app that messed something up.
Dave Rankin says:
I have Comcast as a provider. We have our own modem and router. I just up graded a 5 year old router and the download speed went from 50mbs to 90mbs. That is connected directly to the modem with a 6 foot Cat8 cable (cat 6 would have been fine) The Nighthawk router with 5g Wifi has been a complete transformation with all wireless devices. The modem is also 5 years old. It’s a Surfboard and has through put to spare.

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