Why Your Roku Stream Keeps Buffering and How to Fix it
If your Roku is buffering, you might be experiencing a connectivity issue. But this is not always the case.
This guide will walk you through all of the solutions for when you experience buffering and slow media loading on a Roku streaming device.
Information on this page applies to all Roku models, including the Roku Streaming Stick 4K, Roku Ultra, and Roku Express product lines.
The number one cause of unwanted buffering is a weak or unreliable Wi-Fi connection. But an outdated software version could be the culprit.
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Media apps that automatically switch to high-resolution videos while on a slow connection that can’t handle larger files can also cause buffering.
Here are the best ways to stop buffering when using a Roku to stream media.
A quick restart only takes a few seconds and can fix your buffering problem and other issues.
Turning your Roku off and on again can fix most bugs and glitches.
If the router is far away or blocked by an object somehow, this can seriously compromise your Wi-Fi speed.
Check to see if other devices — streaming players, computers, or gaming systems — are also online at the same time. You may need to limit those other devices to give the Roku more of your network bandwidth.
As stated earlier, an outdated software version can cause Roku to buffer.
To update the software, Select Settings > System > System Update > Check Now to update your Roku’s operating system to the latest version.
A quick modem reset will make a new connection to your internet service provider, which can often be faster than what you had before.
If you have a 5G modem, turn it off for at least five minutes to allow the connection to reset completely. Some models may need 10 minutes to disconnect from the initial connection fully.
If your router is several years old, it might not be up to the task. The router’s software might also be out of date. If possible, update the router’s firmware, or replace it with a newer model that supports a high-speed 5GHz network.
If your Roku starts buffering an hour or so after it’s turned on, it could be overheating. Clean it frequently so dust doesn’t accumulate on it, and make sure that it’s on a hard surface instead of a cloth or covering. You may also want to position it on its side, so more of its surface is exposed to air.
Most of the time, your Roku automatically and correctly chooses the suitable bitrate for video streaming based on your network speed.
However, you can improve playback by manually overriding this setting in some rare cases. Here’s how:
Using the Roku remote, press the following buttons to get to a hidden settings screen: Press Home five times, press reverse scan three times, and press forward scan twice.
You’ll now see the Bit Rate Override screen. Select “Manual selection.”
Choose a lower bitrate, and then test your Roku to see if that has solved your buffering problem.
If possible, connect your Roku device to a wired internet connection. Wired connections can be faster than wireless ones and can decrease the chances of media buffering.
On your Roku remote, press Home five times, Up once, Rewind two times, and Fast Forward two times to clear the Roku’s cache. It can take several minutes to half an hour to complete.
If none of these fixes work, you may want to contact Roku or your internet service provider to get further help with your buffering issues.