How to Fix It When Roku Keeps Buffering

There are several solutions to get your Roku to stop lagging

This guide will walk you through all of the best-proven solutions for when you experience buffering and slow media loading on a Roku streaming device. These Roku buffering fixes range from changes to the Roku device itself to some modem tips and even a few things to try with the Roku apps and operating system.

The tips and fixes on this page apply to all Roku models, including the Roku Streaming Stick 4K, Roku Ultra, and Roku Express product lines.

Why Does the Roku Keep Buffering?

A slow internet connection, overheating, or an out-of-date operating system can cause a Roku to buffer. Media apps that automatically switch to high-resolution videos while on a slow connection that can’t handle larger files can also cause buffering.

How Do I Get My Roku to Stop Buffering?

Here are all of the best ways to stop buffering when using a Roku to stream media.

  1. Restart your Roku. A quick restart only takes a few seconds and can fix your buffering problem and other issues.

  2. Reboot your Roku. Turning your Roku off and on again can fix most bugs and glitches.

  3. Update your Roku. Select Settings > System > System Update > Check Now to update your Roku’s operating system to the latest version.

  4. Remove a channel or app and then re-add it. Delete the app or channel that’s buffering a lot and then add it back again.

  5. Check for overheating. 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.

  6. Switch to a wired internet connection. 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.

  7. Disconnect other devices from your internet. Smartphones, tablets, computers, and video game consoles all using the internet simultaneously can cause buffering when trying to stream media. The network becomes overwhelmed and cannot process all the downloads and uploads at once. Try placing these other devices in Airplane mode or canceling any downloads or updates they may have running.

  8. Restart your modem. 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.

  9. Use your Roku at a different time. Internet services often get a lot of traffic on Friday and Saturday nights which can slow down the speeds for everyone. Experiment with streaming content on your Roku at various other times on different days to see if you can find a time that has less traffic and faster speeds.

  10. Switch to a faster internet connection. A slow internet connection is a common cause of Roku buffering problems. If possible, see if you can connect to another one with faster speeds and less traffic.

  11. Talk to your internet provider. Your service provider might analyze your internet usage to detect possible causes of slow download speeds. They may be able to suggest manual changes to your router settings or even offer you an upgrade to a faster internet service.

  12. Manually change the video quality. Many Roku apps, such as YouTube, allow you to change the resolution of videos within their media player or app settings. Try selecting 1080p instead of 4K to see if this stops the buffering. Select 720p or an even lower quality or resolution setting if buffering persists.

  13. Clear the Roku’s cache. 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.

  14. Reset your Roku. If nothing else works, you may want to try resetting your Roku to its factory settings. Doing this will remove all of your preferences and return them to how you found them when you first set the Roku up.

  15. Upgrade to a newer Roku. If none of the above fixes stopped the buffering, the problem could likely be that your Roku is too old.

  16. Use another device. If your Roku won’t stop buffering and buying a new model isn’t an option, try streaming content from apps on other devices. Smart TVs, video game consoles, and some Blu-ray players support many popular streaming apps. You may even be able to cast content to your TV from your smartphone, tablet, or computer.

How Do I Fix Frequent Buffering?

Frequent buffering is almost because of a slow internet connection or a hardware-related issue. The easiest way to prevent media buffering is to download the episode or film entirely onto your smartphone, computer, or tablet and then cast it to your Roku or another device. This way, there’s no need for the app or device to stream the content live.

There are also several other general tips for fixing buffering that you may want to check out.

  • How do I fix it when my Roku screen is black?

    If your Roku screen is black, reboot the device, ensure all the cables are connected, and the TV is on the correct input. Try a different HDMI port and reset your Roku if necessary. If you're having issues with a specific channel, delete and reinstall it.

  • Why is my Roku screen green?

    If your screen is green, blue, or purple, check all the TV and the device connections, then reset the Roku. If you're still having issues, try using a different HDMI cable.

  • Why is my Roku stuck on the loading screen?

    If your Roku is frozen on the loading screen, there's probably a problem with the system firmware. Try rebooting and then resetting your device.

  • How do I fix it when my Roku won't turn on?

    If your Roku won't turn on, try using a different power outlet and reconnect all the cables. Make sure you're using the cables that came with your Roku. Reset the device and update the system if possible.

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