How to Turn Off Your Roku

It's not quite as easy as it sounds

Roku Ultra Front and Rear View

Roku

A Roku streaming stick, box, or TV provides access to over 5,000 channels of free, subscription, and pay-per-view entertainment channels. However, except for Roku TVs, one thing they don't have is an on/off switch. Although Roku offers accessory voice remotes that do have a power button, that is only provided for turning a compatible TV on or off.

Once a Roku device is plugged in, it's on. After initial setup, press the Home or OK buttons on the remote to access the viewing features. However, after you are done watching, how do you turn off your Roku device? Here is what you need to know.

How Roku Devices Are Powered

Roku Ultra and Streaming Stick - AC and USB Power Options
Images by Robert Silva and Roku

A Roku media streamer needs to be plugged into AC power via an adapter or via a compatible DC power-enabled USB port on a TV that has one, or, in the case of Roku TVs, directly to AC power via a cord. However, if plugged into AC power your Roku device never turns off. After you are done watching, it goes into standby or sleep mode after a short period, but still draws a small amount of power.

Turning Your Roku Off

If you want to turn your Roku off, there are several possible workarounds.

  • AC Power Shutoff Options: The most direct way to turn off a Roku is to unplug its power adapter from the AC outlet you are using. If you have the Roku plugged into a Power Strip/Surge Protector you can turn off the strip/protector, instead of unplugging the cord, but that will also cut power to other devices you may have plugged into the same strip. However, if your Roku is plugged into a Smart Power Strip, power will only be cut to the specific outlet that the Roku is plugged into after it has been inactive for a period of time. If you plug a Roku into a Smartplug, you can use a Smartphone, Google Home, or Amazon Echo to turn the plug off.
  • The USB Power Shutoff Option: If you have a Roku that can be powered via USB (streaming sticks, Express, Express+) and you are using a power-capable USB port on your TV to access power, when you turn the TV off, it will cease providing power to the USB port, turning the Roku off. NOTE: Roku recommends using the AC adapter instead of USB so that the device doesn't have to reboot and/or update every time you turn the TV on.
  • The Roku 4 Exception: The only Roku device that can be fully turned off is the Roku 4 (no longer made). The Roku 4 has a fan (the only Roku device that has one) that keeps the processor cool when in use but doesn't need to run when the unit is off. However, since there isn't a power button on the unit or the remote, to turn off the Roku 4, you need to click the Home button on the remote, click on Settings, then System, then Power. In the Power Options, choose Auto Power Off. This powers down the Roku 4 after 30 minutes of inactivity. You can also turn the Roku 4 off immediately by choosing Power Off.

Why You Shouldn't Turn off Your Roku

If you turn your Roku device off or unplug your Roku TV, when you power it back on, the Roku OS (currently ver 8.1) will have to reboot each time, which prevents you from instantly accessing Roku features or content.

Also, if your Roku device is the only streaming device you use to access your services (Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, etc.) you may have to enter your login name and password for each service before you can access their content.

Leaving your Roku device or TV in sleep or standby mode preserves that information, as well as enabling it to download and install updates. Unless there is a service interruption or power loss when you log in once to a specific service, you don't have to log in again each time you want to watch it, just click on the app as shown in the Roku menu.

Why You Might Have to Turn off a Roku

If you only have one Roku device and want to use it on more than one TV, you can safely disconnect it from one TV and power and reconnect to another in same house, or in a dorm when going away to school or in a hotel when traveling, taking into consideration the reboot and logins that may be required.

Turning off the LED Status Light

In addition to the difficulty turning off a Roku, when a Roku device is on, some are distracted by the LED light that indicates that it is active.

There is no direct way to turn off the light when the unit is running. The best "low tech" solution is to cover it with a piece of electrical or non-transparent tape.

On the other hand, if you are finished using your Roku and switch to another source on your TV, after a few minutes, the LED light on the Roku device will turn off as it goes into sleep mode. When you switch back to your Roku, the LED light goes back on.

There is a reported hack that may work on some Roku devices for turning off the LED status light. This might possibly work for the Roku 3 or earlier, but you won't know for sure unless you see if it is an available option on your unit.

To find out, press the Home button on your Roku remote five times, then, in quick succession, hit FF, Play, Rewind, Play, FF. If successful, a secret menu will be displayed.

If you see an option labeled Adjust LED Brightness it should allow you to go down to 0%, turning the LED light off.