Roku is a famous HDMI media device you can use to stream Netflix and other channels to even flatscreen TVs that aren’t smart devices. With that in mind, can even the world-famous Roku Stick go bad on you? How long can they last?
Roku Sticks serve as an alternative to buying an expensive smart TV or hooking up your PC to your non-smart TV in order to watch Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Go, Disney+, and so forth. It helps turn non-smart TVs into pseudo-smart TVs—or rather, they give them the ability to stream like smart TVs.
So with such a useful device, there must be a catch, right? How long do they last? So do Roku sticks go bad and if so, how and when does it happen?
Do Roku Sticks Go Bad?
Like all electronic devices, Roku Sticks do go bad or get “bricked” like game consoles (wherein the unit stops working and is no more useful than a paperweight or a brick). This comes with the territory. These sticks have been made to be portable yet capable of delivering HD-quality streams.
Because it’s so advanced it could work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant while also practically a plug-and-play type of HDMI device, it has its limitations in terms of durability.
Something so small can end up getting all sorts of accidental drops or bumps, like in the case of game cartridges or your USB stick and flash drive. They also suffer from certain limitations regarding use, abuse, or overuse.
Just to be clear, it’s not normal for your Roku Stick to overheat and if it does start overheating, please consult Roku.com support for more details.
Symptoms of a Roku Stick Going Bad
Roku Sticks do degrade over time. On average, most users note that their sticks have slowed down within 3 to 5 years of usage. You should also watch out for older model Roku sticks because their hardware capacity might not take the current software updates, thus rendering them obsolete.
However, if you take good care of your Roku stick and don’t abuse it as well as store it in a cool and safe place, it could keep on working for 5 to 7 years or more without acting up. The main culprit to Roku failure involves “heat stress”.
Excessive heat from the outside or internally, while it’s reading and processing data, could also lead to its demise down the line.
The Danger of Heat Exposure
When your Roku Stick gets exposed to excessive heat, its lifespan will get shortened. It will degrade faster the more heat it gets exposed to, like how it’s dangerous for any electronics appliance to overheat.
However, the stick is more susceptible to heat due to its smaller size comparable to that of an extra-large flash drive, thus heat can spread faster on it. It could also heat up faster due to its portable size.
Not to mention ordinary bumps and falls can also break it. It’s just that heat per hour of use, hotness per session, the room temperature, humidity, and dust exposure are the likelier culprits of a failing stick.
Fixing a Failing Roku Stick
If your Roku Stick starts failing you don’t necessarily need to buy a new one right from the jump. You can still extend the usefulness of the stick by troubleshooting it. It might be a minor issue instead of a terminal one for all you know.
You might even be able to restore it to its former state and have it last for 7 years or more. You have a number of troubleshooting options to choose from, which include restarting, updating, and resetting the stick.
How to Restart the Roku Stick
Many of your stick isn’t working because it needs to get restarted. To do this, click the Home Button 5 times first. Afterwards, click the Up Button once then click the Rewind Button 2 times. Finally, click the Fast Forward Button 2 times.
This activates restart mode. If this doesn’t solve your issue with your Roku Stick, updating the software or firmware might do the trick instead.
How to Update the Roku Stick’s Software
Roku uses software programs or apps in order to access streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon Prime. The operating system might require regular updates to be kept up to speed on new features or get patches for bugs and vulnerabilities.
To update your Roku Stick, first, click the Home Button. Afterwards, scroll and then go to your Settings Tab. There should be a System Update option that you should click on. Also, click on “Check Now” for good measures to search for any updates.
While your device is updating, don’t click on anything else or try to use the device in the middle of its update.
How to Reset the Roku Stick
If the tips above have not fixed your Roku Stick perhaps it’s time to reset it to factory settings. This tip takes a lot longer to do compared to the other tips. Restarting your Roku Stick involves the following steps.
Again, click the Home Button then go to Settings. There should be a System option you should select. Afterwards, select the Advanced System Setting. Now you have access to the Factory Reset option. Select that and it should reset everything.
Fair warning: All customizations and saved options you have will be lost. Take note that if your Roku Stick has stopped responding then you won’t be able to restart, update, or reset the stick. It might be time to buy a new stick since your current stick has been effectively bricked.
Troubleshooting Roku Stick Remote Issues
Let’s finish up by discussing remote control issues. You might think your Roku isn’t working because the remote isn’t working. In such cases, double-check to ensure the signal from the device isn’t blocked by physical objects.
It uses infrared instead of Bluetooth tech, so naturally thin or thick barriers such as a closed cabinet, chair, or person could keep Roku from responding to the commands inputted by your remote. It also has a range of effectiveness, so don’t use your remote from too far away or too remotely (ironic).
This isn’t a comprehensive troubleshooting guide to a Roku Stick that’s failing or going bad. However, it should give you a good idea on what to do and where to go in case you wish to have a more detailed insight on fixing your stick before just giving up and buying a new one.
These sticks should have warranties attached to them in case they fail before their intended time. Read the terms and conditions for usage for more details.
- Steven Carrin, “Do Roku Sticks Go Bad?“, DecorTweaks.com, Retrieved January 9, 2022
- “What to do if your Roku® streaming player will not power on“, Roku.com Support, , Retrieved January 9, 2022