Discussions

More than a smart TV—a better TV. Learn more about using your Roku TV, locate help resources, and share your experience.
cancel
Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
PGB1
Level 8

Roku Sent Update & Things Changed. Is There Any Way To Go Back To "Normal"?

Hello All!

I hope this note finds everyone well & enjoying today.

Last week, Roku sent automatic updates to our 3 TCL Roku televisions. Since then, things just aren't right.

Usually, when Roku sends an update, we don't like the changes. But, are able to get rid of most. This time they went overboard messing things up & we can't figure out how to fix this.

Here Is What Changed:

1) Favorites is gone

    On our sets, the Favorite Channels List would populate itself after a few days and the Favorites list would appear above the not-favorites list of channels. It made finding our favorite channels easy & fast.

    It's been days & still there is no favorites list on any of our televisions.

 

2) TV Channel Guide no longer goes to previous time.

     Example- If it is 9:00 am and we want to find out what time a certain show or episode was on,

          one can no longer go backwards to that time.

 

3) More Ways To Watch is gone

       We used to press * button to access a list that included More Ways To Watch.

 

4) Full Description is gone

       Used to press * button to access and often the description would have more details about a show.

 

5) A bunch of streaming channels appeared.

    Can’t get rid of select ones. It's ditch all or none

 

6) Screen Saver choice is now not working.

    Re-choosing one did not fix the problem. It goes to the boring TCL screensaver.

 

7) Background Choice is now gone (Wallpaper).

     It goes to whatever Roku wants to put there. We can choose, but our choice is over-ridden.

 

This is a list of what we have noticed changed on each of our 3 televisions since the update showed up on its own. There may be more surprise changes that we haven't discovered yet. We tried a Factory Reset on one of the TV sets with no luck. I also tried forcing an update with no luck.

When calling Tech Support, the person simply read from the USer's Guide. Of course, what she read about Favorites & More Ways To Watch is now void. Calling was pretty much a waste of time. Oh well, such is life with Tech Support.

 

Also note that we only have an antenna- no cable. So, despite what Tech Support told me, the cable company can't be at fault because there isn't one.

Have any of you experienced these changes, or is the list a "just us" thing?

Do any of you all know how to fix this & put TV life back to normal?

 

Thanks For Helping us figure out how to untangle what the latest "improvement" tangled up.

Paul

PS: I apologize for the formatting & line spacing. I can't figure out how to make this text box format for easier reading.

26 Replies
Visitor45763
Level 14

Re: Roku Sent Update & Things Changed. Is There Any Way To Go Back To "Normal"?


@PGB1 wrote:

1) Favorites is gone

The official answer is: "recently viewed" replaces "favorites." The customer perception is that rv isn't a suitable replacement. Others say it doesn't work, doesn't populate.

You access rv by left-arrow to gude, then left-arrow to highlight the column of channel numbers. Then "*" for options.

3) More Ways To Watch is gone

I've seen that option, but don't recall how I got there. I just tried, and left-arrow to guide, then "*" settings key on a selected guide item (a show) will display other ways to watch, I think.

5) A bunch of streaming channels appeared.

You can go to home>settings>tv inputs>live tv, and chose the option to hide streaming tv channels. It would be nice if we could hide individual channels. I might like to keep a couple. But, if the choice is all or nothing, and the remote having no numeric keypad to get closer to where I want to go (and favorites as a shortcut access to where I want to go is now gone; and the recent update took away continuous up/down channel changing, making it even slower to step through channels)... they're not realistically usable.

One workaround is to go into the guide, and scroll through "all channels" there. That goes pretty fast. Click on the channel you want to be on. I don't know why we can't scroll change channels as effectively at the channel we're watching. The typical gesture is to hold the button and it keeps changing as the button is held, perhaps accelerating nicely the longer you hold the button. You shouldn't have to go somewhere else to do something so commonly associated with where you are at that moment.

Do any of you all know how to fix this & put TV life back to normal?

Someone posted that you can factory reset, and tell the setup prompt that you don't have internet access. They sounded like the tv will install the version of software it came with. Never connect to the internet, and you'll never get the untested updates. But, then you can't stream.

It should be trivial to discover the address the tv goes to for updates, and block that in your router. Then you could stream without worry about the destabilizing updates. But, your streaming apps probably wouldn't get updated. That could be problematic.

There is a way to manually apply updates on your terms. For example, if you blocked updates one of the two above ways, and later learned a good update was released, you could apply it, and then continue not allowing updates.

If you only want to watch Live TV, there are some $30 USD "digital tuners with HDMI output." I'm not sure what they should be called. "Antenna tv tuner DVR box?" Either of those two terms will find them for you. Homeworx 150 or 130 (scalled down version) are typically the highest ranked on the "best of" pages. iView 3500 has a learning remote with a few buttons to control the tv. That would be nice (if it works with Roku TV).

I'm planning to get those two (and maybe one ViewTV model if I can figure out the differences in models). Antennaman has a video review of the Homeworx 130 on youtube.

They come with numeric remotes, favorites, manual tuning (which would be handy if you rotate your tv and don't want to constantly rescan).

I haven't used one yet, but I had two old DTV converter boxes (Zenith & Digital Stream). They were an absolute pleasure to use. It was like someone put some personal investment in the interface, the operation of viewing, changing channels, accessing favorites. It was nice. At least one of them (I don't recall if both had it) would accelerate channel changing if you held the button down longer. I could press "7" without pressing any other keys, and it would go to 7.1 channel even if there was no signal. I didn't have to tediously complete the sentence (pressing "." and "1" and "enter"). It timed out after 2-3 seconds and "did the right thing." That was an easy way to get closer to where I wanted to be, then use the up/down arrows to go to the exact channel.

These new boxes are the same thing, except they have an HDMI output. You'd watch it as an HDMI device (you'd remove Live TV tile from your home screen). If they function similarly to those old "voucher" subsidized DTV boxes, I would be very pleased. (Plus, they have recording capability which the old converters didn't.).

One downside is that their "guide" will be the broadcasted channel info. It may be limited or inaccurate, more than the network-sourced guides. I always use a browser on my phone or laptop to view an online guide. I almost never look at Roku's guide. Just habit from the past, using DTV boxes. So, I don't think I'll bothered with it. There could be a differnece in how the guides are implemented. I remember one of my DTV guides only showed that one channel I was on. Another let me scroll to see other channels without changing channels. (I think both had limits on how far ahead they showed. 2-3 hours. I forget).

That's an idea. I plan on doing that to get more life out of my two Roku TVs (hopefully I won't suffer one of the other many breakages other people are having with "won't turn on" or "dim screen," or "green screen."). Whenever I can't get more life out of them, I've already accepted that I will buy a new tv, but not another Roku. Maybe add a external Roku streaming box to a non-Roku tv (or, at least visit what's available if I need something more than the tv comes with). 

Hopefully things will get better, and Roku will change how they're doing all this. But, if you look back through past topics. There's really no justification to hope for that. There is a very long history of untested updates, not listening to customers.

My impression is that Roku got into tvs just as a way to spread their external-box technology further. An avenue of wider market share. I don't think they anticipated the challenge of supporting all the different hardware (brands, models). That must be very difficult to do. 

I also don't think they really wanted antenna tv. That was the proverbial red-headed stepchild that came along with the deal. It doesn't get much thought or love. It wasn't "their thing." The external boxes were their thing, and I think that's where the passion/interest lies. All the other stuff (tv issues, antenna interface) is an unwanted headache. Nothing wrong with mistakes and figuring it out as they go along. But, like I said. But, viewing the history of problems, this looks more like "doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result." So, I don't have high hopes that anything will get better (soon, nor for long). I just want to use the external tuner until the tv dies naturally or an update. Then I'll buy a new one, not a Roku TV. (Some people are broken more by the update and have to buy a new one now.). It doesn't seem like a marriage made in heaven. The Roku part (in the external boxes) is apparently very good. And, the TVs may be good to (I like my TCL a lot). But, together. Nope.

"People are often amazed at how much we’ve done with the number of engineers we’ve got." (Roku CEO Anthony Wood, Austin Statesman, Oct 4, 2019). "Amazed" is one way of putting it.
PGB1
Level 8

Re: Roku Sent Update & Things Changed. Is There Any Way To Go Back To "Normal"?

Thank You, Visitor45763, for taking the time to help out by writing such a well thought out reply. I very much appreciate your sharing of knowledge and your insights on the problem.

Truthfully, I'm an old guy- certainly not Roku's target audience- who is by no means computer stuff literate. I just want things simple and easy to use without blocking IP addresses and searching for, then selectively applying, updates. But, I do appreciate that you mentioned them. I can share this information with others who are frustrated about the new "Improvements" that the update brought.

If changes don't happen imminently, we will donate our sets to a local charity and buy from a different brand. Two of my siblings already ditched their Roku TV sets & boxes because of the update.  

You mentioned: "I've already accepted that I will buy a new tv, but not another Roku." 

Amen To That!

Our company has budgeted for 62 Smart Televisions to be purchased late in the 1st quarter of 2021, ca. 58 in quarter two and ca. 74 in quarter 3. I originally suggested Roku for its simplicity of use & customizability.  The one with final authority purchased one set to test. She liked it, Roku was "in". Then the update happened. Roku promptly got kicked off the contenders list. The way I look at it, if they fix the mess they made by late March, they may again have a chance.

We also deal with technology companies who specialize in show & event production. Televisions are purchased constantly, used, then donated. We have great input on the selection, since we're part of the operating group. These sets often must stream- Easily!. TCL Roku televisions were often the choice. Guess what's gonna happen now?

I realize that these are small purchases in the grand scheme of things, but I wonder how many other companies- and individuals- bailed on Roku.

Thanks Again Visitor45763 for your reply & the good information it brought.

Please Enjoy This Day!

Paul

Visitor45763
Level 14

Re: Roku Sent Update & Things Changed. Is There Any Way To Go Back To "Normal"?


@PGB1 wrote:

I realize that these are small purchases in the grand scheme of things, but I wonder how many other companies- and individuals- bailed on Roku.


Exactly. In another thread Roku's share price was alluded to as showing they must be doing something right. (Actually, earnings tells a more valid picture. Share price can merely be momentum traders jumping on enthusiasm/speculation.). Earnings did rise substantially the past year. But, that's as you'd expect during a pandemic (with more people staying home, consuming more entertainment.).

So, I can see how Roku's leadership might be feeling validated by the numbers. But, what if there's that many more people getting this first impression? Instead of the virus being a boon, it could be not just a missed opportunity, but showcasing stuff people don't like? Backwards feature changes, broken tvs. Untested updates.

Like you said, it's their choice how to conduct their business. I just wish I would have understood the risk before buying. I'll never buy a tv with that much embedded'ness in it. I'll buy an external stream box for a dumber tv.

This feels a lot like "cut the cord 2.0". The 1.0 version of that term comes from people cutting the cord with predatory, uncaring cable/satellite monopolies. Roku looked like the welcoming place for such newly-liberated people. Now it feels like I have to cut the cord with Roku. It's just as bad as cable/satellite, enjoying it's perceived monopoly over my experience. Now I have to add my own external tv tuner as an HDMI device so all my eggs aren't in one basket. (Others have it worse. Their tvs were broken due to not even testing updates. They have to buy a whole new tv.).

I don't think the pandemic driving customers to Roku is going to be a good thing in the long term, unless Roku figures something out pretty quickly.

"People are often amazed at how much we’ve done with the number of engineers we’ve got." (Roku CEO Anthony Wood, Austin Statesman, Oct 4, 2019). "Amazed" is one way of putting it.
FMcDR
Level 9

Re: Roku Sent Update & Things Changed. Is There Any Way To Go Back To "Normal"?

You're lucky your tvs still work. I've had mine since 2019. Worked perfect until this past Saturday. It up and decided it wouldn't be able to find ANY wireless networks let alone mine. Tried everything nothing works. Been all over the net and nothing helps. from other posts in this community it appears Roku is ignoring the problem and anyone who asks about it, and it came from a new update. I only use my tv for streaming since I don't have normal cable, sooo it's a big arsed paper weight right now.

Visitor45763
Level 14

Re: Roku Sent Update & Things Changed. Is There Any Way To Go Back To "Normal"?


@FMcDR wrote:

You're lucky your tvs still work. I've had mine since 2019. Worked perfect until this past Saturday. 


View your home>settings>system>update menu. That will tell you when your tv was last updated. It's possible you had a wifi failure without an update. (But, odds are that you're correct about it being an update.).

There are some things I'd try. In home>settings>system>power there is a setting for "fast start." I would disable that (it wastes electricity anyway, but seems to hold corrupt memory modules, causing problems to be worse. If it's disabled, I believe you get a fresh load each time you turn on the tv.).

In that same power menu, there is a restart option. I would do that. That forces a reload.

In home>settings>system>advanced there is an option to reset the network.

== Hopefully the above would fix it. If not, there is a "factory reset" in that last menu. I don't remember what the intial setup process was like. But, someone said that you can tell the resulting setup dialog that you don't have a network, and the tv will install a version of the software it came with.

If you your network worked after that, that would conclusively prove it was the update.

== There's also a "secret menu" with a couple network config options (and network stats). I've seen people say that disabling pings & BT something fixed a problem. You can google about that menu to find the remote key presses to access it. (I don't think Roku wants it discussed here too much. People might break something. But, at this point, that's like the fox guarding the hen house.).

== If the factory reset (without a network) returned your tv's wifi to operation, there is a way to install the the software manually. There should also be a way to discover the address of the server Roku goes to for updates. You could block access to that address from your router. (Router logs may show you what that device is accessing. There's also "fiddler" and "pi-hole" which will show you, but are more low level and harder to use.). That would be a lot of work. But, you could stream that way while protecting your tv from Roku's untested updates. If something gets better with the updates, you could manually install one. You might even be able to hang onto that one for later use if a future update was bad again. You could roll yourself back. I haven't done this. I'm not sure if it prevents that.

== A complaint with the FTC (and your state AG) might help future customers. Product reviews. I don't begrudge Roku running its business (treating customers) however it wants. But, as Monty Python said, "nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition." If customers are fully informed about what they're getting into, that's great if they want a lottery-style disposable tv. My problem is that nobody would dream of a company working this way (not testing updates, not rolling them back when it's obvious tvs are being broken. A mute/caption bug has existed since last summer. Instead of fixing that, more stuff's being broken.).

The really weird thing is how differently tvs are being broken. Some people don't get any "recents" data. Others get antenna but not the new "streaming" channels. Some people's picture doesn't appear for 20 seconds after changing channels. Others get audio but no picture. 

But, I could be getting ahead of things here. Unless your tv's update screen says you were updated last Saturday, it's possible you had a coincidental hardware problem.

== One other thing you could do is buy an external streaming device (connected to an HDMI port). Use your tv as a monitor, and use the external streaming device as your network connection, etc.

Whenever I have to buy a new tv (which may be now, I'm still thinking about it) I plan to do that. "Cut the cord 2.0." These "bundles" abuse their power. I might try an Android tv (TCL launched this last summer. Sony has it). But, ideally I'll have a dumb tv and external devices for antenna tuning, and streaming. Plug-n-play. Not all my eggs in one basket. Roku is showing how bad that can go.

"People are often amazed at how much we’ve done with the number of engineers we’ve got." (Roku CEO Anthony Wood, Austin Statesman, Oct 4, 2019). "Amazed" is one way of putting it.
0 Kudos
FMcDR
Level 9

Re: Roku Sent Update & Things Changed. Is There Any Way To Go Back To "Normal"?

Thanks for the suggestions. Sadly Ive tried all of them except disabling the BT. My tv is on the 9.4 which is the current build that you can dowload off their site to install. My network is fine. Everything else works. The tv just wont find any networks let alone mine. I say it was probably an update (which my tv will not tell me when last updated) because when looking in wireless threads in the forum it seems a lot of people have the same or similar issue that up and stared in the past week or two.

This just frustrates me because Ive spent hrs on it. I'm not a tech newb by far. Tvs aren't my forte but I can usually fix the electronics in my house. Specially if it's computer and internet related. :I

Visitor45763
Level 14

Re: Roku Sent Update & Things Changed. Is There Any Way To Go Back To "Normal"?


@FMcDR wrote:

(which my tv will not tell me when last updated)


That's odd. I haven't heard of anyone having that lack of info. On my home>settings>system>system update, the right side shows a down-pointing arrow with "last checked" and "last updated" beneath it.

Some people have fixed problems (which seemed to be caused by this or other updates) by replacing hardware in their TCL tv. Apparently there's just 5 boards and you can buy replacements on eBay. If you google "replace wifi board on tcl tv" you'll find some videos and things.

Since you're handy that way, you might enjoy that. Or, you could get a streaming box to connect to the HDMI port. Roku Express is inexpensive (fire stick too?).

Roku seems to have good reputation for those external streaming boxes. I think the problem is mostly their not-well-executed marriage to tv. My impression is that Roku saw it as a vehicle to spread their core (external box) business. "Bundle" it. I don't think they thought about the challenge of supporting so much variety of hardware (brands & models over time). The external streaming box hardware is entirely in their control. Should be very limited variety. I think Roku thought the marriage with tv would be like that.

It's clear they're not testing updates before relase. It may not be possible test all brands/models of tvs (all revisions of every model, etc.). That's understandable. My problem is that people don't know that getting into. They're not aware of it being a lottery of when an update no longer supports the tv (if it's 1 year or 4). You expect due diligence, best practices to be applies to updates (or an ability to back an update out so you can use your hardware with the last update that worked.).

It might be cool if it was a geeky, DIY, Linux/arduino/rasberry platform to hack your way along with Roku. I might get into that. But, it's sold as just another tv, but subject to the kind of destabilizing you expect from those kinds of hobbyist endeavors. Not being fully informed about that is the problem. It's presented as a official, respectable tv offering. Then it turns into a bunch of pirates who took over your tv, and you're looking for new parts on eBay to keep up with the changes.

It's going to be interesting to see what Roku does going forward. Thus far they seem to think what they're doing is peachy keen. Nothing's really changed over the past 2-3 years that I can see, in terms of listening to customers and realizing there is a problem. My impression is that they think it will be ok to be a lottery-style "your time's up" disposable tv product (no expectations of longevity). Roku's sales are up due to the virus (people staying home). I'm sure things look peachy from that perspective. But, tick tock. Wait till all those new customers start seeing their tvs clobbered by updates, and no concern by Roku. This is one of those things that might take awhile to fully manifest its full glory.

IMO, I don't think Roku TV is a viable endeavor. If it were just one tv brand, maybe it could be. But, the way it's spreading out to so many brands (and models/revs over time). It doesn't look realistic to me (unless consumers will be happy with the idea of renting their tv, in effect. Waiting for the fickle finger of update fate to render their tv unuseable. It's possible societal norms might be that way now. I don't know. Discardable tvs might be good news. Someone needs to get Greta involved. The carbon footprint of this way of business must be a problem to someone like that.).

"People are often amazed at how much we’ve done with the number of engineers we’ve got." (Roku CEO Anthony Wood, Austin Statesman, Oct 4, 2019). "Amazed" is one way of putting it.
PGB1
Level 8

Re: Roku Sent Update & Things Changed. Is There Any Way To Go Back To "Normal"?

@FMcDR

"Worked perfect until this past Saturday. It up and decided it wouldn't be able to find ANY wireless networks let alone mine. "

I hope this will help you get the networks connected:

All 3 of ours, after the recent update-from-hades, developed the same problem. They were connected wirelessly to the router's 5 GHz network. Nothing worked until switched them the the router's 2.4 GHz network. You might have to dig into the router's settings to find if yours can have a 2.4 GHz network.

Also, since Roku is getting kind of goof-bally, if you can do it- the Roku should be on a Guest network and isolated from all the important things so no one can hack into your other devices, like computers, by going backwards through the Roku to the router. Lots of IoT  (Internet of Things) devices, like TV, thermostats, scales & stuff, are easily hacked. Keeping them on isolated networks with no access to your other network is important. There are lots of good articles about this problem on line. Consumer Reports has an easy-to-understand article on line.

On the 2.4 GHz WiFi network our Roku TV sets do connect to the network, but are super slow. 

Example: When one turns on the television, the Channel Guide used to populate instantly. Now, the wait is up to 4 minutes (timed it). During the wait, one can not change channels. You're stuck!. Also note that the Streaming Channels are "hidden". When they are not hidden, the wait is over 10 minutes.

Oddly, I can take a computer or my phone right next to the Roku and test the internet speed on the same 2.4 GHz network. The results are between 100 and 120 Mbps. This means that the update is the problem with not only connecting to the network that FMcDR and I experienced, but also the slow speed. I have to conclude that, although hidden, the streaming channels are helping to slow the channel guide.

They really wrecked stuff with this update. We've got a Vizio at the treadmill & it has never experienced these problems. I guess it's time to ditch Roku in favor of an Amazon or Google or Apple or Other Brand streaming device. 

I hope the 2.4 GHz network idea helps you get re-connected.

Please Enjoy Today!

Paul

Visitor45763
Level 14

Re: Roku Sent Update & Things Changed. Is There Any Way To Go Back To "Normal"?


@PGB1 wrote:

Nothing worked until switched them the the router's 2.4 GHz network. 

...

Example: When one turns on the television, the Channel Guide used to populate instantly. Now, the wait is up to 4 minutes (timed it). During the wait, one can not change channels. You're stuck!. Also note that the Streaming Channels are "hidden". When they are not hidden, the wait is over 10 minutes.


The strange thing is how Roku broke so many tvs so many different ways. If everyone had green screen... ok, the update was buggy that way. Or, if everyone had network problems, then the update was buggy that way. Instead, some people have green screen. Some have network problems. Some have looping recovery or black screen. Some have the unwanted "recents" unpopulated. Some have (or had) channel skipping/redirecting (10.1 became 10.5).

I believe we're witnessing the end of Roku TV. I think all of this points to there being too much variety of hardware to support. I think one part of Roku has been giddy about getting the flagship external streaming box embedded in more tvs. Dominate the tv market. Be *the* tv. (I even read a quote last night saying that.). Apparently nobody considered the logistical challenge of testing updates on 12 different brands (each brand * 20-50 models).

IMO: Android TV will be "the" ubiquitous tv. The people behind that already have a history of how to create that kind of open bazaar-style environment. (It may suffer from the same hardware issues. But, I assume people will be allowed to remain on an older version for as long as their tv powers on.).

Roku's niche would have been the more walled-garden experience like Apple. For people who want elegance, and stability (on very controlled/limited hardware). I think they tried to be what Android certainly will be. But, it's a closed environment (you don't have that much control over your system, or which version of software you run). Roku's having all the downsides of an open/bazaar-style environment without being such. I'm sure people would spend a premium on a Apple-like stable environment, with real ingenuity/elegance (not this "recents replaces favorites" nonsense).

It's going to be interesting to see how Roku adapts. They don't have a history of listening to customers, or turning away from a bad idea. So, it's going to be interesting. Competition is good. I hope they figure it out. I'm not wishing failure on them. But, we could be witnessing the first sign of the end. The pandemic could have been a godsend to expose many more people to Roku TV. Instant marketshare. Instead, there's that many more people to experience these updates and unresponsive company. We may not see the effects of that for a year, when the next update breaks those year-old sets (which Roku is today celebrating as increased sales/revenue, perhaps not even thinking how the bad updates will alienate that many more people.).

"People are often amazed at how much we’ve done with the number of engineers we’ve got." (Roku CEO Anthony Wood, Austin Statesman, Oct 4, 2019). "Amazed" is one way of putting it.