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Reel Rookie

next gen hardware challenge

Having had and used cable/satellite subscriptions and set-top boxes for about 40 years, I abandoned that model and jumped in as an absolute noob with a Roku Ultra 4661X hooked up to an eight year old 43" Samsung Series 6 in March 2019.

In February 2021, I got a TCL 55S535 with OS v9.4.

Both platforms ran smoothly and trouble free for the 39 months leading up to v10.0 update in May of 2021 where the viewing experience became sloppy and lag ridden only to get worse with v10.5 in November.

But with v11.0 in May of this year, the experience has become intolerable.

I don't recall I ever had to force a reset but beginning with v10, it became an occasional need.

Now with v11.0, resets are the norm for the more "premium" and "feature rich" apps; Prime, Hulu, HBO Max and Disney+ which refuse to play after the HDR or Dolby notify in the upper right.  Hulu gets me a full screen of green trash.  The others get me a black screen with or without a stalled progress bar or forever animated dots or spinning pinwheel.  

Netflix, YouTube TV, YouTube, Tubi, Crackle, Pluto navigate sluggishly and I often wait on the screen to "catch up" with my cursor hits while Netflix locks up when I rewind and FF looking for a particular scene.

I have had to restart my TV more times to date than I've ever had to do for the entire period of use with v9.  From rock solid to reset-city in about 15 months.  Apparently, I'm not alone.

I decided to do some look-around and was astonished to find the overwhelming preponderance of complaints similar to my own, particularly in this community.roku site.  Google search returns are head-spinning.

I conclude that the hardware can no longer keep up with the feature and "look and feel" BLOAT of the latest OS along with the same in the premium apps which seem to assume we need more and more useless gee-whiz-bang animations and content graphics and data to download and render in real time.  Cache corruption is the culprit as evidenced by the  "fix" via restart, every time, all the time.  Until the yet another restart is needed.

The Roku hardware?  The latest ninth and tenth gen are AT BEST 1.5 GHz 4/2 core CPU/GPUs with 2GB RAM and 4GB storage (about the same as my obsolete 2015 Motorola G3 phone) with lesser models <1 GHz CPUs with unpublished core and 512MB RAM.  I will have to educated-guess that the GPU and CPU RAM are shared.


I foresee a time when I'll have to give up on the TV set hardware and run with an external device.

SO, HERE IS MY CHALLENGE TO YOU ROKU:  the next gen Ultra gets some modern spec hardware... 2.5-3GHZ 8 core CPU with 8GB RAM; 4 core GPU with 4GB RAM; 16GB storage.  For the lesser devices, how about a minimum of 1.5GHz 4/2 core and 4GB shared RAM, 8GB at higher price points.

The gauntlet is thrown.  Thank you.

Hopefully, a reply like, "Yeah.  We're working on that."

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