Looks like maybe the software crew figured out the problem. Amazon replaced the bricked unit and the new unit, hooked up exactly like the bricked unit, went through the update and set up process flawlessly.
same thing is happening to me...it goes to mandatory software update and then the dancing ROKU...ugh
If you are using an EXpress or Express +, save some time and return it for a ROKU Streaming Stick. That model seems to work. ROKU does not seem to have a fix for the Software Upgrade problem with the Express and Express + models.
After many hours of frustration with this problem (and TWO Express units unable to connect to my network after the November update is applied), I believe I have finally fixed this. (Since ROKU apparently hasn't even bothered to acknowledge the issue.)
It's NOT your router. It's not your network. It's the Express stick, the SE Box (which uses the Express firmware), and possibly the EXPRESS + stick as well.
Symptoms: It connects fine initially to set up. After the update installs and unit restarts, it no longer connects to your network (even though it may still SEE it.)
Resolution: (And dont ask my exactly why this works, but:
Go to HOME> Setttings> System>Advanced System Settings>Device Connect>and select DISABLE DEVICE CONNECT.
Restart the unit. It may even restart on its own after about 20 seconds. After the restart, it should automatically connect to your network.
To test this after it does, PULL THE POWER to your unit and let it sit about 5 minutes. Then power it up again, and it should still be fine.
Hope this works for you as well. If it does, you're welcome.
Shame on ROKU.
I posted this in a different thread, but wanted to share it here as well. I was on my THIRD, new, out of the box Roku express, unable to get past the initial software update.
I solved my issue as well. After researching the specs of the device, and seeing the antenna was only 802.11bgn, I decided to try something.
Both the 2.4ghz and 5ghz networks on my WiFi router shared the same SSID, which I had been connecting to with the Roku. I changed the 2.4ghz network to a different SSID, connected the Roku, and viola it connected and updated successfully.
If your router is sharing the same WiFi network name for both wireless bands, I would suggest renaming the 2.4ghz to something else, and ensure the Roku is connected to it.
I posted a solution in another thread last week. The way I got around it was to setup another WiFi router (temporarily) without a password. Connected the Roku Express to the temp router, and let it go through setup and restart. Then I got the account setup link. Then moved my Roku Express to its desired location and connected to my normal WiFi router with password and it's been running fine.
This is about three weeks after I purchased my Roku Express. So I don't know if I coincided with a firmware update.