Network - Wireless & Wired Connections

Help & troubleshooting for network issues, including connecting your device to your home Wi-Fi network, connecting to public networks, troubleshooting wireless issues & ethernet connections, and optimizing streaming performance.
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MD500_Pilot
Level 7

Two Roku Ultras, one buffers one does not....

We have purchased two new Roku4 units. These are connected to the TVs via HDMI and our network (Cisco 3560G) via gigabit ethernet (hardwired). Both are registered under our Roku account and setup identically. We have a Cox connection with about 400mbps consistently on speedtest. 

Last night my daughter and I were watching a show and it kept on buffering over and over again for (what seems like) no apparent reason. After about an hour of frustrating buffering, I unplugged my daughters Roku and plugged it into our TV. No more buffering. Not once the rest of the night. 

This morning, I tried the same thing. Put the "buffereing" roku back online, started to watch a movie and it started buffering right away. Switched Rokus and the problem went away., Same movie, same channel, same ethernet connection.

I have tried doing a factory reset, no luck. I verified that the Roku is using the wired connection as opposed to the wireless, check. I switched from the wireless connection to the wireless connection to verify that it was not a problem with the ethernet port on the Roku, check. Nothing has helped.

Is it possible that I missed something or that I have a bad unit?

Looking for any more ideas. We purchased these three months ago and kept them until we got out new TVs so I can not take them back to Frys.

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12 Replies
atc98092
Level 13

Re: Two Roku 4s, one buffers one does not....

Don't think you've missed anything. But I want to point out that the Roku 4 is a fourth generation player (3 years old), and the latest versions are the seventh generation. If those were "new", they are still extremely old.
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That said, I never encountered any buffering issues with my 4 when I had it, and my granddaughter is still using it via wireless without issue. It does sound like it's defective, as I could stream very high bitrate videos to mine without buffering. 
Dan
Nvidia Shield, Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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MD500_Pilot
Level 7

Re: Two Roku 4s, one buffers one does not....

I guess it's not a 4 but an Ultra. I thought the Ultra was the 4.

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Basil
Level 10

Re: Two Roku 4s, one buffers one does not....

"MD500_Pilot" wrote:
We have purchased two new Roku4 units. These are connected to the TVs via HDMI and our network (Cisco 3560G) via gigabit ethernet (hardwired). Both are registered under our Roku account and setup identically. We have a Cox connection with about 400mbps consistently on speedtest. 
...
Looking for any more ideas. We purchased these three months ago and kept them until we got out new TVs so I can not take them back to Frys.

First, that's odd. You see, the Roku 4 was discontinued in October 2016, two years ago. So, it appears they sold you old discontinued stock. If they represented this as a current item, rather that one discontinued 21 months prior, that doesn't speak well of them. If they didn't, and offered you a good price, then that's another story. EDIT: Previously addressed by others.

Regardless, you should get good service from them. So, let's look further at what you're experiencing.
"MD500_Pilot" wrote:
Last night my daughter and I were watching a show and it kept on buffering over and over again for (what seems like) no apparent reason. After about an hour of frustrating buffering, I unplugged my daughters Roku and plugged it into our TV. No more buffering. Not once the rest of the night. 

That sounds as if you moved the Roku, and the problem with that Roku went away. Which points to something at that location in your house.
"MD500_Pilot" wrote:
This morning, I tried the same thing. Put the "buffereing" roku back online, started to watch a movie and it started buffering right away. Switched Rokus and the problem went away., Same movie, same channel, same ethernet connection.

This, however, sounds like you didn't follow the Roku, but stayed with the TV, and the problem went away at that location. So, we need to ask this: When you move the Roku to other sets, does the problem follow the Roku?
"MD500_Pilot" wrote:
I have tried doing a factory reset, no luck. I verified that the Roku is using the wired connection as opposed to the wireless, check. I switched from the wireless connection to the wireless connection to verify that it was not a problem with the ethernet port on the Roku, check. Nothing has helped.

Is it possible that I missed something or that I have a bad unit?

That's possible. However, it may be worth determining if it's only happening on certain apps, or on all apps.

Clarify the conflicting description of your troubleshooting methods. Let's call them Roku A and B, with Roku A as the "problem" Roku. Let's call them TV 1 and 2, with 1 being your daughter's. With Roku A on TV 1, you have an issue, right?

With Roku A on TV 2, do you have an issue?

With Roku 2 on TV 2, you have no issue, right?

With Roku 2 on TV 1, you have no issue, right?

Just to clarify, let us know those answers, as well as listing specifically which apps are experiencing the issue. Don't say "all." If there are several, list 3-5 apps with the problem. That may play into the solution.
Basil
https://www.basilsblog.com/
Roku Ultra (4660)
Apple TV (5th gen), TiVo

Previous:
Roku boxes from every generation.
Apple TV (2nd, 3rd, 4th gen)
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MD500_Pilot
Level 7

Re: Two Roku 4s, one buffers one does not....

Basil - 

Thank you for the great reply. The Rokus are actually the "Ultra" versions. The "only" app we use on any of our Roku's is Plex. We have tested no other apps as we do not use them. Both of the Rokus in question are hardwired, not on wireless, so I am not sure the location in the house (one bedroom to another) would matter at all. 

While the Roku in the master bedroom buffers, the Roku in my daughters does not. I moved HER ROKU to the master bedroom and connected it to the TV and ethernet using the same power supply, ethernet cable and HDMI cable from the ROKU that was buffering and the problem goes away. No more buffering. I did not move the buffering Roku, I moved the Roku that was not buffering. Since we are not on wireless, I would expect no difference based on the location of the Roku in the house.

I had not tried the buffering Roku on my daughter's TV so I went ahead and did that, still buffering.

Not sure if any of this will help but I tried a couple of other things that might be of interest. We have a Plex server housed on a Cox gig fibre connection. We have Cox at home on a 350mbps connection although speedtest.net shows over 400mbps almost all of the time. Running a locally hosted version of speedtest.net on my server reports over 300mbps to my server farm.

I have a "test" 4K video on my Plex server. Running that at 20mbps on my daughters Roku Plex app allows full 4k with no buffering. The video is about 20 minutes long and we can watch the whole thing without a single buffering. Doing the same on our's I have to go to 1.5mbps before I stop buffering. Our "test" files is MK4, 3840x2160, H.265 @ 30fps. 
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Basil
Level 10

Re: Two Roku 4s, one buffers one does not....

Thanks for clarifying. I don't use Plex, so I'll be no help with that at all. Others here are wizards with that app, and can provide good assistance, and may need to ask some questions, although you seem to have provided a lot of details. The Plex experts (Plexperts?) will need to weigh in.

Hope it gets resolved quickly.
Basil
https://www.basilsblog.com/
Roku Ultra (4660)
Apple TV (5th gen), TiVo

Previous:
Roku boxes from every generation.
Apple TV (2nd, 3rd, 4th gen)
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MD500_Pilot
Level 7

Re: Two Roku 4s, one buffers one does not....

Thanks Basil - I appreciate the help!
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atc98092
Level 13

Re: Two Roku 4s, one buffers one does not....

I don't use Plex very often myself, but I do have it. Since the same Roku player only experiences the issue in one of two locations, then it would seem something is fishy in that location. Is it possible to use a different Ethernet cable in the bad location, to isolate a possible cable issue? I recognize you used that cable with the daughter's unit without issue, but I'm unsure what else to try. I have some UHD Blu Ray rips that can easily exceed 100 Mbps peak rates, and my Ultra will play them via Roku Media Player using Serviio as my DLNA source. But even some downloaded UHD clips with bitrates under 50 Mbps have not been an issue either. 
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Is there any chance you had a setting different in your Plex player between locations, specifically captions? I was watching a HD movie at my daughter's home last night with their LG TV and the Plex app, and when we enabled captions it was constantly buffering. With captions off, it was no issue. But the media server I built them isn't very powerful, so the transcoding required for captions was taxing the server too much. My home server has more power, but I can max it out with captions sometimes myself. 
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Oh, if you open your original post for editing, I think you can fix the title to say Ultra instead of 4.  Smiley Very Happy
Dan
Nvidia Shield, Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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MD500_Pilot
Level 7

Re: Two Roku Ultras, one buffers one does not....

Thanks, Dan, I updated the title to Ultra from 4. 

I appreciate all of the extra ideas....

We are running on the same server but I have tested against all three of my Plex servers with the exact same results. We use Family on plex so the account, and hence the settings, are the same across units as I log in using my account, not my daughters. 

I have changed cables (one of the first things I tried), tried wireless in the event it was a problem with the Roku eth port, swapped ports on the cisco switch and finally moved it entirely to my daughter's room for testing and did a factory reset. I am just at wits end on this issue...
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atc98092
Level 13

Re: Two Roku Ultras, one buffers one does not....

Did you ever try the buffering Roku in a different location? If you did, I missed that. Going back, it looks like you did, and it still buffers. 
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If it buffers in a different location, then it sounds like the Ultra has issues. I would attempt to reach Roku customer service and request a warranty replacement. Don't do an Internet search for Roku support, because you'll get a bunch of sham sites. If it's a toll free number, it's not Roku. And they don't charge for support or ask to connect to your computer. Use the Roku home web site and answer their self-help questions. You'll reach a place that offers a phone number or a chat with support. 
Dan
Nvidia Shield, Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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