Are the WR001 Advanced Wireless Receivers turning into a problem?
We’ve seen a small number of these WR001’s “die” with about 18-24 months of service, having the end user receive the “Missing Advanced Wireless Receiver" warning screen. These users' AWR's haven’t been moved since installation.
We’re finding this problem mainly on 3811X’s, being that this stick is often used in assisted living facilities due to the remote supporting earbuds and that the facilities have less-than-adequate WiFi. Other residents of the assisted living facility, aswell staff members, have seen how useful the 3811X can be, making this device the streaming player of choice. Most of these devices are being set up under one “house” account so they can be easily maintained by the facility Admin. They’re primarily running the Spectrum channel in lieu of a cable box (this app is something Roku needs to focus on, now that the channel is no longer being offered for download to new account holders).
BTW, You haven’t lived a coming-of-age hardship until you’ve experienced an elderly person's personal TV not working as expected.
Here’s the problem(s). The WR001 Advanced Wireless Receiver is a $20 part from Roku for a player that consumers bought for $50 (3810X) or $60 (3811X). Don’t get us started on the $30 RC-AL9 replacement remote. A WR001 can’t be picked up at BestBuy, we’ve been told, who sells both the 3810R & 3811R. AWR’s are not available on Amazon allowing for one-to-two day shipment. Standard Roku shipping takes a week, unless you want to pay for second day or overnight options at $15-$30 (remember, you can pick up a complete 3810R containing a WR001 the same day at BestBuy or Walmart for $50). Contacting Roku looking for a replacement AWR without purchasing one, regardless of if it’s in-or-out of warranty, is more of a hassle than most consumers are willing to deal with at this point. And from what we’ve seen, the Advanced Wireless Receivers that have failed have all been outside the one year mark.
The WR001 should be a $10 retail item, at best, and should be available from BestBuy, Amazon, and possibly Walmart for those who have had their AWR damaged, much less had one fail. This item should truly be a component that outlives the stick itself.
To make it perfectly clear, we're not the owner of these devices where an AWR has failed, just the folks asked to help out those who can’t help themselves. Today, the failed WR001 we have here is from a 3811X with the serial number 25399F817652, and no one seems to know how long it’s been in service.
From the Roku Community posts alone it looks as if this may be a growing problem. So we guess the question is “What is Roku seeing happen with the WR001 and is there a streamlined replacement policy in the works? Similar to the Free HDMI® extender? Especially for the units that are now out-of-warranty.”.
We followed the guideline for the WR001 as you suggested and Roku was nice enough to send out a free replacement. The largest part of the problem with this transaction was that from the time of the request to the time of the delivery 12 days had passed (January 20th to February 1st). Being that the owner of this 3811X had it fail on the 14th of January and had no way to diagnose the problem, they had a Roku that was down for two-and-half weeks.
The dishonest "fix" would be to pick up a 3810X at Walmart/BestBuy/Target/Home Depot/Lowes/Staples/Sam's Club/Etc. (it's $40 right now through February 6th), gently open the box, swap the WR001 Advanced Wireless Receiver from the package, then return it back to the store as defective. After speaking with CSRs at a number of BestBuy locations, it sounds like this is happening quite often. Even on physically damaged WR001s. And we heard similar stories from the Target Mobile guys. Of course the folks in the back of Walmart rarely see defective returns so they don't have a clue.
It just seems like there would be a better replacement procedure in place. This is something people would gladly pick up locally if it was available and under $10.