Roku Device Features, Settings & Updates

Help configuring Roku device settings, using Roku OS features such as screen mirroring, adjusting display type and audio settings, using Guest Mode, and assistance with software updates.
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Roku 2 aspect ratio problem

The problem is a bit difficult to describe, but I'll give it a shot. It affects all channels. Menus display totally correctly, e.g. the main Roku home menu, the menus that come up when first booting up a channel, even the HUD that comes up when pausing a Netflix video. However, any video that plays is "squashed" vertically, with black bars at the top and bottom. This is video that's supposed to be 16:9 on a 16:9 TV. To put it another way, it looks like the 16:9 video has been letterboxed for 4:3, then that 4:3 picture has been stretched horizontally to fill the 16:9 screen. And again the really weird thing is that if there's a menu also on the screen, even for example the main Netflix screen where a trailer starts playing under the menu, the menu is totally fine, it's just the video itself that's screwed up. It's like it's a bug in the Roku video playing software.

Restarting the Roku 2 fixes the problem, temporarily, but inevitably it comes back. Unfortunately I have not been able to figure out reproduction steps to get it into the broken state, but it always happens pretty soon. It never changes from correct to broken while we're actually watching.

We used to have a similar problem where the black bars would show up on the left and right, "squashing" the picture horizontally, but that would affect the whole system, even the menus. That hasn't happened in a while.

This started fairly recently... maybe with the 8.1.0 update? Maybe not.

Here's the tech info:

Roku 4210X (Roku 2)
Serial: 5F35C9015246
Software: 8.1.0 build 4145-04
The Roku is connected to an Onkyo TX-NR646 receiver (to a non-HDCP 2.2 port; when I first hooked this Roku up to this receiver it didn't seem to work at all with the 2.2 inputs), which is then connected to a Sony KDL-65W950B TV.

Thank you.

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28 Replies
Level 13

Re: Roku 2 aspect ratio problem

Does this problem only happen when hooked up through the Onkyo receiver? I'd start with bypassing that, just to see if there's a problem there. If there's no problems going direct to the TV, then we can go from there and troubleshoot a setting on either the Roku or the Onkyo..
Yeah, I got some Rokus.
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Re: Roku 2 aspect ratio problem

Thanks. I can tell you this: the Roku was in the "broken" state (exhibiting the described problem), and I reconnected it to the TV directly, bypassing the Onkyo. It was still broken.

Now, I then restarted the Roku which fixed the problem at least temporarily, as restarting always does. I'll try to keep it connected like this for a couple days to see if it breaks again like it also always has. However, my wife isn't used to having to switch inputs on the TV and now it seems all very complicated to her and she may murder me, in which case I will not be able to provide further updates.
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Level 12

Re: Roku 2 aspect ratio problem

Couple of questions:

First, go to Settings > Display Type: what is the setting? If Auto Detect, does one of the other settings resolve it?

Next, what all apps are you watching? Starting from reboot/restart (you said that fixes it), if you put it on Netflix and leave it on Netflix -- not launching any other app -- does the issue recur? Or does it only recur after going back to Netflix from some other app? What I'm trying to find out here is if one of the other apps is causing the display to get wonky. If you only use one app, say Netflix, for a couple of days, does the issue reappear?

Oh, and is this a daily thing? Or a weekly thing? Or a several times a week thing? Or what? How much time after a reboot before the issue reappears, most of the time?
Roku Ultra (4660)
Apple TV (5th gen), TiVo

Roku boxes from every generation.
Apple TV (2nd, 3rd, 4th gen)
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Re: Roku 2 aspect ratio problem

Unfortunately it's difficult to perform some of the suggestions here, because this Roku is in heavy use, especially by my wife.

Right now, I'm still waiting to see if the problem reoccurs while bypassing the Onkyo. It hasn't yet, which surprises me a bit, but I don't think it's been long enough to declare that it won't happen. Since bypassing the Onkyo I know that we've used at least Netflix and YouTube.

Generally, Netflix is our number 1 channel, with Hulu second and YouTube third. More occasionally we will use others: Amazon Prime Video, HBO GO, SYFY -- probably others but VERY occasionally.

I have messed around with switching the Display Type between Auto Detect and 1080p, with no effect. I haven't tried setting it manually to 720p (since my TV is 1080p) but that might be an interesting experiment if/when the problem reappears.

I would have thought that it usually happens after a couple of days following a reboot, but I admittedly haven't timed it or anything. Once it gets into that state it stays there, and there's no way to fix it that I know of except a restart.

Thanks all.
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Re: Roku 2 aspect ratio problem

Sorry I let this topic sit for so long with no additional input.

I was only able to stand having the Roku hooked directly to the TV, bypassing the Onkyo, for about 4-5 days, but in that time the problem did _not_ occur. In contrast, when the Roku is hooked up to the Onkyo, the problem usually only takes a day or two to show up.

So, there is some evidence that the Onkyo is part of the problem. I'm at a loss as to what setting on the Onkyo could possibly be causing this, though. If it were the entire picture being "squashed", that would be one thing, but the picture as a whole is fine. It's just the video player software that's having issues.
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Level 11

Re: Roku 2 aspect ratio problem

I assume you use hdmi. The equipment on both ends do a but of handshake when first detected. My guess is that the signal from the onkyo is misinterpreted initially, then adjusts.
If you could get your hands on another AVR to hook up in place of your onkyo it would allow continued testing without missing the audio benefits.
Also, read where many have had hdmi issues with that unit, and see that there is a firmware update from last June.
You may be able to do some research to see what problems that update resolves.
"I might be moving to Montana soon..."
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Level 7

Re: Roku 2 aspect ratio problem

Here’s what I’d try, force the roku to use 1080p resolution. I’ve also turned off the sleep feature in all of mine.

I had issues with these automatic features and found it best to just turn them off. Also for what it’s worth, I have an onkyo 636 doing hdmi switching from inputs to my tv (a single hdmi out from the avr to the tv). I had some wierd blinking loss of sync failure to wake etc until I disabled these features.

I’ll pay for the extra power usage as long it’s robust.
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Level 7

Re: Roku 2 aspect ratio problem

I'm having the same problem. Also with an Onkyo between my Roku 4 and the 1080p Sony TV. Menus are normal, but content for Netflix, Amazon, YouTube comes up squashed. A reboot of the Roku fixes it for the day. If I set the Roku to 1080p rather than autodetect, the Roku sets itself back the next time it's started -- not good behavior! Anyway, that prevents me from seeing if the autodetect problem is really autodefect. The odd thing is, this combination of Roku and Onkyo TX NR-828 worked fine until a couple of months ago. Haven't updated the Onkyo, so I suspect it's something in the current update of the Roku's firmware that's introduced the problem. I've no interest in skipping the Onkyo, as it's running a good 7.1 audio system that vastly improves the experience.
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Re: Roku 2 aspect ratio problem

Same situation for me. Roku 3, Onkyo TX-NR626, and a Samsung UNGOF6300. It worked fine for years, then this summer I started getting this issue where the content of streaming services is squeezed. The signal is coming through like it is 4:3 and then stretched out horizontally. 

Once it starts, it won't stop until I do a hard reboot on the Roku. 

Once it started, I tried bypassing the AVR by plugging the Roku directly into the TV and the problem persisted. 
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