There seem to be quite a few topics floating on the support forum regarding problems with the audio developing an "underwater" sound or getting very distorted. I've been experiencing this on my Roku Ultra quite a bit lately. The app that I mainly use is the Xfinity Streaming App and it is defintely present there. I don't use any other apps enough to say if the problem is specific to the app or not. However, as someone who has spent 20 years in tech fields, I do have some opinions here.
First off, I have tried all the obvious stuff. Swapping HDMI cables, Trying different HDMI ports on the TV, playing with audio settings, confirming F/W is current, etc. etc. etc. The problem is CLEARLY tied to the Roku device as the TV has no audio issues what so ever when streaming directly from the TV apps, using a Blu Ray player, or using a cable set top box. Rebooting the Roku device does "solve" the problem, but the problem eventually returns so it's not really solving anything - it's just band-aiding it. Others have said they can tinker with the audio settings in the Roku menu to get the problem to go away. That hasn't been the case for me, but when audio settings are adjusted, the Audio Chip / Amp IC circuit within the Roku most likely quickly resets itself as it moves from one audio mode to another. That quick reset of the audio chip when toggling between audio modes is more or less very similar to a full blown reboot of the Roku device - at least from the standpoint of troubleshooting audio problems. None of these fixes are actual fixes. They are just workarounds and inconveniences for the customer. I think the clear problem is a subpar audio amp within the Roku device. It's a hardware problem. Roku won't admit to this as the problem, but given the nature of what happens when you toggle audio settings (quickly resetting the audio IC) or when you reboot the entire Roku device (also resetting the audio IC, a bit more thoroughly) - this is a hardware problem. Is the audio chip overheating? Is it not properly processing the audio format of streaming apps and the formatting changes between commercials and broadcast? Who knows - but none the less, it is a HARDWARE PROBLEM. Unfortunately, Roku won't admit to this as they'd potentially be on the hook for an actual fix at that point, but the conclusion to be drawn here is there isn't an actual "fix" to this. Just work-arounds. As long as this is a hardware failure, and one that Roku will not acknowledge, the back and forth on the message forums serve no purpose. We are all just sharing band-aids that we have found in resetting the audio IC on our Roku player and/or Roku soundbar. And I'd urge everyone to keep this lack of product support and lack of quality product in mind when it's time to replace your Roku devices. Does fire-stick have this same problem? If not, maybe that's the direction to go.
To provide a little more info to my specific problem, just in case there is some actual Roku tech support out there that does exist...
I'm using Roku Ultra 4670X. Firmware version 11.5.0 / build 4312-46. I'm currently connected via HDMI from the Roku device to a Yamaha stereo receiver and then from the receiver to a Samsung TV also via HDMI. I have used a completely different surround receiver in the past and even connected the Roku straight to the TV ---- the issue is present in all scenarios. Also, when the problem occurs I can change the surround receiver to a different input, such as a video game system or BD Player, as the audio is completely normal. Then I switch back to the Roku and the audio is muffled again. So this is an issue with the Roku device.
ALL firmware is current.
HDMI cables have been replaced
I'm not even posting my audio settings because the audio settings on the Roku device have been tinkered with soooooo many times in troubleshooting this issue that I can confidently say it has nothing to do with settings. Also, there are too many combinations of different settings that I've tried to even post all of them.
The only app I use enough to confidently say that there's a problem is Xfinity Stream. That is my cable provider's streaming app. The app works fine when the app is run directly from the TV though.
The audio will start out normal when I use the Xfinity Stream app. But after a period of time, anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour, the audio becomes muffled / distorted / and at a low volume. Blaming the App is wrong though because in scrolling through this forum I see DirecTV and AT&T app users with the same problem. I believe I even saw a YouTubeTV user with a problem on a different thread. So are we going to blame all of these apps, or is Roku going to take ownership of the problem? One thing I do absolutely know about TV broadcasts is audio formats will change as channels are changed or as the programs cut to commercials and then as programs return from commercial. It sure seems like the audio amp IC within the Roku is struggling in processing the format changes as numerous live TV streaming apps seem to be where the problem occurs. Is it only happening when the streaming apps are changing between very specific audio formats, or is the audio IC within the roku becoming compromised once it heats up from running for a period of time? Roku's IT team (if they exist) should be the ones investigating those things - NOT US.
This problem has been going on for years and seems to happen across multiple firmwares and multiple variations of Roku device, as is evidenced by the history of the threads on this forum, and there doesn't seem to be any support being offered outside of very remedial "level 1" type of suggestions - no offense to Danny, I know it's not his fault. Given that Firestick is readily available for under $100, I think the REAL fix for everyone is pretty clear. It's really unfortunate that Roku can't do any better than this though.
• Roku device model, serial number, device ID, and software OS/version (these can all be found in Settings > System > About)
*model 4670 RW - Roku Ultra
OS 11.5.0 build 4312-46
• does this issue occur on a specific channel? if so, what channel and what version/build is the channel (this can be found be selecting the channel on the Home screen and pressing the * button)
* has started on a variety of channels that I'm watching (Sling, hulu, Netflix, Pluto) and it does not go away when I change channels, the only way to fix is a Reboot. All channels are up to date.
• tracker ID when this issue occurs (when you see this issue occur, press the Home button 5 times, followed by the Back button 5 times and provide us with this ID)
• steps to reproduce the issue you are seeing
*just watch TV as normal & eventually the sound will stop
To give an update to everyone who has been facing this problem for a while with no real response from Roku....
I removed my Roku Ultra 4670X and replaced it with a "Firestick 4k Max", which is available on Amazon for $54.99 at the moment. The exact same app that was giving me "underwater" and distorted audio on the Roku (Xfinity Stream App) has been working flawlessly for the last few days with the new Firestick. And I can confidently say this fixed the problem, because there was no chance in heck that I could get a few days with no audio problems on the Roku. So 3-4 days of no problems with the Firestick means problem solved to me.
In addition, the Roku Ultra seemed to top out around 150 mbps download speed. The Firestick is showing a download speed of 320 mbps. The navigation, homescreen, remote control, etc. of the two devices seem to be very comparable. So given that $54.99 fixed the audio problem, improved download speeds, and got me away from what seems to be non-existent tech support...... this "fix" here is a no brainer in my opinion. Just wanted to share with everyone because I know some of you have been dealing with this issue for a while now.
This is ridiculous. You know this is happening on these and you likely know why but you can’t fix it!? I have to restart mine almost daily now no matter what app I’m using, when first turning it on and often when I’m switching apps. I think the user suggesting Apple TV 4K may have the best solution. Roku used to be the best, not it appears to be garbage.
Hi Community users,
Thanks for the posts.
In order for us to better understand the issue you are experiencing, can you please provide us with the following information:
Once we have this information, we will be able to pass it along to the appropriate Roku team to investigate further.
4800X Roku Ultra
11.5.0 build 4312-C2
For a while I've been needing to reboot the device every night to watch TV because the shows have no sound. I've owned probably 10 Rokus. This is very frustrating for Roku's top of the line product.
The sound effects on the Roku still work, like the clicks and pops when you click Home or move around the UI. This is the weird part.. Launching YouTube TV, I hear the intro sound effect that plays when the app launches, and the sound effects when clicking around the list of movies. But when playing a show, there is no sound.
Have this issue with YouTube TV, Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Max. Reboot and it works again, until the next evening when the process repeats.
This happens all the time. Its not a fix but just go back to menu and back to the channel instead of rebooting completely. Works every time for me
Have that issue in addition to loud buzzing noise when turning the set on. Really unhappy.
Hi Community users,
Thanks for your post.
We apologize for the problem you're encountering with your Roku Ultra. To ensure a seamless streaming experience without interruptions, we would like to investigate the issue further. As per the request of @RokuDanny-R, kindly provide us with the following details:
We'll keep an eye on your responses. Once we have this information, we will be able to pass it along to the appropriate Roku team to investigate further.