With the popularity of Roku devices growing rapidly, it’s only natural that with that comes a host of errors and issues that are surfacing due to more widespread use.
While most of these are easily fixed, and usually come down to a simple update or minor fiddling with settings, it can be overwhelming to be faced with an issue that seems to have come out of nowhere.
We’ve already covered what it means if your Roku remote is blinking, which was a major headache for a lot of users online. But now it’s time to look at what the various colors of blinking lights on the actual Roku device can indicate.
We’ll also discuss the best and easiest ways to remedy these problems. So, if your Roku is currently a useless lump of blinking lights – read on!
Table of Contents
The Different Lights on a Roku Device
As stated above, this article will only deal with the lights on your actual Roku device – not the lights on your Roku remote.
Just to save any confusion, I’ll quickly explain what they mean, as you’ll only ever see orange/yellow and green lights on your remote – not on your Roku device.
- Orange/Yellow = The remote is not paired with the device
- Green = The batteries in the remote are low on power.
Head here for more info on these lights and how to fix the problems that cause them!
The device, however, only has one light, but it can blink in several different colors, which signal different issues.
Put simply, they are:
- White = General ‘problem’ light
- Blue = A problem with connectivity, i.e. USB or HDMI cables
- Red = A problem with the power supply
Now, let’s look at these issues in more detail, and most importantly, explore some possible fixes!
So, as we already know, a white blinking light indicates that, in some way, your Roku device is not working correctly. That is quite a broad spectrum of possible causes!
It’s also worth noting at this stage that it’s near impossible to pin down a single meaning for a light color. Different models of different Roku devices seem to use different color codes to indicate different problems. Confusing!
For the purposes of this article, I’ll try and condense all the relevant information into a general consensus of the most likely possible causes. In no particular order, here is why your Roku light is blinking white:
- Lost/poor internet connection
- Unsupported resolution
- Software/Firmware update pending
The following steps should help you to solve the issues behind your blinking white light if it is pertaining specifically to one of the issues listed above.
Lost/Poor Internet Connection
To solve this issue, the first thing you’ll want to try is to test your internet connection using any other device, such as a computer or mobile phone. If it works fine on another device, the problem will lie in the connection between your Roku and your router.
You can try power cycling your router and/or your Roku to see if that helps to establish a more stable connection.
To do this, simply power off the device in question and unplug it from any power sources.
Let it sit for 1 – 5 minutes to ensure all residual power has drained. To aid in this, you can press and hold any buttons on the powered-off device (just not the power button!)
When you turn the device back on, any runtime errors or bugs that may have been causing an unstable connection should be eradicated.
If this doesn’t work, you may need to look at the proximity of the router to the Roku device. Ensure it is close enough to establish a strong connection, and that there are no objects that could potentially be obstructing the WiFi signal in between the router and the Roku.
Alternatively, you could use an ethernet cable to connect the Roku to the router, which will provide a much stronger and faster connection.
If you believe your Roku is displaying content in a resolution that your TV cannot support, you should be seeing an error message alongside the blinking white light. You may also just see a black screen, which can be even more frustrating.
Fixing this problem is a little trickier.
It most probably arises from the initial HDMI ‘handshake’ that occurs when you plug your Roku into your TV.
It’s possible that your TV is telling the Roku that it can display content in a higher resolution than it actually can – leading the Roku to display content in this higher resolution (usually 4K). Then, your TV cannot support it, so nothing will play!
The easiest way to do so involves a second TV, if you have one. If you do, simply plug your Roku device into the secondary TV and change the resolution settings on the Roku from Auto to the exact maximum resolution of your main TV.
If you don’t have a secondary TV to use, you can perform a Factory/Hard Reset on your Roku, which will revert it back to its original settings. This will erase any personal data! However, this may be the only way to fix this issue. Here’s how to carry out a hard reset:
- Press the Home button on your Roku controller
- Select Settings
- Select System
- Select Advanced System Settings
- Select Factory Reset > Factory Reset Everything
- Follow the onscreen instructions to reset your Roku
Now, when you plug the Roku back in, it will show the initial setup, allowing you to set the resolution settings to the actual maximum resolution that your TV is capable of, instead of Auto.
Software/Firmware Update Pending
Thankfully, this error is much easier to fix!
Usually, if you haven’t turned your Roku on for a while, as soon as it connects to the internet it will probably detect either software updates, firmware updates, or both.
Usually, these should download and install automatically. If they don’t, you can follow these steps to access the relevant menu and manually prompt your Roku to update.
- Press the Home button on your remote
- Navigate to Settings
- Select System > System Update
- Select Check Now to search for updates, which Roku will then download and install.
Hopefully, one of these fixes has resolved your issue! Now, let’s move on to a blinking blue light, and how to fix it.
As I mentioned earlier, the blinking blue light usually means there is a problem with your cabled connections. That could mean:
- A faulty HDMI connection
- A faulty USB connection
- A faulty Audio connection
Thankfully, all of the above are relatively easy to fix!
The first (and hopefully last!) thing you’ll need to do is visually check all of your cabled connections going to and from your Roku device. This process should be the same for all the above connections.
Faulty HDMI Connection
The first thing to check if you’ve got a blinking blue light should be the connections on both ends of the HDMI cable you’re using to connect your Roku device to your TV.
Ensure that the connectors are fully inserted into both your TV and Roku.
Make sure there’s no dust, dirt, or debris blocking the connections or causing the cable to protrude from the input.
Check the cables are functioning properly! Use them with a different device, or try a different HDMI cable to connect your Roku to your TV.
If all the cables are working and the connectors look fine, try disconnecting them all, blowing out any residual dust, and power cycling your devices. When you plug everything back in and turn it all back on, hopefully, a stronger connection will be established.
Faulty USB Connection
Most Roku devices, especially the small portable Roku Streaming Sticks, use a USB-adapted power cord to transfer electricity from the outlet supply to the device.
Some online users have reported that the USB power cable that came with their Roku device was not satisfactory, and was causing the blue light to blink on their device. This was mitigated by replacing it with a high-quality USB cable.
The better the USB cable, the stronger and more reliable the connection will be. This is also relevant for the blinking red light issue, which we will discuss later on.
Hopefully, if you had a blinking blue light issue, replacing or at least checking and cleaning your cables has solved it for you!
Finally, the red light. If you see a red blinking light on your Roku device, it normally means that there is an issue with the power supply to the Roku.
Note: if you have a SOLID red light that is not blinking, it means your device is overheating. Disconnect it from the power source and leave it alone! Follow Roku’s official guidance for what to do with an overheating device here.
Normally when you have a blinking red light on your Roku device, you will also see an accompanying error message on the screen to warn you that your device is not receiving sufficient power.
The steps you take here will depend on if you have a Roku player or a Roku Streaming Stick, and how power is supplied to the device. Most Roku devices are capable of being powered by USB alone, but some require more power than a standard USB input can provide.
First, Roku recommends that you always use the USB cable that came with your device for the best possible performance. As we saw above, if this cable is faulty, it won’t help provide a stronger power supply, so in some cases, this advice can be disregarded.
As long as you’re using a decent, undamaged USB cable, the Roku device should work fine… unless the USB port it is connected to is incapable of providing sufficient power. USB ports have different power characteristics, and some are stronger than others. Try your Roku in a different USB port and see if the blinking red light disappears.
Finally, the most obvious and best solution to this problem is to connect your Roku to a USB adapter that you can plug directly into the wall socket. This will provide your Roku with a more than adequate source of power, and it will prevent it from having to power up every time it’s switched on.
There you go – a solution to every color of blinking light! The most frustrating thing I found when it comes to what color lights mean is that not only do some lights mean different things for different Rokus, but some lights mean the same thing! For example, some sources state that a blinking white light can indicate a faulty HDMI connection… as can a blinking blue light!
So I know how infuriating it can be to be faced with a blinking light and black screen when all you want to do is sit down, relax, and watch your favorite shows.
Well, now you’ve read this article, hopefully, you can! Good luck!