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Roku sticks, like any other device, can go bad over time. On average, a Roku stick lasts three to five years, depending on how often it’s used and removed from the TV. Your Roku stick can go bad if it can’t download new software, which is the case with obsolete models.

What Causes a Roku Stick To Go Bad?

The primary reason that Roku sticks go bad is extensive use. Over time, and with a lot of use, nearly any electronic device will begin to fail. In addition, because Roku sticks are USBs that plug directly into the TV, they can often get jostled when the TV is moved, which can cause damage and cause them to degrade faster.

Roku is known for being a high-quality device, but this doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with its issues. Like other streaming devices, Roku sticks require regular updates, and they can’t be used nonstop and still be expected to work for years on end.

With this in mind, let’s take an in-depth look at what causes Roku sticks to go bad:

Extended Use

All electronics have limited lifespans. Some are longer than others, but many electronics struggle to perform optimally after this period.

This happens partly because newer and better versions of the electronic are always coming out. As a result, the prior version is often incompatible with new software and updates.

Even if newer and better versions of the device aren’t coming out, the device can still wear out over time. All electronics put out and pull a lot of power and are constantly exposed to heat, causing them to wear down faster.

In the case of a Roku stick, if you use it for a few hours daily, it should come as no surprise that it will wear down after a few years. After all, it’s plugged into the TV and exposed to heat for many hours daily.

Lack of Software Updates

Another common reason Roku sticks go bad is that they aren’t updated often enough. Software updates are critical for most electronics, including Roku sticks.

Not updating your Roku stick’s software can cause it to become infected with viruses or malware, which will cause it to either stop working suddenly or stop working over time. However, this typically depends on the type of virus that has infected it.

Updates usually keep a Roku stick operating optimally and efficiently. However, even with regular software updates, they will still wear out eventually, but updating them regularly will keep them going for significantly longer.

Moving Them Around Too Much

Another reason your Roku stick may go bad is that it’s been moved around too often. This is especially common in cases where you’ve relocated to a new home or moved your TV from place to place, especially if you would rather leave as many things connected as possible when moving items.

All this jostling can result in a Roku stick getting bent inside the USB port or becoming loose in the connection points – thus resulting in a Roku stick that goes bad over time.

Even if you don’t regularly move your television, other things can damage your Roku stick. For instance, if you have children who operate the TV, the Roku stick is likely to be moved more frequently simply because children often stomp, run, and grab onto things.

Another factor is having pets. Pets, in all their excitement, can often jostle the Roku stick.

While none of these things will immediately affect the Roku stick, over time, they will.

A Roku Stick’s Small Size

Another key reason Roku sticks go bad faster than larger electronics (such as TVs) is their size. Smaller electronics tend to get damaged faster and more easily than larger ones because they are more vulnerable. This means that a Roku stick will likely wear out faster than a Roku box.

Do Roku Sticks Go Bad Because They Are Poor Quality?

With this in mind, you might wonder if Roku sticks are poor quality. This is up to individual opinion and preference, but there’s no hard evidence that Roku sticks go bad faster than other streaming devices, such as Fire Sticks.

Many times, the damage isn’t even noticeable upfront, and you may notice that Roku stops working as well over time. This is normal for all electronic devices.

AdobeStock_435268952 damaged roku remote showing components on greyish green background

4 Signs Your Roku Stick Has Gone Bad

If you’re reading this article, chances are your Roku stick isn’t working as well as it once did. Aside from the stick suddenly not working or turning off by itself (which can also happen with TVs), here are some common signs that your Roku stick has gone bad:

1. It’s Not as Responsive As It Once Was

One of the most common signs that your Roku stick is going bad is that it’s running slowly. You’ll probably notice this over a period of months rather than a few weeks.

Usually, failing electronics take time to show symptoms, but you can get a jump on a replacement if you pay attention to how quickly your Roku stick is responding.

You may notice that it takes a long time to boot up or that certain content will buffer for long periods before loading. You may also notice that it takes quite a while before an app opens when you click on it.

All of these indicate the Roku stick is beginning to fail.

2. The Roku Stick Won’t Install Software Updates

Another major sign of a failing Roku stick is that it stops installing updates. Usually, this is indicative that the Roku stick has become too old to take on the current software updates.

When this happens, you’ll typically receive a notification informing you that your update couldn’t be installed. While there are other reasons an update may not be installed, a failing stick is often the most common cause.

3. It Shows Signs of Wear and Tear or Damage

After several years of use, your Roku stick may show signs of wear and tear, such as:

  • Tears or damage in the protective casing
  • Broken or frayed cords
  • Making a sound if you move the stick (a sign that an internal component has come loose)

4. The Roku Stick Feels Loose

A final sign of a Roku stick going bad is that it will often come loose from the television. While sometimes the problem is only internal, more often than not, the Roku stick has begun to go bad from an external problem as well – such as too much jostling.

If your Roku stick doesn’t seem to be working quite right, look at the connection and see if the stick moves easily on the television. If it does, chances are the stick is going bad.

Final Thoughts

Roku sticks go bad over time, and you can expect your Roku stick to last between 3 and 5 years. This depends on how often they are used and how much they have been moved around. If your Roku stick can no longer update its software, the device is obsolete.