Do I need a high-speed internet connection?

Background

Your Roku® streaming player or Roku TV provides you with access to stream video and music from the Internet. For this to work, your Roku streaming device must be connected to your home network in the same way that you connect your home computer or smartphone.

  • Note: You need a good network connection from your router* to the Roku streaming device, otherwise you may experience video playback issues.

Does my Roku device need to be permanently connected to the Internet?

Roku streaming players are low-power devices that are designed to remain on and connected to the Internet. A permanent internet connection is recommended.

A Roku TV can be used as a standard HDTV without needing an internet connection; however, when you want to stream movies and TV shows, an internet connection is required.

What type of Internet connection do I need?

Roku streaming devices perform well with most home broadband services (DSL or cable internet). Movies and TV shows streamed in higher picture quality formats like 4K or HDR require more bandwidth and therefore need higher internet speeds. Contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) for details about the available services in your area.

Notes:

  • For specific bandwidth requirements, check with your channel providers (e.g., Netflix).
  • We do not recommend using mobile hotspots considering they are generally not as reliable as home broadband.

Should I be concerned with bandwidth caps?

To stream movies and TV shows, your Roku device must download data from your channel providers. If you stream often, or you stream higher picture quality content, your Roku device must download larger amounts of data. Some ISPs have a limit, or a bandwidth cap, on the amount of data you can download in a given period of time before you incur additional fees. Contact your ISP to understand any applicable bandwidth caps.

What if I take my Roku player with me when I travel?

Many travel destinations provide access to the Internet, but some may limit the speed of the connection.

If the location provides access to the Internet, you can simply connect the Roku streaming player to the local network, much like you would your computer or smartphone.

However, some locations, such as hotels, dorms or businesses, may only allow access to the Internet after you first provide additional information (such as your hotel room number) via a webpage on your computer. These types of networks are known as captive portal networks.

Most Roku streaming players include a feature known as Hotel & Dorm Connect that allows you to connect your Roku streaming player to a captive portal network.

You can use the Roku device comparison chart to determine which products support Hotel & Dorm Connect.

Roku streaming players may be prohibited from use on airplanes during flight as many airlines prohibit any kind of streaming content due to limited bandwidth. Contact your airline for Internet availability and restrictions specific to your flight plans.

 

*A note on terminology: 

The wireless network in your home is created by a device that is typically called a router, but may also be referred to as a wireless access point, home gateway, or cable modem. This device is usually provided by your internet service provider or an independent company such as Linksys, Belkin, Netgear, or D-Link among others. In some cases, there is a single integrated device (router + modem), and in some cases the router and modem are separate. In this article, we will use the term ‘router’ as a generic term to refer to the network device that your Roku device is connected to via wireless. Your ISP or router vendor will provide specific information on their devices.

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