How to Check Your Internet Speeds for Roku
Do you think that all streaming devices are equal when it comes to streaming speed? If you do, then you’re more wrong than you know. Streaming devices don’t share the same technologies. This means that some will be faster than others, and this is true of devices from the same series and same manufacturer too.
So how do Roku devices stack up to others? Some are better and some are worse. But it’s not just the Roku device that you should be worried about, since many more factors influence the device’s internet connection speed. Here’s what you need to know about recommended speeds and how and if you can test the speed yourself.
Preparations for Using Roku Devices
If you’re entertaining the idea of using a Roku device for the first time, it’s best that you keep in mind some very simple things. First and foremost, Roku offers standard definition and HD content. The recommended speeds for those formats are 1.5Mbps and 3Mbsp respectively.
You may want to use something like speedtest.net before you order your Roku device. But keep in mind that those are the minimum recommended speeds, and that you should probably have at least twice that if you want to enjoy smooth playback and fast browsing.
You should also make sure that you’re using a quality router that’s not placed too far away from your TV, especially if you’re using a Roku streaming stick. The strength of your wireless connection will determine how enjoyable or poor your viewing experience will be.
Farewell to the Roku Built-in SpeedTest Channel
Roku used to have a built-in speed test. Up until 2018, if you’d browsed your Roku channels list, you would’ve found the SpeedTest channel.
For some reason, this feature was dropped. So what can you do? Not a lot really. In case you didn’t know by now, Roku devices don’t allow you to use internet browsers. This means that you won’t be able to use your Roku device to access online speed test services like speedtest.net.
What you could do is test the speed of your smart TV, if you don’t have a Roku smart TV. Say you have a regular Android smart TV. In that case, with your Roku device turned off, you could launch your favorite browser from your home screen, enter your favorite speed test service web address and test your connection speed.
But will this really give you an accurate representation? Not all the time. There’s another trick that you can use.
Using Built-In Streaming Platforms Speed Tests
If you’re the proud owner of a Netflix account, you can use the Netflix platform to test your speed.
- Start your TV and start your Roku device.
- Launch up your Netflix channel.
- Go to the Settings menu.
- Select the Get Help option.
- Select the Check your Network option.
This will give you a decent approximation of your speed. Furthermore, what’s also cool, is that Netflix allows you to use this with other devices too. If you have an Amazon Fire stick you can plug that in, log into your Netflix account, and use the speed test feature.
This can be very helpful in determining which streaming device has a superior wireless technology. If you do get the chance to test and compare multiple devices, you may notice that Roku devices don’t have the best wireless technology.
Hence the reason why close router proximity is almost mandatory for an enjoyable viewing experience on Roku, whether you’re watching SD YouTube videos, live TV, or HD or 4K movies on Netflix.
Will Using a Speed Test on Your Laptop Give You an Accurate Result?
It’s very important to understand that Roku devices, and all streaming devices in general, don’t have the same capabilities as laptops or computers. The signal strength of the wireless network will depend a lot more on proximity, and the transfer speeds will always be more limited.
For example, what you get on your laptop as a result of running an online speed test, will in no way reflect the speed your Roku device can reach. And, in a way, you can look at this as a marketing strategy.
By dropping the SpeedTest channel from the grille, Roku made it very hard for users to compare their services to the services and performance of competitor devices.
Tips on Improving Your Roku Experience
There are two or three ways in which you can make sure that you’re squeezing the most out of your bandwidth when using a Roku device. First of all, if you’re using a Roku TV or a smart TV with a Roku stick plugged in, try carrying a LAN cable from your router to your TV.
This will eliminate the need to gamble on the wireless network signal strength and it will give you the best viewing experience.
If using a LAN cable is out of the question, then try adding a secondary router next to your TV. It’s the next best thing really, but it will be dependent on you having enough bandwidth, a high-end router, and a reliable ISP (internet service provider).
Last but not least, if you’re about to become a Roku user, you may want to consider using the newest generation devices. Don’t settle for older devices, even though they may be considerably cheaper. Always use the best Roku device that you can afford, especially if you don’t trust your ISP to give you the best speeds.
Are Roku Devices Still Worth Your Money?
Maybe using a Roku device isn’t the ideal option for everyone. If you live in an area without decent download speed, then perhaps Roku devices shouldn’t be your priority in home entertainment solutions.
But, at the end of the day, Roku still offers a lot of content that, if you can access and let preload a bit, may just make up for the lesser wireless technology used in Roku devices. Did you experience any connection issues, unnecessary pausing, or long buffering sessions on your Roku device? Let us know in the comments section below, and let us know how you think Roku devices fare against the competition.