Roku Video and Audio Not in Sync – What to Do
It’s one thing for subtitles to go all Usain Bolt on you and spoil the story, but it’s another thing for your audio to get ahead of the video or vice versa. Subtitles can be turned off. But watching your favorite TV show on mute? That’s not really an option now, is it?
If you’re using a Roku TV or a Roku streaming stick, you’re not desync-proof. Bad stuff happens with any streaming service, receiver, and OS. Here are a couple of things that might help you fix the issue before deciding that Roku’s no good.
Change Roku Audio Settings
Roku devices have a very annoying default feature that can sometimes cause audio lag. It’s called the Auto Detect feature. This feature purportedly detects the audio decoding capabilities of the device and any sound bar or AVR setup you may have. But, most often than not, it’s not working as it should.
- Go to your Roku Home screen.
- Select Settings.
- Go to Audio.
- Select a different setting like HDMI or Stereo.
- Also check the PCM feature, if it’s available.
Common Netflix Audio Video Desync
Sometimes, you may experience audio lag only on certain streaming platforms. Netflix and Hulu tend to be the top contenders most of the time, with Netflix pretty much edging Hulu for the top spot. Here’s what you can try to fix the Netflix audio.
- Launch the Netflix channel.
- Start a video.
- Select the Audio and Subtitles menu.
- Select English 5.1 from the list.
This is also something that you can try for other platforms too. But this fix will only work if the platform you’re using can override the device’s audio settings. Netflix does. Not many others do.
Check the Connection
Are you trying to watch something in 4K but keep running into audio desync? This can often happen if you’re not using a premium quality cable. Upgrade your cable to ensure the integrity of the signal transfer.
Note that if you’re using a Roku Streaming Stick+, you won’t need a cable. Just make sure that your TV can support HDMI 2.0 or HDCP 2.2 connections.
What If You’re Using a Sound Bar or AVR?
If you’re using something other than your TV to project sound, then you’ll also have to make sure that your sound bar or sound system are also compatible with HDMI 2.0. Any inconsistencies in this configuration and you could get audio lag, no audio at all, or worse – a lower resolution than what you’re aiming for.
For Non-Roku TV Users
Audio lag is something you can experience even if you’re not using a dedicated Roku smart TV. Say you’re using a regular LG or Samsung smart TV. How can you fix audio lag? – Tinker with the settings on your device.
Changing the Roku audio settings is one thing. But, if your TV isn’t properly calibrated, any changes to the Roku audio settings may be done in vain. Check your device’s sound out or sound mode settings and see if everything there line’s up with what you’re using.
For example, if you’re listening through an optical connection sound bar then make sure the sound mode is set to an optical setting. If you’re using the TV speakers, make sure to check the TV speaker option or internal TV speaker option.
You should keep in mind that sometimes a firmware update on a smart TV can revert the device’s settings back to default. Hence, why sometimes audio lagging comes out of nowhere.
Could Your Bandwidth Be Responsible for Audio Lag?
Some bandwidth is always necessary, especially when streaming in high resolution. If you’re thinking 2k or 4K streaming, it’s best to have a bandwidth of at least 25 Mpbs.
But, even on a smaller bandwidth, you can always start a movie or episode, pause it, and let it load for a while before starting to watch it.
When you don’t have enough bandwidth, what usually happens is that your video will load very slowly. But, both audio and video load at the same time. You shouldn’t experience anything along the lines of seeing video with laggy audio or the other way around. Don’t be too quick to scream at your provider because of audio lag.
Bonus Tips and How to Narrow Down the Issue
One thing you have to keep in mind is that the problem won’t always be on the user end. Audio sync issues can be coming from the host. For example, if you can watch thirty channels in impeccable quality and only one of them is acting up, then the problem is unlikely caused by your Roku device or any settings on your end. Again, see the Netflix issue previously mentioned.
If you’re using a receiver or a sound bar and you’re experiencing audio or video lag constantly, try removing the sound bar from the equation and set your device on internal speakers. If it goes away, then your sound bar may be in fact incompatible with your Roku device.
Input lag is an issue that doesn’t only plague gamers. Try putting your TV in game mode or try watching something in a lower resolution. Game mode is designed to lower the picture quality and improve the visual response time.
If one of those two things fixed the problem then the issue isn’t with your Roku streaming stick but rather the TV’s inability to process high resolution videos and decode high quality audio signals.
Take It One Step at a Time
As you can see, there are many reasons why your audio, video, or both can be out of sync badly when you’re watching something on a Roku-enabled device. Sometimes a rewind, fast-forward, pause, and play action on the remote may be enough to fix things. But, even if that’s not enough, there’s a lot of troubleshooting you can do on your own.
However, the big question is, how often does this really happen? Have you experienced audio video sync problems on Roku smart TVs or on other TVs with a Roku stick attached? Have you noticed certain channels apart from Netflix that constantly show signs of incompatibility with Roku? Let us know in the comments section below.