Small 4k streaming devices over-heating?

UsandThem

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#1
Just to be clear, it's just one idea I have, and I am not claiming it is definitely the issue.

So with that out of the way, I had an older Roku unit that we used for about 4 1/2 years. It worked great up until it just started becoming obsolete hardware wise, and got slower and slower with each update. About 6 months ago, we moved to a Roku Ultra unit, which was noticeably smoother when starting it, browsing the apps, and searching through Netflix and Amazon movies. However, since we "only" had a 1080p TV, we didn't use any of its 4k capabilities. The unit was smaller than our first one, and would get decently warm when using it (hooked up to a LAN cable).

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. We bought a 4K HDR TV, and signed up for the Netflix 4K service, where some of the shows are 4K (HDR). The Roku unit began not getting a signal through the LAN cable from out of nowhere, so I switched it over to using WIFI, and sometimes it would work, others times it wouldn't (and on a few occasions it would reboot). This went on for about 10 days, where it would work fine for a bit (maybe make it through one 4K movie, or a couple 4K shows), and then kind of become worthless. The unit felt hotter to the touch when using it with 4K content.

So initially I was going to get another unit, maybe the Amazon Fire TV, but then I had a thought when looking at their newest designs. These things are getting more powerful, and 4K content is more demanding, but the units are getting smaller (and are usually sealed with no vents). Maybe that is the issue?

So instead of getting another streaming device, I bought a 4K streaming Blue-ray player, and received it today. I hooked it up, hooked up the same LAN cable, and was able to watch 4K content for much longer than I could on the Roku unit. In fact, I never had one buffer or stutter issue at all, and it worked great.

So anyone have a similar experience with their streaming devices?
 

DaveSimmons

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Aug 12, 2001
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#2
The units are getting smaller for a couple of reasons:

- die shrinks of the CPU, RAM, flash RAM mean smaller size yet with more CPU power and/or lower power draw
- more of the components migrate to smaller, more integrated designs -- the "CPU" might actually do almost everything including full hardware decoding of the video stream, the network hardware might be on the CPU or in one does-everything-else chip

The Roku might be overheating, or it might just be OS and/or application bugs that are triggered by 4K video but not 1080p.
 

UsandThem

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May 4, 2000
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#3
Dave, it could be. I still have to mess around with it some, and see if I can figure out anything. I need to figure out how to get to those "secret screens" this user posted captures of.

The one thread I came across regarding the temps was this one: https://forums.roku.com/viewtopic.php?t=113375

Granted those are the stick versions and mine is the little box version, but it made me curious if maybe after watching 4k programming for a bit, it is throttling itself because 4k uses more resources and power. I've seen a few posts about people putting their units on rubber feet to allow more air on the bottom, but just not sure at the moment if that would help very much.
 

DaveSimmons

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Aug 12, 2001
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#4
Since it doesn't vibrate, you could put anything underneath to raise it a bit, it wouldn't hurt to try.

My Roku is working better now that I upgraded my 10-year-old TV to a 4K LG OLED, it would lose the signal sometimes with the old 1080p DLP. But I'm only steaming at 1080p because of my lousy 12 mbit internet (thanks CenturyLink!)

Heat problems with the sticks sounds more plausible -- I've read about that with the stick PCs and I think the Fire TV stick.
 

UsandThem

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May 4, 2000
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#5
I came across this thread, and some users report their units hitting 90c. I wouldn't be surprised if my unit hits higher temps than the stick because of the faster CPU, more RAM, and the NIC. But that's only speculation.

https://forums.roku.com/viewtopic.php?t=108963

In that thread someone posted how to access the hidden menu, so tomorrow I'm going to hook it back up, and see what the temps are, and see if there is any correlation between certain temps and it basically refusing to stream content. I'll take a look at 1080p vs 4k temps as well.
 
Dec 12, 2001
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#6
If all else fails the apps in the TV probably work better for Netflix and Amazon streaming. I have an Nvidia Shield hooked up to my LG OLED TV and I use the Shield for some apps but Amazon, Vudu, and Netflix I use the TV's apps.
 

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