What to do when your TV tech breaks down

Roku is the leading streaming platform in the United States, and its Roku TVs – which feature the Roku operating system – are among the most popular smart TVs. So when the Roku service goes down, preventing the device from being able to show anything, people are going to notice.

This was the case Wednesday night with Roku, which tells Digital Trends that some kind of bug somewhere informed the company “of an issue reported by users being unable to access certain Roku services.” This partly meant that (among other things) HDMI ports stop working, and a hard reset didn’t fix anything because the activation servers weren’t running. In short, a perfect storm.

So the question is what can you do as a consumer when things don’t work out, and it’s not your fault.

You won’t like any of the answers.

Phil Nickinson/Digital Trends

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When your tech breaks down, take a walk

Servers inevitably fall. Computers crash. ‘Twas always so. And when that happens, you can either sit back and stew and take your rage out on the internet at large, or you can do something else.

There’s a kind of brain reaction when something that used to work doesn’t work anymore, especially when it’s not because of something you did. When Amazon Web Services goes down and takes half the internet (or more) with it, there’s not much a single end user can do.

One thing you learn as you get older is that getting angry doesn’t help. Raising your blood pressure on something you can’t control is just a waste of time.

Go away.

Girls walking on train tracks.When the TV isn’t working, you can take your kids outside and trespass (read: play) on the train tracks. Phil Nickinson/Digital Trends

That’s it. Leave him. Unless we’re talking about live sports or news, chances are what you wanted to watch at the time will be available a bit later on demand. And even then, live event replays are a thing.

There is nothing you can do about someone else’s server problem. If you can report it to the company, whether through Twitter or Down Detector or any other means, great. But there’s also a good chance they already know. It’s not worth your sanity.

Redundancy is important is important

There is a reason live antennas still exist in 2022. (OK, there are a few reasons.) One of them is that you grab a broadcast signal from the air and pass it to your TV doesn’t require an internet connection on your end , or the server to be on someone else’s side.

And so it might well be worth spending about $50 and an hour of your time to install an OTA antenna. (Remember, kids – outdoors and higher is better than indoors and lower.) In the rare event that your streaming service of choice goes down, you’ll still have something something to watch, provided it’s available on one of your local streaming affiliates. This won’t cover everything, of course. but it’s better than nothing. And apart from the initial cost of the antenna, there are no other monthly fees.

Now, that wouldn’t really help in a worst-case scenario, like what Roku briefly experienced. Or if the problem is at the source. But that’s why the further upstream you go, the more redundancy you’ll find.

Alternatively – and it’s not something most people would really want to do – you can subscribe to a second streaming service for some overlap. It’s a bit silly, though, and probably not something most people would do.

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