Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on February 15, 2019
When I first purchased the Roku Streaming Stick+, I thought it was a nice improvement over my 1st Gen Amazon FireTV Stick with the Roku being able to search multiple apps for specific movies and television while the Firestick pushed Amazon products. Others have complained that the Roku interface looks dated but I found it to be familar and easy to navigate with a quick response time and very little lag. But that is where the positives end for the Roku.

I connected the Roku Streaming Stick+ to my Yamaha RX-679 surround sound receiver via HDMI and it played fine at first. But then I started getting frequent, sporadic audio drops where the center channel would simply fade out and the volume would drop so low that it became inaudible. It would stay low for several minutes and then return to normal before repeating the audio issue. I tried numerous app updates, system restarts, system resets, updated the firmware on the Roku and the Yamaha receiver, switched HDMI ports and HDMI cables but nothing resolved the issue.

Out of desperation, I returned the Roku Streaming Stick+ to Amazon and purchased a Roku Ultra hoping that would resolve the issue but it didn't. I contacted the Roku support team and listed all of the pertinent details in my original message before receiving a response that seemed to indicate most of my original message had went unread because I was being asked questions that I had already answered. I answered those same questions again and Roku support told me to disconnect the Roku from my AVR and connect it directly to the television, completely bypassing my surround sound system and just using the built-in television speakers.

A quick internet search shows that Roku has had audio issues with surround sound systems as far back as Roku 3 and as recently as the Roku Premiere+ so I told the Roku support team to address the issues with their audio coding instead of asking customers to find subpar workarounds. After doing so, the Roku support team claimed that my Yamaha receiver was to blame, marked the claim as being "resolved" and closed the ticket.

I had the FireTV Stick, a PS4 and an Xbox One all connected to the Yamaha receiver via HDMI and all of those devices played through my 7.1 surround sound system flawlessly. So it is obvious that Roku would rather place the fault within other components instead of taking responsibility for its own faulty software.

My advice is to stay away from Roku if you have any kind of surround sound system. A sound bar may work with the Roku but it seems that audio systems with multiple audio channels will have problems with the Roku software and the Roku support team is completely useless in resolving these issues.
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