Friday, February 22, 2013

Roku Tips, Tricks & Tweaks - #1 Adding A MicroSD Card

Hello again, everybody !!

I'd like to start by extending a warm welcome to recent visitors from both Malaysia and Austria who, according to my audience figures, have graced the pages of this blog during the past week. It's good to know that interest in the Roku streaming media player stretches far beyond the shores of this fair island and is not just limited to the USA, Canada & Ireland which, if you recall, are the main regions that the Roku player has been marketed thus far.

Anyway, one of the other bits of information you can glean from the stats on blogger are the most common search terms used by people who come to your blog and, this week, a new search appeared in my list for the first time. Now, if you read my last post...

It's Time To... Choose Your Roku !!

... and you read as far as MY TWO CENTS WORTH, towards the bottom of the post, then you will know that I championed the benefits of adding a MicroSD Card to the Roku XS player. Coincidentally the new search keywords, which I referred to above, were "How To Reformat Micro SD Card Roku" and so I decided to make that the subject for this post.

First and foremost, if you are about to add a MicroSD Card to your Roku player, I suggest you read this  very useful help article, entitled "How Do I Install A MicroSD Card For My Roku 2 Player?", taken from the support centre on the official Roku website.

If you follow those steps, as I did when installing my own MicroSD Card, then you should be able to complete the task without any problems. The one thing which I would emphasize when it comes to 'Step 3', where you insert the MicroSD Card into the slot on the back of your Roku 2, be sure to push the MicroSD Card firmly and push it all the way in (as far as you can) until it clicks into place. The first time I tried, I thought it was fully inserted but, having failed to see the dialog "MicroSD card detected" on my TV screen, I realised something was wrong. Closer examination revealed that the card was still protruding slightly too much so, after another firm push, it stayed securely in place within the card slot and the dialog then appeared on my TV screen as I had expected.

Another piece of advice which I would give to those of you who have yet to invest in a MicroSD Card for your Roku XS is to not go overboard with the size of the card (i.e. the available capacity) because it can be problematic if you opt for too big a memory. Roku, themselves, suggest a 2GB capacity and most people find that 4GB will suffice for their personal needs. I, myself, went for an 8GB MicroSD Card because I knew that, with the number of channels I'd be installing in relation to my posts on this blog, I wanted to have as much expanded memory as was reasonable yet still reliable.

I have read tales of woe from several people who have attempted to install 32GB, 64GB and higher MicroSD Cards which have then failed to format correctly, often stalling at 99% complete, simply because they were not fit for purpose. So, PLEASE HEED THIS ADVICE and choose a lower capacity MicroSD Card (e.g. 2GB, 4GB or 8GB) which have been widely proven to work.

As regards the specific 'Class' of MicroSD Card to go for, I would suggest either 'Class 4' or ''Class 6' for trouble-free operation. Roku, themselves, advocate a minimum of 'Class 2' or upwards. However, I have heard more tales of woe from users attempting to install 'Class 10' MicroSD Cards which, as with the larger capacity cards, proved to be problematic when it came to installing them into a Roku 2 streaming media player. Again, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED and would be strongly advised to stay within the realms of what is already known and proven to work well in these devices.

Now, when it comes to how you actually format the MicroSD Card, you should find that the Roku player takes care of all the necessary formatting for you as soon as the MicroSD Card has been correctly inserted into the MicroSD Card Slot, on the back of the Roku streaming media player. However, should you encounter any problems during the formatting stage, I would first double-check that you are using both a suitable 'Class' of MicroSD Card and 'Size' (i.e. capacity) of MicroSD Card - as outlined in the previous paragraphs of this post. Assuming that you are using a suitable product, then I would try repeating the procedure, as set down in the afore-mentioned Help Article on the official Roku website, entitled: "How Do I Install A MicroSD Card For My Roku 2 Player?" and see if that works. If not, then there may be a problem with the particular MicroSD Card you are using. In which case, I suggest trying another one. Failing that, I recommend checking the Roku Forums or the Roku (UK) Help & Support pages for further assistance.

Finally, I would like to draw your attention to the specific function & use of the MicroSD Card in relation to the operation of the Roku streaming media player. PLEASE REMEMBER:-

1. The MicroSD card slot IS NOT designed for the playback or recording of media (e.g. video, audio or photos) either to or from a MicroSD card that is inserted into it;

2. The expanded memory capacity afforded by the insertion of a MicroSD card into the MicroSD slot is for the storage of Channel Information and Game Data ONLY and, as such, merely serves to improve the speed and functionality of the User Interface (UI) on the Roku player, and;

3. The addition of a MicroSD card is best suited to those Roku owners who either have, or intend to have, installed a large number of channels and/or games onto their Roku player. Anyone who does not use their Roku player for gaming, or who has only a small number of channels actually installed from the large choice of channels available to watch WILL SEE LITTLE OR NO BENEFIT from having a Micro SD card installed.

So, there you have it... pretty much all the info you will need if you intend to install and format a MicroSD card using the corresponding slot on the back of your Roku XS. If anyone has any further questions, in relation to this matter, then please feel free to leave a comment and I will try my best to answer your question(s) or, failing that, to point you in the direction of a support centre or Roku forum where other users may have experienced similar situations as you.

If you happened to be one of the people who came to my blog via a search for "How To Reformat Micro SD Card Roku", then I hope that this post has answered some if not all of your questions on the subject.

Anyway, that's about all I have to say on the matter.

So, until next time...

That's all folks !!


  1. Thanks for all this information. I have one additional question. Will the sd card help with streaming video? I am using to view streaming video, after about 15 minutes it stops, showing a message "loading featured program" after about 2 minutes the program resumes. This continues throughout the program.


    1. Hi, Az !!

      Thanks for taking the time & trouble to leave a comment.

      It's much appreciated.

      To answer your question... in a word, "No", the addition of an SD card does not offer any benefits for streaming video. The intended purpose is to allow channels and/or games to load quicker (initially) by providing a sort of "cache" which does away with the need to "load" (i.e. "install") a channel from scratch every time you want to watch it. Once you're actually streaming something within a channel, other factors such as the servers of the content provider and/or your own internet (or, more likely, WiFi connection) are potentially the biggest influences on any "loading" or "buffering" issues you experience.

      My advice is always to use a "wired", or "ethernet" cable, connection where possible for streaming video. This restricts you to either a Roku 2 XS or the newer flagship model... Roku 3, as ALL other UK Roku models are "WiFi" ONLY and, that being the case, you may want to try repositioning your Roku player and/or your WiFi transmitter to achieve a better (more reliable) signal.

      I hope that helps you solve the problem. If not, feel free to leave another comment below and I'll try to help you further.

      Thanks for reading!

  2. I couldn't find info anywhere on why the newest Roku comes with a sl slot. I assumed it had something to do with accessing images (eg. from the card instead of casting from a device), but that didn't seem right to me.

    I've read dozens of articles, some that are supposed to compare the versions and this is the only one that actually gave me the info I needed.

    I was tempted to buy the newest one because of the sd slot and also because I read that it was a lot faster than the stick that I was considering buying.

    You saved me a lot of money as I am not a gamer nor do I plan on adding many channels to my feed.

    THANK YOU for sharing your knowledge for us...Sue :)))

  3. Go for a smaller GB Card first rather than a bigger one. I bought a 16GB and my Roku3 would not detect the card, I thought something was wrong with the card. after reading this post, I remember I had a 4GB card in my computer that I use as backup and I tried it, and viola it detects it. So I now use the 16 GB as my backup.

  4. roku 3 will not detect 4gb class 4 card here. tried everything.

  5. Hi, there !!

    Thanks for taking the time & trouble to leave a comment.

    It's much appreciated! :-)

    Sorry to hear about your MicroSD Card detection issue. An MicroSD Card of the size (4GB) and class (4) you tried should be ideal for use with 'Roku 3' models, so that is unlikely to be the root cause of the issue...

    Presumably, in light of this problem, you never got to see the on-screen dialog "MicroSD card detected" displayed on your TV screen at any stage? That being the case, it sounds like a problem with the initial detection of the MicroSD Card when inserted into the MicroSD slot on your 'Roku 3' device. So, I would first make sure that your 4GB Class 4 MicroSD Card is properly inserted - both in terms of which way around the card has been inserted (physically) into the MicroSD Card slot, i.e. back to front, top to bottom, etc. as well as ensuring the card has "seated" correctly in the slot - be sure to push the MicroSD Card firmly and push it all the way in (as far as you can) until it clicks into place. It is all too easy to think the card is inserted properly when, in fact, it is not - as per my own experience.

    Assuming you have inserted the MicroSD Card correctly, and are still not seeing the "MicroSD card detected" message on your TV screen, I would then try using another MicroSD Card to see if that works.

    Failing that, as per my article, I'd then try searching for a solution on the Roku Forums ( or via Roku UK Help & Support ( as another Roku user may have had a similar experience previously.

    When you really have no other avenues to explore, for a solution to this problem, your next move should be to contact Roku themselves. You will find all of the contact info for Roku UK Support at:-

    (Hint: COPY and PASTE the above URL into the address bar of your web browser)

    Without further input from you, it is difficult for me to advise in more detail than I already have on the matter. However, do feel free to leave another comment with more specific information and I will endeavour to assist further! ;-)

    Hope that helps!

  6. How many channels is a lot? When is a SD card needed? Please be quantitative if possible, as I know channels and games come in different sizes.

    1. Hi, Garret !!

      Thanks for taking the time & trouble to leave a comment.

      It's much appreciated! :-)

      Unfortunately... it's hard to be quantitative, as to "How many channels is a lot?", since it falls into the "how long is a piece of string?" category. Like pieces of string, channels and games come in different sizes, as you rightly point out.

      For general everyday use, it's better to keep your installed channels to a minimum. Doing so will mean your Roku user interface will display faster and smoother, leading to an overall experience that is far more satisfactory. Obviously, with two thousand choices in the channel store alone, there's plenty to add. That said, in terms of what you are likely to watch / play / listen to on a regular basis... if you stuck to those, and just dipped in and out of the others as needed, you could probably get away with not using an Micro SD Card at all.

      As to your second question, "When is a SD card needed?", it would be better to look at it more in terms of, "When is a SD card useful?", because Roku devices (and any channels installed on them) do not require an Micro SD Card to function. Hence, one could argue that they are never "needed" but can be "useful" in reducing loading times when you first launch an Roku channel or game that you have installed. The only difference, if you do not install an Micro SD Card, is that (once it's internal memory is full) your Roku must effectively download the game / channel data every time you wish to access it. Some may find this delayed startup to be frustrating so, to avoid any such delay, the addition of an Micro SD Card to store the game / channel data means that launching them will be quicker.

      Without further input from you, e.g. an indication as to how many channels you plan to install on your Roku device(s), it is difficult for me to advise in more detail than I already have. However, do feel free to leave another comment with more specific information and I will endeavour to assist further! ;-)

      It may also be worth your while to contact Roku themselves, as they are more likely to offer the "quantitative" answer you are seeking in terms of the number of channels that the built-in memory can support before an Micro SD Card (for additional storage) would prove "useful" to the user of any given Roku device. Should you need it, you will find all of the contact info for Roku UK Support at:-

      Hope that helps!

    2. Hey I know this is a year late,
      But i knew i needed an SD card, when i switched to a channel i rarely used, and it needed to "Re-Download" it, it also had a notice on the screen something to the effect of "if you would like to avoid re-downloading channels in the future, Insert a SD-Card ..

  7. Useful article; many thanks.

    After reading your article, i just cancelled my microSD card order, as I have only 10 channels loaded.

    For those requesting quantitative data --- If you start with a few channels (less than 15 or 20), and use the box for a week or so, you will get a sense of how long it should take to load a channel.

    THEN, when your ROKU begins to take more than a second or so after selecting a channel for it to load, it is time to try adding the appropriate microSD card.

    By appropriate, I mean 2-4 GB, and no faster than Class 4. ROKU has the correct 2GB microSD cards on their website (under accessories) for $4.99 as of 02/19/16.

    Now if ROKU would just allow excess storage to buffer the stream, it would be a real boon !!

  8. Installed a Samsung EVO 16GB Class 10 MicroSD in my Roku 3 with no issues. Not sure if your original post was for an older Roku model. The problem is that the 2GB-8GB less than Class 6 Micro SD's are really hard to find because they're so outdated and seem to cost more than the updated ones if you can find one. I purchased the card mentioned above from Fry's Electronics for $4.99 USD with promo code. All I can say is that this card is working fine in my Roku 3, and I hope this clears any confusion about card compatibility.

    1. Hi, Gerry !!

      Thanks for taking the time and trouble to leave a comment.

      It's much appreciated.

      You are correct about the original post being for an older model. In fact the 'Roku 3' wasn't even announced until the month after this article was published, never mind being available to Roku purchasers around the globe. For those interested, my reference model was the 'Roku 2 XS' device which happened to be the flagship model at that time. I'm pleased to say it's still going strong to this day! :-)

      It stands to reason that the 'Roku 3' would be capable of handling bigger / better MicroSD cards, so it's useful to have this comment from you added to the post as a more up-to-date reference for anyone who may be considering a MicroSD card for their Roku device. So, thanks for your input on this subject which could prove invaluable for some, as the older class of MicroSD cards become more scarce over time.

      It's always great to hear from readers of this blog... especially when they contribute and improve the posts as you have. Hopefully others can now make more informed buying decisions based on your experience.

      Thanks for reading the blog and for contributing to this post!

  9. Stoked that I could help all the Roku owners out there! I was getting a message on the home screen that recommend that I install a Micro SD to free up space, So I really only intended to get a 8GB card, but I couldn't pass on the 16GB card because it was cheaper. Then I crossed my fingers that it would work, and luckily it did! I currently have over 60 channels and the settings screen indicates that only 1% of the 16GB is being used.

  10. Bj's SanDisk ultra 32gb class 10. Not recognised. Came with an adapter, hopefully I can use in a camera.. Wish I saw this before purchasing.

  11. Would you please update this page/post so it covers the Roku 4 and what would be the appropriate SD card for it. I just ordered the Roku 4 and a Lexar 8GB SD card from Amazon. I went with the Lexar brand because it is the brand Roku sells on their site but could not find a 2GB, 8GB was the smallest size I could find. I hope the 8GB Lexar card is compatible with the Roku 4. Roku should have a dedicated spec page explaining this stuff.


    1. Hi, MS !!

      Thanks for taking the time & trouble to leave a comment.

      It's much appreciated.

      Unfortunately, until Roku decide to start selling their 'Roku 4' model to UK buyers, I am unable to provide any update regarding what might be an appropriate SD card to use with it.

      Whilst I absolutely agree with you that Roku should have their own dedicated webpage explaining this, I'd expect the 8GB card you purchased to be perfectly compatible / adequate for use with the 'Roku 4' or any other Roku device that supports the 'MicroSD' card feature.

      It's highly unlikely that you will even need 8GB of external storage, as there are strict limitations as to how it can be used with Roku devices (as explained in this article) but, that said, it shouldn't be an issue to have an 8GB card installed.

      My advice would be to approach Roku directly, or start a thread in the Roku Forums, so that someone (in the USA) who has experience of the 'Roku 4' and who has used that model with a 'MicroSD' card installed can advise you if need be.

      From what I have read online, I'd be more concerned about issues with fan noise and the "red push" colour phase error that has been reported by many users (when streaming 4K content) as well as recent reports of "missing" thermal pads causing the CPU to overheat in the 'Roku 4' than with an outside chance of an incompatible 'MicroSD' card.

      The good thing is that, having ordered both your 'Roku 4' and your 'MicroSD' card from Amazon, you shouldn't have any trouble getting a replacement / refund in the (unlikely) event that you do run into any problems of this sort. Sorry I cannot be of more help at this stage but (hopefully) everything will work (as it should) from the get-go.

      Thanks for reading the blog! :-)

  12. I have a 16 GB micro SD card in my Roku 3. Under settings it says that it is 100% used. Do I need a larger card?

    1. Hi, Marsha !!

      Sorry to hear of your Micro SD card issue. The fact you are using a 16GB card, which is showing as '100% used', leads me to believe that there may be a problem with that particular card (or brand of card) but you definitely will not need a larger card than that. If anything, it might be worth trying a smaller one (e.g. 8GB, 2GB, etc), or maybe another 16GB card of a different brand, or (perhaps) even no card at all.

      At varying times, I've had several hundred channels installed on my Roku devices and I don't recall ever going above 8% or so of the available memory on my 8GB cards - even with that many channels - so, like I say, try another card to begin with and see how you get on.

      Thanks for reading the blog! :-)

  13. I was so happy to find this. Your answers on this subject were more complete and informative than any others I have read. I have three additional questions I hope you can help me with:

    1. Does installing the SD card delete the channels I already have set up and require reinstalling and re-signing in to them all
    2. If not, are the channels or games already installed on the Roku automatically moved to the SD card?
    3. If only the channels installed on the Roku after the SD card is installed will load from the SD card, will I need to manually remove and reinstall the ones known to hog storage space in order to insure they are installed on the SD card?

    1. Hi, Deb !!

      First off... apologies for the delayed response to your questions. If you have not yet found the answers elsewhere, then I'll try to address them here for you now. Besides which, the information may well be to the benefit of everyone else who reads this post, so here goes:-

      1. Installing a MicroSD card will not delete any channels you had installed prior to the addition of the card, so no need to worry about the need to re-install and/or sign-in again to any pre-existing apps in your channel selection;

      2. Channels and/or games which you have already installed are not automatically moved to the SD card, once a Micro SD card is inserted. Basically, the built-in memory on your Roku device will continue to be used for any channels you might add until all of the available space has been used. At that point, any further data will be stored on the Micro SD card and, as a Roku user, you have no control over what data is stored on the card and what is not. The sole purpose of adding a MicroSD card to your Roku is to provide expanded storage space for the device to make use of, and;

      3. If there is still space available within the built-in memory, even after a MicroSD card has been installed, any channels which are added will continue to have their data stored on the Roku device itself (and not the MicroSD card) until such a time as the internal storage space has been filled and the expanded memory offered by the MicroSD card is needed. There is no need (or, indeed any option) to manually remove and/or re-install anything to the MicroSD card, as the entire process is managed by the device.

      Over and above that, once all available space has been used... you will start to see "loading" messages for pretty much every channel you launch, as the currently launched channel will overwrite portions of memory originally used by the last used channel. This will continue ad infinitum, unless you remove some of the installed channels to free-up some more space within the (combined) memory storage space.

      Hope that has cleared things up for everybody! ;-)