Picture this: your wall sockets are occupied, and you’re stuck with a Roku device that will not work unless you connect it to a power source. In this scenario, what are your options?
We’ll get there. First, let’s talk about Roku devices.
Roku devices are an excellent addition to the viewing experience, giving you access to streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max. Some Roku devices also give you access to amplified and high-quality sound.
However, these devices need a steady power supply to function, and wall sockets are the best way to keep them powered. When a wall socket is out of the question, you can power a Roku device with your TV’s USB port.
Now, the TV USB port is not suitable for all devices. This article will discuss how much power your TV USB can supply and the power requirements for different Roku devices. Let’s go!
- Do Roku Devices Need to be Plugged into a Wall Socket for Power?
- What is the Power Output of a TV USB?
- Can You Power Roku TV Sticks With TV USB?
- Can You Power Roku Players With TV USB?
- Can You Power Roku Audio Devices With TV USB?
Do Roku Devices Need to be Plugged into a Wall Socket for Power?
No, not all Roku devices need a wall socket for power.
While the wall socket is an ideal power source, it is not the only option. Some Roku devices use USB charging ports and can draw power from alternative sources.
Roku devices include streaming sticks, players, TVs, and audio devices (soundbars, streambars, bass speakers, etc.). These devices have varied power requirements, so we’ll explore their need for AC wall sockets below.
1. Roku Sticks
Roku streaming sticks receive power via a USB port. They come with a USB power cable and AC adapter that allow users to plug them into wall sockets. However, they can be powered by other USB power sources.
2. Roku Players
Most Roku players also use USB ports for power. You can plug them into other USB devices to draw power. Their power requirements range from 1 – 1.5A (5V DC).
However, the Roku Ultra is one player that uses a non-USB power adapter. Its power requirement is 12V/1.5A, so it needs to be plugged into a wall socket.
3. Roku TVs
Roku TVs use a dedicated AC power cable. They require at least 1A of power and need to be plugged into 100-240V AC outlets.
4. Roku Audio Devices
Streambars are a high-performance combination of streaming and audio device. Streambars and other Roku audio devices do not use USB cables for power.
Streambars and soundbars require about 1A and need to be plugged into wall AC outlets (100 – 240V). Wireless bass speakers also need a wall AC outlet and 2A of power.
Alternative USB Power Sources
With a power adapter, all Roku devices can be powered via wall AC outlets. However, here’s why you may need alternative power sources:
- Your home theater is set up a distance away from available wall outlets
- Your USB power cable is too short to reach the wall outlets
- There are no available AC outlets
Alternative power sources for USB-powered Roku devices are TV USB ports and power banks (battery packs) with USB outlets. You can also use the USB port on PCs, projectors, and other display devices.
NOTE: Roku devices that can use USB power sources don’t always work well with TV USB. This is due to their specific power requirements.
USB ports that also function for data transfer often deliver a limited amount of power to connected devices. Below, we’ll explore the power output of TV USB ports.
What is the Power Output of a TV USB?
USB ports were designed for computers to communicate with mice, keyboards, video cameras, and other media devices. They aid data transfer and have taken over the role of supplying power to smaller devices.
While data flows in both directions (between connected devices), power only flows from the host to the sink.
There are different types of USB connectors: USB-A, USB-B, USB-C, and Micro-USB. Type A is the most common on TVs and media devices, while Type C is the smallest — designed to fit the thin builds of new devices.
The power output of a USB port depends on what version it is. Newer versions deliver more power than older versions, so let’s look into that.
The different versions of USB include:
- USB 1.0 and 2.0: These are the earliest versions of the USB connector. They deliver a maximum current of 500mA (0.5A). This power is enough to charge devices like phones, but it will take a long time to fill their battery capacity.
- USB 3.0: This version was released in 2007, extending the current limit to 900mA (0.9A).
- USB 4.0: This is the most recent version, providing between 1.5A to 3A of power.
Most TVs and computers use Type A USB 2.0 ports which are flat, rectangular, and use four pins. They also have sufficient bandwidth capacity for sharing and streaming media files.
The average TV USB port supplies a maximum current of 0.5A. It can power devices whose power requirements fall under that limit.
Power requirements vary for different Roku devices; the amount needed to power a Roku stick will differ from the amount needed for a soundbar. Power requirements also vary across different models of the same device.
In the following sections, you’ll discover what Roku devices you can power with your TV USB.
NOTE: Under USB 2.0, we have the DCP (Dedicated Charging Port) found on AC adapters. These ports are for the sole purpose of charging device batteries and do not support data transfer. Hence, they deliver up to 1.5A of current and more.
Can You Power Roku TV Sticks With TV USB?
Yes, if your TV is equipped with a USB port, you can plug the power cable into the TV instead.
The Roku stick comes with a micro USB port, a USB-A to Micro USB power cable, and an AC wall adapter. An AC adapter is a device attached to your power cables; it converts alternating Current ( AC) from your power source to the direct current needed for your device.
The power requirements for Roku Sticks range from 1A (Roku Express Stick) to 1.5A (Streaming Stick 4K). They require this much power for peak performance during high-quality streaming processes.
Ultimately, they consume less power (around 0.5A) when you’re just browsing options or displaying the home screen.
If you plug a Roku stick into a TV’s USB port it may work initially. However, once it begins to stream HD content it will develop bugs or glitches because it is not getting enough power to sustain peak performance.
You can solve the low amperage issues with high-performance USB cables like the Mission USB Power Cables. These cables store excess energy in capacitors and release it as needed, thereby sustaining 1A power delivery for peak performance.
Can You Power Roku Players With TV USB?
Roku players come in different models and specifications, but they all stream high-definition videos with quality sound. The standard power requirement for Roku players is between 1 – 1.5Amp.
If you have a USB-powered player, you can plug it into the TV’s USB port. However, depending on the exact power requirement of your player model and the TV USB’s power output, your TV may not be a suitable power source.
Most TV USB ports will be unable to supply peak power during high-load processes like HD/4K streaming. The power shortage usually presents as low performance; you’ll notice buffering and irregular errors that have nothing to do with the internet connection.
We advise that you connect the player directly to a power outlet using the AC adapter and power cable. Alternatively, you can use the high-performance USB power cables recommended above.
Some other limitations come with a TV USB power source; the player will only be turned on when the TV is also powered on. As soon as the TV goes off, your Roku player goes off with it.
The Roku streaming device automatically downloads available updates; hence, it is recommended that users connect it to a power source even when it is not in use.
If The Roku player is powered down, you might miss an update and have to wait through the update process the next time you power it up.
Can You Power Roku Audio Devices With TV USB?
No, because Roku soundbars are not designed to plug into USB ports. You’ll need to connect yours directly to an AC outlet. You can use a wall socket or a power extension box .
Roku audio devices (wireless speakers, soundbars, and streambars) do not use USB power cables. They come with their dedicated power adaptor and cable, which plugs directly into AC outlets.
Also, the power requirement for Roku audio devices ranges from 1 – 2A — depending on the model. Even if they used USB power cables, it would still be problematic to power one with a TV USB port.
NOTE: Check the body or manual of your Roku device to be sure of its power requirements and determine if your TV’s USB port can power it. You can also check Roku’s website for this information.
Can I use a charger that delivers more current than my device requires?
Yes, you can. It’s a common misconception that a USB charger with high power output can cause damage to low-powered devices like your Roku TV stick. A device will only draw the power it requires from the charger.
Since the USB port doubles as a charging connector, you can power smaller devices by connecting to the USB ports of a larger device. This only works if the host device’s power output can fulfill the connected device’s requirements.
A TV USB can power Roku TV sticks and some Roku players — only when they are not at peak performance. When used for high-load streaming processes, issues will arise.
We advise you to connect your Roku players and streaming sticks directly to a power outlet. However, if you must use a TV USB port, use a USB power cable designed to solve low amperage issues.
Gabriella ‘Diogo is a content writer with a vested interest in tech hardware and equipment. She shares her knowledge and processes in an easy-to-grasp, lighthearted style. When she’s not testing or researching device performance, you’ll find her writing short stories or rewatching episodes of her favorite sitcoms.