Your Roku TV and streaming stick will stop working unless you agree to controversial new terms

Roku Pro series TV mounted to wall in living room
(Image credit: Future)

Roku has reportedly been rolling out a new update to its terms and conditions this week but not everyone's onboard with the controversial changes. The update concerns its dispute resolution terms, which became effective on February 20. 

It requires that not only must all legal complaints you may have about your Roku products be handled through arbitration with the company rather than using the courts (which was already part of Roku's terms), but now your complaints must first be handled in person or over a call with a Roku lawyer before you can even get arbitration.

According to comments posted on the Roku Community support page, owners of Roku devices – whether it be a Roku TV such as the Roku Plus Series or a Roku streaming box such as the Roku Streaming Stick 4K – started receiving a notifications (pictured below) about the updated legal clause as early as last Friday (March 1). 

That means that the first reported incident of someone being notified about the updated terms was 10 days after the change became effective. Unsurprisingly, many are annoyed about the delayed notification but to make matters even more frustrating, Roku has disabled the use of its devices until the new terms are accepted.

A TV with a notification informing users of an update to terms and conditions

Here's the notification that Roku device owners received, informing them of the changes to its Dispute Resolution Terms.  (Image credit: Roku Community; User AJCxZ0)

Is it time to ditch Roku? 

I'm probably not alone in haphazardly accepting lengthy terms and conditions from various softwares, devices and websites, but that isn't to say that it's not important to pay attention to them. The extreme end result of agreeing to a clause that could be harmful to you later on is best warned in the first episode from season six of Black Mirror, where a fictional streaming service takes the identity of a user that unassumingly agreed to it in the company's terms and conditions.   

While this may sound outlandish, it still serves as a good reminder to be cautious of what you agree to before joining a new service. There are, for example, useful tools now freely available online that can summarize texts like terms and conditions for you but it's still important to give them a once over yourself, too. If, on the other hand, you'd rather not agree to Roku's new conditions, you can contest them to a… Roku legal representative.

What especially wrankles here is that the deal has changed in the middle of your use of the product, and if you don't accept these terms that are just dropped on you, your product is no good. 

And from the looks of online forums, there are some considering ditching their Roku devices off the back of the changes. Several Roku owners have responded with resounding frustration online to the new enforced clause, posting comments that threaten to stop using their devices altogether. The backlash comes at a time when Roku is adding even more ads so it appears this may be the final straw. If you're considering switching to one of the other best streaming devices then check out our top picks. 

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Amelia Schwanke
Senior Editor UK, Home Entertainment

Amelia became the Senior Editor for Home Entertainment at TechRadar in the UK in April 2023. With a background of more than eight years in tech and finance publishing, she's now leading our coverage to bring you a fresh perspective on everything to do with TV and audio. When she's not tinkering with the latest gadgets and gizmos in the ever-evolving world of home entertainment, you’ll find her watching movies, taking pictures and travelling.