Why Pokémon Sword & Shield May Be Crashing Your TV

As far as tech bugs go, this is a pretty weird one. The new Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield games are causing some Roku set-top boxes and TVs to crash. Pokémon Sword and Shield play exclusively on the Nintendo Switch and shouldn’t have any reason to interface with Roku devices. (The power of Pokémon is apparently limitless.)

Editor’s note: Roku TV-branded set top boxes aren’t sold in Australia but if you are using an Australian-bought device that’s being affected, give us a heads up in the comments.

According to Roku Reddit user MazInger-Z, who did some network testing to troubleshoot the issue, the problem apparently revolves around the fact that Pokémon Sword and Shield continuously sends out a wireless signal looking to connect with other Nintendo Switches playing the games. Roku devices attempt to interpret these signals, but can’t, which causes them to crash. Responses to this thread and others confirm that the issue is happening to many people on a range of devices, including Rokus, Roku Sticks, and TCL’s Roku TVs.

Roku is currently working on a fix, according to a representative addressing users in another thread about the issue. Until that arrives, Roku recommends that the easiest way to circumvent the issue is to put your Switch in aeroplane mode while playing Pokémon Sword or Pokémon Shield, which will stop it from sending the signals.

To set your Switch to aeroplane mode, go to the “System Settings” menu—the gear in the lower row of icons on the home screen—then select the “aeroplane mode” sub-menu and toggle the setting on. Powering down the Switch when you’re done playing should also solve any Roku issues you’re having, if you want a more extreme option.


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