“House of the Dragon” causing some Roku models to overheat

A still frame from the HBO program "House of the Dragons."
A still frame from the HBO program “House of the Dragons.” (Handout photo by Ollie Upton for HBO/Warner Bros Discovery, Graphic by The Desk)

HBO Max’s popular “Game of Thrones” spin-off “House of the Dragon” has proved so popular that the network confirmed on Monday that it is renewing the drama for a second season.

But some fans say they’re having trouble watching the show because their streaming devices are overheating to the point where they abruptly shut down.

For about a week, The Desk has received numerous messages from customers who use certain models of Roku’s streaming hardware, with streamers complaining that the devices are prone to overheating when they attempt to watch the latest episode of “House of the Dragon.”

The issue appears to impact two specific Roku models — the Roku 3920x (also known as the Roku Premiere 4K) and Roku 3820 (Roku Streaming Stick 4K). Both are older-model Roku devices that say they are capable of displaying ultra-high definition (UHD/4K) video content in high dynamic range (HDR).

While HBO has offered some movies and a handful of shows in 4K resolution, House of the Dragon is the first HBO program to stream in 4K and with an HDR signal right from the start. Some customers say they’ve managed to stream 4K and HDR content on other services like Netflix and Amazon Prime without an issue, suggesting the problem may involve how the HBO Max app processes and transmits 4K and HDR signals for Roku devices.

It wasn’t clear if Roku was aware of the problem or if they were recommending a fix to customers. A spokesperson for the streaming platform has not yet returned a request for comment.

In the meantime, customers with affected Roku models can avoid the overheating issue by changing the resolution on their device from 4K to 1080p and by disabling HDR until a fix can be rolled out.

The issue comes at an awkward time for both companies: Earlier this month, Roku teamed up with HBO’s parent company, Warner Bros Discovery (WBD), on a home screen portal that centered on House of the Dragon. The portal promised fans of that show and its predecessor an “all-new, immersive…experience on your Roku device,” though it mostly served as a gateway for the show’s trailer and an episode guide for the series.