I’ve been that person, too: hysterically pressing the buttons on both the television and the remote, wondering what on earth could have happened.
Was it a malfunction? Did the TV just … die?
Luckily, that experience led me here to give you the answers to an unresponsive television.
I’ve rounded up the top ten possible causes and solutions to your TV not responding to either the remote or its buttons below.
- 1. Check The Remote Batteries
- 2. Soft Reset the TV
- 3. Clean the TV Remote Sensor
- 4. Update TV Software
- 5. Turn Off Fluorescent Lights and Nearby Electrical Devices
- 6. Verify the Functionality of the TV buttons
- 7. See if the Remote Batteries are Jammed
- 8. Wait — It Might Just Be Slow
- 9. Check If You Have the Right Type of Batteries
- 10. Check for the Compatibility of the Remote and TV
1. Check The Remote Batteries
The first thing to do when your TV isn’t responding is to check your remote.
Your remote batteries may be dead. It may seem like an obvious cause, but it’s one of the things I’ve overlooked as well.
Batteries don’t last forever. If you’ve been using your remote for a while, it may be time to look for a replacement and change the batteries out.
Typically, remote control batteries can last for around three to six months. When you’re changing your batteries, make sure you’ve been using the remote, and it hasn’t just been lying around for several months! Otherwise, you might see battery leakage.
However, if you haven’t been using your remote and find the batteries are corroded, wear protective gloves before changing them out. Then, clean the remote up with diluted vinegar or lemon juice.
You can also check if the remote batteries are dirty and not transmitting power properly. In this case, clean them with cloth and Q-tips before putting them back into the remote.
2. Soft Reset the TV
If changing the remote batteries didn’t work, something may have malfunctioned in the television’s software, or an external device may be affecting its performance. Try a soft reset to regain some functionality!
What exactly do I mean by performing a soft reset? Unplug everything the TV is connected to, like HDMI cables and other accessories. As soon as you’ve completed that last part, go ahead and unplug the power cable from the socket.
Wait a couple of minutes, or check the user manual to see how long the device has to be unplugged. Then, power the TV back up.
Check if the remote is now functional.
If it is working, congrats! Go ahead and plug the external devices in one by one. Check if the remote loses its functionality each time you plug in another device. If it does, then the problem may lie in that specific external device.
If nothing changes and the remote still hasn’t regained functionality, keep reading! You might find the answer below.
3. Clean the TV Remote Sensor
Your TV relies on the remote sensor to function. In this case, your television may be unresponsive because of dust or debris covering the sensor itself.
Make sure to clean it with a dry cloth or Q-tips, then try the remote again.
4. Update TV Software
Check for software updates. If there are any that you may have neglected, perform the update immediately.
The old software may be causing your TV to malfunction. Remember to check for and install updates every now and then.
You can also program your TV to install updates automatically when in standby mode.
If your TV doesn’t update, try tip #2. After the TV has started back up, check your Network Settings to ensure you have a Wi-Fi connection in order to perform the update.
5. Turn Off Fluorescent Lights and Nearby Electrical Devices
Turn off any overhead lights you may have in the room where your television is. At the same time, it’s also best to turn off external electric components in the area. Interference may be causing your TV to be unresponsive!
Some electrical components and LED bulbs interfere with the remote’s signal. To rule out which external part is affecting your remote and TV, turn everything off one by one.
As you turn each component off, check to see if the remote starts to respond again. At the very end, turn off the fluorescent lights.
You can put the electrical components somewhere else, but if overhead lights are the problem, you’ll have to improvise.
For example, you can put your television in a different room. You can also keep the overhead lights turned off as you’re using the television and keep another light source close.
In this case, the remote may be fully functioning, but you’ve noticed that one or more of the TV buttons aren’t. Press each one to see if the TV responds or if any of them are stuck.
You can try to repair the buttons yourself if they’re stuck or simply won’t work, but I recommend contacting a professional!
7. See if the Remote Batteries are Jammed
Are the batteries somehow stuck or not placed properly? Check and verify if they are.
Make sure to place them properly into the battery slots this time around and see if the functionality of the remote returns.
8. Wait — It Might Just Be Slow
Slow televisions are a thing.
If your television has a delayed response to your remote’s commands, then there may be another issue going on. The remote may not be the problem, but something with the television itself.
We recommend going to a professional to have your appliance checked out and see if you need an update or a replacement.
9. Check If You Have the Right Type of Batteries
Yes, it happens — I’ve gotten the wrong batteries for my remote before. They may fit – or maybe you’ve forced them to fit – but that doesn’t mean that they’re compatible!
Check the manual for the right type of batteries to buy and make a run for the store.
If the remote functionality returns when you’ve replaced it with the right type, then you’ve got your culprit. Recycle the incompatible batteries and start watching!
Speaking of compatibility…
10. Check for the Compatibility of the Remote and TV
Have you recently made any upgrades to either your remote or TV? There’s a chance that your remote and TV are no longer compatible.
The solution here is easy, though not as cost-efficient: replace the outdated remote model with the newer, compatible one.
Vance is a dad, former software engineer, and tech lover. Knowing how a computer works becomes handy when he builds Pointer Clicker. His quest is to make tech more accessible for non-techie users. When not working with his team, you can find him caring for his son and gaming.