Life during the past years’ lockdowns would have been drastically different without technology. Many of us manage everything in our lives, from work to entertainment, largely online.
It’s gotten to the point where we would stare at screens for hours on end. For many families, that involves phones and their smart TV. But sometimes tech can backfire and smart TVs act up and become frustratingly slow.
Here’s how to identify and troubleshoot this problem.
- Understanding Your Smart TV
- Why Is My Smart TV So Slow?
Understanding Your Smart TV
First, we have to establish what a smart TV is. It’s your basic TV, equipped with a processor that allows it to connect to the internet and make use of apps such as streaming platforms.
Like a computer, it runs on an operating system (also referred to as an OS), and each brand uses a different one.
Why Is My Smart TV So Slow?
Just like a computer, every Smart TV is a device with a finite capacity.
It might surprise some that these devices use RAM (random access memory), which serves as a temporary memory for processing data while the device is in use. Once it shuts down, all data stored in its RAM gets erased.
For Smart TVs, the RAM serves the same purpose as it does in your personal computer. The more you use your TV, the more apps you open, the more temporary memory gets used up, and the RAM eventually fills up.
When the RAM is full, the system will create swap files that will replace idle programs in the RAM.
This will free up some sections of the RAM so it will be able to store new data. This is what causes your device to be less responsive as the system tries to find a way to free up some space.
You will know when your RAM is full when you notice that channels aren’t flipping as fast as they used to, or apps are taking longer to load despite your good internet connection.
Another sign to watch out for is buffering when you are streaming a show or a movie. You will also notice that when you click something on your remote, your TV takes a few extra seconds before it does the command.
What To Do When Your Smart TV Is Running Low on Memory and Storage
As previously mentioned, your smart TV has a limited amount of memory and that memory can impact its performance.
Once full, your TV’s memory is like a pillowcase stuffed to the brim. You can still cram stuffing in there, but it’s not going to be pretty.
Solution: Clear the data. There are three ways to clear the memory of your smart TV.
1. Shut it off and unplug it for one minute.
This clears the cache of your TV, meaning recent or nonessential data is erased from your TV. Your TV should go back to working properly, with all saved data intact when you plug it back in.
2. Delete unused apps on your Smart TV.
- Go to Settings
- Choose Device
- Select Apps
- Click on Downloaded Apps
- Choose which apps you want to delete
3. Factory reset
If the first two options don’t work, you’ll have to opt for this.
Although an extreme remedy that would result in wiping out your smart TV’s entire storage and memory (including browsing history and login credentials), this reverts it to its factory settings making it work like it’s fresh out of the box.
- Launch Settings
- Select General
- Click Reset
- Input your PIN. If you haven’t changed the PIN, 0000 is usually the default PIN.
- Select Reset
- Wait for your Smart TV to automatically restart
List of steps above may vary between TV models
Too Many Devices Connected to Your Network
Too many devices put a strain on your internet connection, and that slows down your streaming apps.
Solution: Disconnect. If there are too many devices connected to your network, disconnect some of the devices that are not important or not being used. This should help ease the strain on your internet connection.
Your TV Is a Lemon
If your smart TV happens to be quite old, it might be unable to keep up with the changes in the programs.
Older models may also have flaws in their design or processors that were improved upon in newer versions. This would make them incompatible with the apps that automatically update.
To be fair, you can’t really expect old tech to keep up with the fast pace that apps are updated, and if you purchase an old TV, it’s likely that it’ll be struggling as soon as two to three years in.
Solution: Purchase a new TV. At times, you simply have to give in and purchase a new one.
Though it may not be the most cost-effective solution, if your budget can afford it, get the latest model. This way, you won’t need to purchase a new TV because it will still be able to accommodate software updates and faster internet speeds in the near future.
Poor WiFi Connection or Slow Internet
Your TV can only perform as well as your internet connection allows it to. If you don’t have a good connection, no amount of tech can compensate for it.
Take a look at your internet plan and check what is included, ensure that your connection is delivering what you’re supposed to be receiving.
For lower-resolution videos such as some YouTube videos, you will need at least 10 Mbps at a minimum. If you want to watch videos at a higher quality, you will need a faster, more stable connection.
For 4K content, you need at least 25 Mbps, and that is only if you’re streaming on one device. If you have other family members working or watching on their phones or computers, you’ll need even more.
Solution: Beef up your internet plan. If your unit is fairly new and the software is up to date, then it might be time to upgrade your internet plan.
Your internet plan might be too slow to deliver the connectivity that your smart TV needs.
TV Software is Not Updated
Like your phone’s OS, your smart TV requires regular updates, this is another pretty simple fix.
Solution: Check for updates. Check your TV to see if its system needs an update and let it update. If your TV has automatic updates, opt-in for that and save yourself the trouble of manually doing so.
You can also check if your apps need to be updated. Some streaming services won’t allow you to stream if you do not have the latest version of their app.
Technical Difficulties With Your Streaming Service
Your streaming service provider is experiencing technical difficulties.
While they try to provide you with stable service 24/7, your streaming service provider may occasionally encounter technical difficulties.
Hopefully, you won’t notice any glitches, but sometimes, you may. This may manifest itself as a lower user experience when on the platform, videos not loading properly, or stopping mid-stream, etc.
Solution: Check your streaming service using another device. If your streaming service has an app, use your smartphone or tablet to see if it’s working properly.
If there is a service disruption, get in touch with your service provider. If it turns out that they are having some problems, then there’s nothing to do but settle in for a bit of a wait.
So there you have it! We hope that you have found the solution to your slow Smart TV here and that our solutions will help get it back up to speed.
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.