TV running slow? I changed these 6 settings to instantly speed up the performance

TV running slow? I changed these 6 settings to instantly speed up the performance

TV running slow? I changed these 6 settings to instantly speed up the performance

Jason Hiner/ZDNET

Is your smart TV acting not-so-smart? Does it exhibit lag in sequences or a slow response to your remote control? You aren’t the only one who’s experienced the frustration of watching a juddering screen or disconcerting digital hang-ups.

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Modern TVs have plenty of features and apps, and services that run in the background, which can leave them bogged down over time. Fortunately, there are some simple actions to take that might just rectify your flatscreen’s sketchy performance.

1. Restart and reboot

The simplest fix can sometimes be the quickest fix, so let’s start with the most basic function — an old-fashioned reboot. Before proceeding with more advanced troubleshooting methods, access your TV’s settings menu and look for a Restart option.

Restarting closes background apps and processes, which can help free up resources, just like with your computer or smartphone. In conjunction, I further recommend unplugging the power cord entirely from the outlet and waiting at least 30 seconds for your TV to fully discharge before plugging it back in.

2. Clear your smart TV’s cache; delete unused apps and stored data

Also like computers and smartphones, your TV stores temporary data in a cache so that its operating system doesn’t have to load startup information every time you want to use it. This cache can become full over time and cause slow performance. Navigate to your TV’s settings and locate the Clear Cache option. If you’re experiencing issues with specific apps, like Netflix or YouTube, you can also clear the cache for individual apps.

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All smart TVs have a limited amount of random access memory (RAM), which ultimately dictates its speed and functionality for streaming and playback. And unlike many computers, there is no way to upgrade your RAM because it is integrated directly into the TV’s motherboard. You can, however, do a few things to optimize the RAM your TV comes with.

Besides clearing the cache, consider uninstalling the apps you don’t use. Also, make sure no apps are running in the background, gobbling up your RAM. The same goes for any downloaded content — media files such as movies, gaming content, or photographs can take up precious space and lead to a storage overload. Delete any redundant images and videos you’ll never watch again to increase performance. (If you must keep certain items, you can connect a USB flash drive or external hard drive to preserve and store the media for eternity.)

3. Check for software and firmware updates


Kerry Wan/ZDNET

Regularly updating your smart TV is critical for fixing bugs, addressing security patches, and maintaining its general well-being. Manufacturers release updates to optimize and enhance software components like operating systems, apps, and drivers.

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Outdated software can lead to various problems on your smart TV, such as compatibility issues with new apps or services. Some of the more obvious (and more irksome) results of failing to update could manifest as screen unresponsiveness or freezing. Further, updates often include performance improvements that help reduce system resource usage, enhancing efficiency and a smoother user experience.

Many smart TVs either automatically update or prompt you when an update is available, ensuring you’re always using the latest software version. However, it is advisable to search your settings and find the Update option to be certain.

4. Check for internet connection or network issues

A stable and fast internet connection is essential for smart TVs to function optimally. Unstable connections can result in buffering, pixelation, and other streaming issues. Wi-Fi signal strength and interference from other devices can also impact performance.

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Just as with rebooting your TV, start by turning off your router by unplugging it for at least 30 seconds, allowing it to fully reestablish the connection. If possible, move your router closer to the smart TV to minimize signal obstructions from walls and furnishings. Alternatively, consider using a Wi-Fi extender, or connect your TV directly to your internet using an Ethernet cable. This eliminates potential Wi-Fi interference and generally provides faster internet speeds to any device.

5. Consider installing a TV optimization app

Several television optimization apps available for download that might improve your TV’s speed. Optimization apps are designed to, well, optimize various aspects of your smart TV, including picture settings, sound quality, and internet connectivity. They also offer diagnostic tools to identify and fix common performance issues.

Apps like TV Optimization Guru, Fast Optimizer, and THX Tune-Up, can help speed up your TV’s performance by managing background processes, clearing cache, and optimizing memory usage.

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Before downloading any apps, though, be sure to check for compatibility with your specific smart TV model (a simple Google search should suffice). Be warned: some optimization apps may require a subscription or in-app purchases to unlock all features.

6. Last-ditch effort: a factory reset

If nothing else improves your smart TV’s performance, it might be time for the ultimate reboot: a factory reset.

As a last resort, performing a factory reset will erase all data (downloads), apps, and saved settings — anything that wasn’t originally preinstalled on your TV. Navigate to your advanced settings to find the Factory Reset option to restore your TV to its original state. Only use this option if other troubleshooting steps have failed, and if your TV still has issues after resetting, you may need to contact your manufacturer for further assistance.

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