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Android TV problems and how to fix them
Android TV, Google’s OS for televisions, is one of the best smart TV platforms around. You get quick and easy access to every streaming and music platform, a variety of games and educational apps, and you also have the option to cast from your phone. Like with any operating system, though, Android TV might face software bugs and glitches that make their TVs challenging to use. Here’s a look at some common Android TV problems and how to fix them.
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Note: I used a TCL Android TV running Android 10 for the steps mentioned below. They might be slightly different, depending on the TV you have.
Unlike a regular TV, a smart TV depends on an internet connection to function. If you face any Wi-Fi or network connectivity problems with Android TV, there are a few ways to troubleshoot them.
- The first step is to check your Wi-Fi or network connection. See if your phone or laptop can connect to the network. If they are, check the connectivity status on the TV. Use the remote to go to the gear icon at the top right corner. Go to Network settings–>Check internet connection and see at which stage the link fails. Is it between the TV and the router? Or the router and the internet?
- Ensure that you are trying to connect to the correct network, particularly if you have a dual-band setup. Not every Android TV supports 5GHz connectivity. If the TV isn’t able to connect to the router, restart the router and TV.
- The network connectivity problem could be because of a time and date mismatch. Go to Settings (gear icon)–>Device preferences–>Date and time and enable Automatic date and time (or use Network date and time). Make sure that you have set the correct time zone as well. However, if you see a blatant mismatch in the date and time, you can disable the Automatic date and time and set it manually. Both solutions have worked for different users.
Sluggish app performance
Users often report slow or sluggish app performance with their Android TV. This is different from when an app fails to load, or loads slowly, likely caused by a slow internet connection.
- Go to Settings (gear icon)–>Apps and find the problematic app. Select both Clear cache and Clear storage. You will need to sign in to the app again, but it should work as expected.
- If that doesn’t work, it might be better to uninstall and reinstall the app. In the same menu, select Uninstall. You can find the app in the TV’s Google Play Store and install it again.
- Some apps have problems after updates, but the only option is to wait for future updates for the issue to go away.
- A close to full storage might be causing some performance issues. Apps don’t take a lot of space, but if you have filled up your storage, delete apps that you don’t use. You can check how much storage is available on your Android TV by going to Settings (gear icon)–>Device preferences–>Storage. Go to Shared internal storage for a detailed breakdown of the TV’s storage use.
Google Play Store “download pending” error
The dreaded “download pending” error when installing apps from the Google Play Store isn’t just limited to phones, but is also seen on Android TVs.
- Go to Settings (gear icon)–>Apps–>See all apps and find Google Play Store. Select clear cache and clear storage.
- Some Android TVs (like my TCL TV) have a dedicated system optimization option. Look for a shield icon next to the gear icon at the top right corner. Select System optimize (or System speedup). You should see any download pending errors after that. Remember, not every Android TV will have a dedicated button to clear the system cache.
- If everything else fails, you might need to factory reset the TV. Go to Settings (gear icon)–>Device preferences–>Reset and select Factory reset.
TV remote is not working
The TV is unusable without the remote, and it’s a massive problem if it stops working.
- The obvious first step is to check the batteries. Replace the batteries and see if the remote starts working.
- You can try restarting the TV and the remote to establish the connection. Most Android TV remotes use IR and Bluetooth. You will need to pair the remote to use the Google Assistant button. Restart the TV by going to Settings (gear icon)–>Device preferences–>About–>Restart. Remove the batteries from the remote while the TV is turning off. Once you see the logo, put the batteries back into the remote.
- Press and hold the Home and OK buttons on the remote to start the re-pairing process. Keep the remote close to the TV (less than three feet) when this is happening. The steps might be different for your Android TV remote, so check the user manual.
- If the remote isn’t working, it might be a hardware problem, and you will need to get a replacement. You can use the Android TV Remote app or a third-party remote app from the Google Play Store.
Google Play Movies and TV shows not appearing
Some users say they have problems seeing purchased Google Play movies or TV shows on their Android TV.
- Make sure that you are signed in with the proper account. Go to Settings (gear icon)–>Accounts and sign in to see what you’ve used to sign in to your Android TV.
- Go to Settings (gear icon)–>Accounts and sign in and select your account. Then select Sync now. Enable the Google TV sync option if it is disabled.
Cannot complete a purchase on Android TV
If you buy an app, movie, or TV show from the Google Play Store, you might face an issue completing the purchase on your Android TV.
Your set payment method might require additional verification to complete a purchase. Unfortunately, you cannot complete these verification steps on an Android TV. You can try changing payment methods to one that might not require extra verification. The better option is to buy the app, movie, or TV show on another device like your phone or computer.
For an app, select Android TV as the device you want to install the app on. It should automatically show up on your Android TV for movies and TV shows. Go through the account sync steps (see above) if it doesn’t.
Get manufacturer-specific help for Android TV problems
With various manufacturers making Android TVs and the changing software, creating a comprehensive how-to guide on Android TV problems without accounting for every model and software version isn’t easy. Every TV maker has a different set of troubleshooting guides worth checking out. Popular Android TV brands include Sony, TCL (Android TV and Google TV), and HiSense.
Android TV vs Google TV: Where’s my update?
Google introduced an exciting new interface and renamed its smart TV operating system to Google TV. The row UI you might be familiar with is gone, replaced with content tabs and new section labels. It brings a more unified look while showcasing content from different apps. Google TV also introduced smart home controls, the ability to use Google Photos as screen savers, and after a long wait, the option to set up individual user profiles.
But if you have an older TV, you might be in for a long wait. TV manufacturers like Sony and TCL have committed to updating some of their older models, but neither has set a specific timeline yet. You will get a notification once the update is available. You can also check manually by going to Settings–>Device preferences–>About–>System update–>Network update.
See also: The best Android TV you can get