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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, various 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.
Editor’s note: We used a TiVi Stream 4K running Android 10 for the steps mentioned below. They might be slightly different, depending on the TV you have and its software version.
Connectivity Android TV problems
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 another device, like your phone or laptop, can connect to the network. Try a website, or any app that uses the internet. If they can access the web, we know the problem is the Android TV device. If you’re offline, try restarting your router. You can do this by unplugging the router, waiting for about a minute, and plugging it back in.
- 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. Just go to Settings (gear icon)>Network & Internet and take a look at your Wi-Fi networks.
- The network connectivity problem could be because of a time and date mismatch. Go to Settings (gear icon)>Device Preferences>Date & time>Automatic date & time and enable Use Network-provided 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 Android TV problems regarding slow or sluggish app performance. 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 data. 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. You can check how much storage is available on your Android TV by going to Settings (gear icon)>Device preferences>Storage. Go to Internal shared storage for a detailed breakdown of the TV’s storage use. Delete whatever you have too much of.
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 one of the most common Android TV problems.
- Go to Settings (gear icon)>Apps>See all apps and find Google Play Store. Pick Force stop, then try again. If that doesn’t work, select Clear cache and Clear data.
- Some Android TVs 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>About>Factory 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. It’s also among the most common Android TV problems.
- 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>Reboot. Remove the batteries from the remote while the TV is turning off. Once you see the logo, put the batteries back into the remote.
- The screen will give you instructions for the pairing process. You usually have to press and hold a couple of buttons. Press In our case, these are the Back and TiVo buttons. Some also use Home and Select buttons. Keep the remote close to the TV (less than three feet) when this is happening.
- 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. If that works, then you know your remote is to blame.
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 & Sign In to see what you’ve used to sign in to your Android TV.
- Go to Settings (gear icon)>Accounts & 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. If it doesn’t, go through the account sync steps (see above).
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.
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.
If you’re tired of waiting, you should probably take a look at the Chromecast with Google TV (HD) or Chromecast with Google TV (4K).
Android TV is the operating system for Google-powered smart TVs. It is based on the mobile Android OS, but modified to work better on a larger screen for media consumption. In turn, Google TV is a skin made to improve the experienced, and it is based on Android TV. Essentially, Google TV lives on top of Android TV. Think of it as an Android TV launcher of sorts.
The latest Android 12 version is based on Android 12.
Yes! You can turn any TV into an Android TV by buying an Android TV dongle or set-top box. Even old TVs, as long as they have an HDMI port.
Android TVs have access to the Google Play Store, but not to the whole portfolio of apps. Apps need to be optimized for Android TV first. Most of the important ones are available, though.