Smart TVs are an amazing convenience for practically any home.
That said, they can also hog up quite a bit of the Internet – especially if your household happens to be packed with people and devices.
Figuring out how to quickly improve your Smart TV’s Internet usage can avoid any unneeded frustration while you’re binging your favorite shows.
Here are 6 things to do if your smart TV slows down the internet:
- Update your Smart TV’s firmware.
- Disconnect any devices you’re not using.
- Turn down the video resolution settings.
- Use an ethernet cable.
- Consider upgrading to a newer model.
- Upgrade or double-check your Internet plan.
I’ll be going over each of these methods in detail and explaining how they could impact your Internet speeds.
By the end of this article, you’ll have a solid understanding of a few ways to better your household’s Internet usage without sacrificing your Smart TV experience.
1. Update Your Smart TV’s Firmware
If you’re having trouble with your Internet speed as you’re using your Smart TV, a good first step is to check if there are any firmware updates available.
According to Samsung’s support page, checking if your TV is up-to-date with any software or firmware is one of the first things you should do if you begin to notice any major problems with your Internet as you’re surfing your Smart TV.
This can include things like sudden issues with buffering or loading on your Smart TV.
It may also include connection issues that occur on other devices once the Smart TV is in use.
Updating your firmware will be slightly different for each different brand and model of the TV, but you can generally find the option to start an update somewhere in your system settings.
If you’ve recently updated your Smart TV and are finding yourself running into slow Internet speeds that you didn’t see before, that’s something worth noting.
In cases like these, you may want to contact your Smart TV’s customer support and mention that your issues began after a recent update.
2. Disconnect Any Devices You’re Not Using
This is likely the most inconvenient option, especially for readers who live with roommates or family members, but it might be worth checking out.
If your Internet begins to chug when you use your Smart TV, consider turning off any devices that use an Internet connection that you aren’t currently using.
This can help your Internet speed comes down to one factor of your Internet plan: your bandwidth.
According to a webpage by the University of California Santa Cruz, bandwidth is the maximum capacity for uploading and downloading data that your Internet network will allow you.
The more devices you have connected to your Internet, the more of the bandwidth you’re using.
This will cause every device connected to that network to have lower speeds overall.
So, if you disconnect a few devices that you’re not using (maybe a game console that nobody is playing, or your work computer that you won’t be touching), you can lessen the load and improve your Internet speeds overall.
You may also wonder: Will a Smart TV work with an antenna?
3. Turn Down the Video Resolution Settings
For a lot of people, turning off other devices in their home every time they want to use their Smart TV isn’t feasible.
If this is the case for you, you might want to instead change a few of your video settings on your Smart TV.
Watching higher resolution video or streamed content on your Smart TV can take up a solid chunk of your bandwidth.
If you’re willing to sacrifice a bit of audio and video quality, you can choose to lower these settings in return for a greater Internet speed both for your Smart TV and for the rest of your home.
The process for lowering your video quality is going to vary depending on the exact app that you’re using, but most apps will give you at least some control over your resolution.
For instance, Netflix offers its customers the option to cap their data usage and resolution settings through a user’s account settings.
4. Use an Ethernet Cable
Ethernet cables connect devices directly to an Internet router, allowing them to work off a wired connection rather than a wireless one.
This provides higher Internet speeds for the device connected to the Ethernet cable and for every other device working off that network.
Switching over the device to an Ethernet connection frees up space on the wireless network and allows data to be transferred to each device more efficiently.
An Ethernet cable can be connected to a wide variety of devices, but connecting one to your Smart TV will be your best bet.
Your Smart TV is likely going to be staying in one place for extended periods of time, which will make it perfect for connecting to your router.
However, you may find that your Smart TV is too far away from your router to easily connect via Ethernet.
This is fine! Instead, connect other devices (such as a computer or laptop) to the router and experience the same beneficial effects on your Internet speed.
If you’re looking to try this out, I recommend buying this Cat7 10 Feet Long Ethernet Cable from Amazon.com.
It’s the perfect length for connecting your Smart TV to your router and is great for helping you improve your Internet speed.
Further reading: Should a Smart TV Be on 5G or 2G? 6 Things To Consider
5. Consider Upgrading to a Newer Model
If your Smart TV is on the older side, you could be experiencing slow speeds because some streaming services no longer support its software.
It costs a lot of money for service providers to keep their code up to date, and in many cases, they will simply stop supporting older brands.
It’s similar in the smartphone industry.
If you have, say, an iPhone 6, chances are you’ve noticed that many apps will no longer update, and the phone itself will no longer update through Apple.
One way to check this on your Smart TV is to open up another streaming service to see if the speeds are any faster.
However, if one service is lagging behind, chances are the others will follow, and your TV will soon be obsolete.
6. Upgrade or Double-Check Your Internet Plan
If you’ve tried a bunch of different methods only to still get slow speeds with your Smart TV on, you may want to examine your Internet plan.
Doing an Internet speed test (such as the one offered by Netflix here) will give you your Internet’s upload and download speeds.
These are the two speeds responsible for making your Internet experience what it is!
In particular, your download speed is pretty important if you’re a Smart TV owner; it’s the speed at which your network receives data from a source.
You may find that your Internet plan’s current speed is simply too low to support a Smart TV and all of its various services.
If that’s the case, you may need to consider upgrading your plan or switching to a different provider to get better speeds.
Alternatively, you may find that your download speed is far slower than what was advertised.
According to this study by the FCC, it is extremely common for actual Internet speeds to lag far behind what Internet service providers advertise them as.
In these cases, you might want to consider contacting your internet service provider in order to try and get your money’s worth!
No one likes slow Internet, especially not while they’re using their Smart TV!
If your Smart TV lags your Internet every time that it is used, you may need to update its software, disconnect other household devices, lower its video quality settings, connect it to an Ethernet port, or reassess the quality of your Internet plan.
It can be a bit of a trial-and-error process as you try to figure out exactly what is going wrong with your Internet, but knowing these methods is a great way to help get your Internet back on track.