Smart TVs are a great way to stream content directly from providers like Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video. However, users can find that sometimes the speed is infuriatingly slow, and one of the challenges in fixing the issue is not knowing what is causing the problem.

Your Smart TV is slow because of one of the four main reasons: withdrawal of provider support, maxing out of the available data, outdated firmware, or streaming provider issues. There are different ways to tackle each one of these issues.

This article will cover how to determine which issue is causing the problem, what you can do about each issue, and the step-by-step strategy to fix the problem. The article will also cover what to do when replacing your TV and what factors to keep in mind so your next Smart TV lasts longer.

Support Withdrawal

Major streaming providers like Netflix and Prime have moved to withdraw their support from older Smart TV models to encourage customers to move to newer models. It costs significant time and money to maintain an app from the producers’ end.

When not enough people are using the apps, as is the case with older streaming apps only suited for the previous generation of Smart TVs, it is not feasible for companies like Netflix to continuously invest in maintaining the app.

That is why they withdraw their support from the older models, and one consequence is slower streaming and adversely affected picture quality. If your Smart TV comes from an older range (launched between 2007 and 2014), you will notice the streaming apps taking a significant loading time.

You can combat this drawback while retaining your TV by using a Chromecast and playing your TV shows, movies, and sports from a computer or a laptop. You can use HDMI or other inputs to play at faster speeds as well. The problem with this remedy is that you are essentially using the Smart TV as a screen, which defeats the purpose of having a Smart TV in the first place.

Data Maxing Out

You may have bought a Smart TV launched this year and may think, ‘That previous generation TV slowing has nothing to do with me.’ You are right; if you have a Smart TV from 2018 onwards, it is safe to say that the slowdown is not because of Netflix or other streaming services withdrawing support. If it has nothing to do with the apps and programs, it has to do with the Internet.

If you stream TV shows on your Smart TV using a data package, chances are there is a limited amount of data you can consume. Even unlimited data packages have speed caps, and your data usage ability slows down after a few hundred GBs of data have been used.

However, this amount of data is nearly impossible to use on a mobile device, or a regular computer, which leads to most people assuming their internet access is unlimited.

To put things in perspective, many ISPs limit WiFi and data use at 250 GBs (6 TB for 1Gbps users), but let us take the example of Internet Service Providers that grant a 1 terabyte data cap. 1000 GBs might seem like a lot, but if you are streaming in full HD or ultra HD, you will consume 3 GB or more per hour of viewing. That would give you less than 34 hours of watch time, which is less than 2 hours a day. Now image you have a house full of people who complain about reaching the limit every month. Shudder.

YouTube video

At this point, you have two possible solutions. The first of these is to increase your data package’s cap by talking to your ISP. This, of course, will cost more money. The alternative is to stream in full HD what needs to be streamed in full HD. Do not stream all shows in 4K, but before you apply either of those solutions, the first thing you have to do is confirm whether the problem is because of the data limit or not.

If you have reached your data cap, Netflix will be slower, not just on your TV but also on your laptop and phone. So run the streaming service on different devices, and if the streaming is faster on a different device, the problem is not with your internet. In such an instance, the issue could be with your firmware.

Firmware Update

As a recently released Smart TV connected to high-speed internet, your gadget can still be infuriatingly slow. This difference becomes evident when it takes too long to load an app, but once an app is running, the streaming speed is fine. Consequently, when you try to switch apps or switch shows within an app, the commands receive a delayed response.

This could be attributed to the apps getting outdated, but you have to rule that out if your Smart TV is a recent build. Firmware is the meta-software that the apps launches are nested in. Refer to your TV’s user manual to learn how to update its firmware. After the update, your TV will run more efficiently, and processor efficiency will translate to better speed.

Slow Internet

Another reason your Smart TV is slow may have to do with a slow internet connection. If this is on the provider’s end, you can do little except call them and register a complaint.

However, it might be possible that your WiFi router is giving weaker signals. Move the router closer to your TV and see if the performance becomes slightly better. If it becomes better, you will know that your router is the problem, and replacing it will speed up your streaming.

Why Do Smart TVs Lag?

While a slow internet connection can cause a smart TV to be slow in loading certain apps, one may wonder why the TV’s content is lagging despite a strong internet connection.

As mentioned, Smart TVs lag because of outdated firmware, which leads to higher processing time. As a result, it takes longer for an image to appear or move on the screen.

How to Fix Your Smart TV’s Speed

If you have read through the multiple reasons your Smart TV is slowing down, you may want to know a single cohesive step-by-step procedure to fix the issue. Below are the steps you can take to speed up your TV.

Update Your Smart TV’s Firmware

Check if there is a firmware update available. If you have your TV’s user manual with you, look through it until you find how you can find and upgrade firmware. TVs also have dialogue boxes that ask whether you would like to update the firmware. If you find such a dialog box, click ‘accept/ok’ to upgrade the firmware. If you don’t, you must refer to the manual to find updates.

Some people purchase their TV second hand or throw away the package. This means they don’t have their television’s user manual with them. If you don’t have the user manual, don’t worry, you can simply search the TV’s model and the words user manual to find the user manual online.

And while you are at it, disable the data collection / forwarding / sharing option. This option is usually on by default and enabled after a firmware update. The data you send about your TV and your habits may be small (storage size wise – not including privacy implications), but there are usually a number of active connections to telemetry servers. You may not care, but it’s important to those of us who run efficient and effective home networks, especially if you have a full home automation / IoT setup.

It is possible that you may learn that your TV is running at its latest available firmware. In that case, skip this step and move to the next one.

Check if it Is a Streaming App’s Fault

When we watch TV daily, we tend to lose track of the fact that we may be watching it on a single app. In such a case, if the app is having problems, we might assume it is a problem with the TV. Switch to one of the apps you don’t usually watch and see if the speed issue persists. If it doesn’t, then call the helpline of the specific app to register a complaint.

If the issue persists with both the apps and the Smart TV’s firmware is at its latest, you can be sure nothing you can do with the TV itself as the fault might be with the internet.

Check if it Is an Internet Speed Issue or Internet Capacity Issue

With the internet, you may have one of the two problems. You may have hit your Internet Service Provider’s data cap, or you may have a slow network connection. To figure which one the issue really is, you should open an app like Netflix on your TV. Then switch the playback speed to 720p. If the playback speed is still slow, then the issue is with the data cap. Those who use Twitch are already extremely familiar with this.

You are being barred from using data at a higher speed regardless of usage requirements. If a lower definition increases playback speed, you know the issue is with your network connection. Either way, you will have to call your ISP to fix this. You can make the call and request an increase in your data cap, or you may call and inform your ISP that there are problems with your network reach.

How to Fix Streaming Speed on Old Smart TVs (Alternative Method)

While most blogs will have you believe that just because a Smart TV is old, you may not be able to stream directly because streaming companies no longer support older TVs. This is where the alternative method helps you stream despite the apps being slow.

It is worth mentioning that this method is more inconvenient than watching Netflix or Hulu on their respective apps. Still, it does fix the streaming speed issue caused by support unavailability. Follow the steps below to stream at a higher speed.

  1. Download a web browser on your Smart TV. For this method, you rely on the fact that web browsers don’t withdraw support from older TVs as quickly as Netflix does. So your best bet is to download the browser from one of the application marketplaces available. Be advised that Google Chrome uses a lot of RAM, so make sure you download a browser that uses less RAM.
  1. Visit the streaming site on the browser. Instead of opening the Hulu app, go to or for Netflix, go to Login with your details and play your favorite TV shows on the browser. Click on the ‘full screen’ option and set the playback quality to the one that suits you.

The advantage of this method is that you can stream at a high quality despite the apps being outdated. However, you have to take additional steps, and it takes time to switch between streaming service providers.

Replacing the Smart TV

The final option you have is to replace the Smart TV. If your Smart TV has outstayed its welcome, it is high time for you to replace it with a fast one. If you are running an older Smart TV, the upgrade will blow you away and potentially make you rethink your stance on Smart TVs.

Before you replace your Smart TV, you have to keep a few things in mind.

Buy a Smart TV at the Cost of a Screen

Regardless of which model you buy, eventually, the apps on it will become obsolete, and the manufacturer will stop providing firmware upgrades. When that happens, the Smart TV will only be good as a screen. You will still be able to attach cables to it and view the TV but using the inbuilt apps will be very inconvenient.

It is advisable to see a Smart TV as just a TV when you are buying it. Do not overpay for the “smart” aspects as they will become obsolete. If you are buying a 4K Smart TV, just buy one priced at what you find fair for a 4K TV.

That way, when the apps become slow in a few years, you do not feel like you have wasted money because you paid for the screen, which you can still use.

Do Not Buy a TV Without HDMI Support

This is a critical mistake many customers make when buying a Smart TV. Manufacturers have started putting out Smart TVs without HDMI support. This is a way to trap you into fewer viewing options. An HDMI cable can help you connect the screen to a variety of sources like receivers, DVD players, and laptops.

That is why you should check the number of sources a Smart TV can play from and buy the one with the most options, including USB, HDMI, and of course, WiFi. Whenever there is an internet issue, you want to have at least something to watch on your TV.

Buy TVs With Inbuilt Storage

You may wonder why you are not able to download shows off of Netflix and other streaming services. Of course, that is to prevent piracy, but with devices like Smart TVs, streaming services can enable offline viewing without risking the files being pirated. So in such a case, do apps allow all their shows to be viewed offline?

You have to realize that there are two types of content on Netflix (and other streaming services). Content that is owned by the service and content that is licensed by the service.

Digital Rights Management agreements between Netflix and content owners who lend it to Netflix prevent the streaming service from allowing downloads. Therefore you cannot watch a majority of the shows offline even if your TV has storage.

There is a possibility of watching some shows (mostly ones owned by Netflix or the streaming service) offline if you download them onto the TV’s local storage. That is why it is advisable to purchase Smart TVs with significant local storage. After all, you are hedging against the possibility of network connection problems, which can be frequent in a certain part of the country.

Buy a Chromecast

A Chromecast is a gadget that connects with your Smart TV and gives you the ability to stream from your phone or laptop. When the Internet is down, or the apps no longer work, you can always rely on a Chromecast to connect your TV screen to an alternative streaming source. A Chromecast is a great alternative stream source for your Smart TV.

Do Not Buy an Older Build

When you buy a new Smart TV, it is new for you in the sense that you did not own it before, and no one else has used it prior to your purchase, but that does not mean you are necessarily buying a new model. Buy a model that has been released within two years of the year of purchase. Therefore, if you are buying in the current year, do not buy a model released before 2018.

While most manufacturers discontinue a model once it gets too old to run smoothly, the models that are about to be obsolete in two years or so remain on the market. You have to assume that a Smart TV will get slow in six years of the year it was launched. So be careful not to purchase a TV that was released five years ago.

Know the Difference Between LED and OLED

It is essential to understand the difference between LED screen technology and OLED technology because the price differs a lot between the two.


An LED uses a Liquid Crystal Display, but as you may know, liquid crystal displays are not inherently visible in the dark. For instance, calculators with LCD displays can’t be seen in a dark room. The reason you can see LED TVs in the dark is the presence of a backlight. The backlight adds brightness to the LCD. In LED TVs, the backlight is powered by a light-emitting diode (LED) hence the name.


OLED is the term that stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode. With this technology, each pixel can change color individually as the current passes through it. This allows for more versatility and control in the image quality. It becomes the most obvious in the dark scenes where pitch black pixels can switch off while grower regions can turn to equivalent dark colors. This makes the screen very expensive to buy.

Which One Should You Buy?

If you are buying a Smart TV for the inbuilt apps, it is a bad idea to buy an OLED TV because you are overpaying for the screen. When the apps become obsolete, you will have an expensive screen around the house that you will not be using.

If you don’t stream much from the app, chances are, you will be using the Smart TV as a screen and streaming content from a computer, laptop, or mobile phone. In such a case, opt for an OLED TV that does not have smart features. That way, you will at least avoid overpaying for the smart features (apps), which will become obsolete in a few years.

Skip the 4K (Especially for Smaller Screens)

4K Ultra HD has become all the rage in the world of Smart TVs and television screens in general. 4K stands for approximately 4,000 pixels of width in a TV.

It is not very expensive to make a 4K screen; what is expensive is to fix 4,000 pixels on a smaller screen. So when you are buying a smaller screen, you are overpaying for high pixels per inch, and as established earlier, overpaying for the screen when you truly want just the streaming applications is a bad idea.

Furthermore, apps that you usually stream content from do not even have that much 4K content. Less than 20% of Netflix’s content is in 4K (more on the way), and it charges even more for access. The percentage of 4K content drops, even more, when you move to streaming apps like Hulu.

On the other hand, most new DVD movies come in Ultra HD Bluray and can be watched in 4K if you invest in a DVD player. This makes for a strong argument that you should get a 4K screen if you wish to use a DVD player or a hard drive as a source for your content.

When you use a streaming platform for 4K content, most material will not be available in 4K, and some services will charge you extra for it. Furthermore, before you know it, the apps may no longer even work for the TV model, and you will be left with a screen you did not intend to use with USB and hard drives anyway.

If you wish to use your Smart TV as a streaming device, purchase a 1080p Smart TV, and it will be relatively cheaper and will have given you the right value on the dollar by the time streaming apps become obsolete. By then, you will be able to replace the TV without feeling bad about having overspent on your purchase.

Invest in a Higher Refresh Rate

When buying a TV, you often see a list of specs that you may not understand immediately. One of these is the refresh rate that is listed in hertz (Hz). It is advisable to invest in a higher refresh rate, especially for Smart TVs. A refresh rate shows how often an image refreshes in a second.

You need a 60 Hz refresh rate to be able to get standard video visibility. If it goes any lower, you will start seeing the image get choppy. The motion starts to look more blurry in action sequences and fast moments. Avoid this by getting the highest refresh you can get for the dollar.

The Best Smart TV to Buy

As established earlier, Smart TVs are best bought, like mobile phones: with depreciation in mind. With a six-year obsoletion period in mind, the following Smart TVs have the best value on the dollar and can stream content at a high enough quality for most streamed content. So which Smart TV will last you the longest?

Hisense 54.6-Inch Class H8 Quantum Series Android 4K ULED Smart TV with Voice Remote is a newer model, which gives it longevity and keeps it from becoming redundant too quickly. It not only connects with Bluetooth but also WiFi, HDMI, and ethernet. In other words, internet connection problems will never stop you from having something to watch on this TV.

It has a 240Hz refresh rate, which is more than enough for streamed content and has a 4k Ultra HD display. In other words, you will receive crisp detail with motion adding a level of realness you probably haven’t seen before.

But what about 1080p viewing? You can get a cheaper TV if you need to, but 4K ready HDR screens are more affordable now than ever. If you still want only a 1080p panel, make sure not to order a size below or above 40 inches.

While any Smart TV launched in the current will last you around the same time before the apps start to slow down, HiSense is among the very few Smart TV manufacturers selling TVs that have HDMI connection capabilities.

On the other hand, Roku TVs and new Samsung Android TVs have no HDMI or USB support. So while you may be able to stream content for a long time, any time your internet connection slows down or you reach your monthly data limits, you will have nothing to watch on your Smart TV. That is why opting for a HiSense HDMI-capable Smart TV is a great choice.

If you are considering a lower resolution for an even cheaper purchase, like 720p, I personally wouldn’t opt for a cheaper 32 inch 720p version. Don’t bother. Even if you can’t fully take advantage of 4K yet, splurge on the extra 100s of dollars and get something you can upgrade your media into.

If you want another brand, be cautious about your picks. There are Smart TVs out there without the capacity to connect via HDMI and other means. Otherwise, as long as you make that decision while informed about the drawbacks, then you can shop for a Samsung Android TV, an Apple TV, or a Roku.

Final Thoughts

Before deciding if it is time to buy a new Smart TV because the older one is slow, check whether the issue is because of your internet or a specific provider. You can also use sources other than the native apps to stream content at higher speeds, even in older Smart TVs.

When buying a new Smart TV, avoid purchasing models older than 2020 and do not purchase any Smart TV that only connects to the internet.