Q. I love my new Smart TV, but sometimes I lose the WiFi connection on Comcast. Is that normal? I used to not have that problem with my Roku hooked up to my old TV. — Sandy, Reno, Nevada.
Sandy, your problem is not uncommon with Smart TVs, plus Smart TV devices such as Blu-ray players, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and yes, Roku. The streaming player will simply lose its connection with your WiFi network, perhaps just for a few seconds, but long enough to interrupt your program or movie.
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The disconnect is a major inconvenience, but Vizio’s Support page at Vizio.com actually offers some suggestions on how to reduce, if not eliminate, the problem.
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For starters, Vizio says it recommends that your Smart TV (or another Smart TV device) be positioned no more than 30 feet away from your Internet modem. This is to ensure that your set can easily pick up the WiFi signal from the modem. The further away the modem is, the more likely that your TV will have difficulty maintaining a consistently strong connection.
Of course, in many homes, particularly large ones, the 30-feet rule is not practical. While you may have the modem stationed in the strategically-smart center of the house (to allow all rooms to have an equal chance of receiving the WiFi signal), there still could be family members trying to stream from the basement, or an upstairs, corner bedroom which is more than 30 feet away.
In this case, you might want to purchase a wireless range extender that will (hopefully) bring a strong WiFi signal to every room, nook and cranny of your home. You mentioned that you have Comcast so you might want to consider getting the company’s new XFi Pod, which promise to do just that. They cost $119 for a pack of three.
If you are still having issues after taking those steps, Vizio suggests trying to stream on the Smart TV alone to see if the connection improves. Sometimes your WiFi signal will lose strength if several devices in the house are operating at the same time.
Finally, one last idea: Connect your Vizio Smart TV directly to the modem with an Ethernet cable. That will bypass the WiFi network entirely and (hopefully, again) deliver a stronger signal to your set.
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Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann
Listen to the Answer Man.
He is correct about Connecting the TV DIRECT to the MODEM thru an Ethernet Cable.
You WILL have an EXCELLENT Picture.
Also connecting your “Other Devices” DIRECTLY thru an Ethernet cable will Improve the performance.
Wifi is like Dennis the Menace and Joey trying to make a phone with 2 cans and a string.
WiFi on smart TVs performs poorly because the manufactures use cheap chipsets and will not place the antenna across the top of the display. They save money by embedding it in the board behind the TV, while the screen attenuates 90+% of the signal.
Rokus, being outside the TV case are *bulletproof* on WiFi, often staying connected for years at a time if they don’t lose power.
If you live in an apartment, ignore the section of the article on repeaters and extenders – they are not meant for high-density housing and will make your problem worse.
If you already bought the smart TV, get your router as close as you can to the TV or run an Ethernet cable and buy an Access Point (not a router) to place closer to the TV.
First step connect your smart TV to the modem via Ethernet cable. Direct wire is your best option for smart TV.