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TV Stuck On Setup (Causes, How To Fix)

TVs are highly technical and sensitive devices despite how much the technology has matured over the decades. There are so many things that can go wrong, and each problem has a different set of solutions depending on your TV brand. One of the more uncommon problems is when your TV gets stuck on the setup screen. So, what causes the issue, and how can you fix it?

A failed EEPROM chip is the most common cause of a TV that gets stuck on the setup screen, which isn’t an easy fix and requires you to replace the damaged component. But other factors can also cause the problem, like software errors and outdated firmware. These are generally easy to fix at home.

With so many possible causes, how do you know which one it is so you can find out how to fix it? Luckily, troubleshooting is simply a process of elimination. Once you’ve tried to fix one problem that didn’t work, simply work your way through to the next problem and its solution. Here are all the common causes, along with their solutions, for you to try.

TV Gets Stuck Because Of Temporary Software Problem

All modern TVs are basically just computers with one specific function. This is even more true when it comes to smart TVs, but all TVs are a combination of hardware and software that must interact in a particular way for the device to complete its task successfully.

If something goes wrong with the software, that error can sometimes get stuck in the TV’s signal processing or booting process and cause it to get stuck on the setup or loading screen. Though it doesn’t happen often, it could happen, and it’s very frustrating when it does.

Fixing Software Errors In A TV

Temporary software errors are the easiest to fix. There are two main ways to do so.

The Cancel Button On The Remote

This solution isn’t the most common but is usually the easiest to check. If your remote works while your TV is stuck on the setup screen, simply press the Cancel or Exit button. Press the button repeatedly to see if it does anything.

If the TV doesn’t go out of the screen, it is always possible (however unlikely) that your remote’s batteries have gone flat or that the remote itself isn’t working. You may try to replace the batteries, or you can install a universal remote app if your smartphone supports it. Then try to hit the Cancel or Exit button again.

If it still doesn’t work, it’s time for step two.

Turn It Off And On Again

Since TVs are basically computers, many of the same troubleshooting steps apply, including the famous “turn it off and on again” trick. But just hitting the power button isn’t good enough. That’s because the power button only places the TV in standby mode; it doesn’t actually clear any memory.

To make this trick work, you must entirely remove power from the TV. Unplug your TV from the wall socket and leave it like that for at least 60 seconds. Longer is always a good idea; some users claim to have had success only after leaving the TV unplugged overnight.

After enough time has passed, plug the TV back into the power socket and try again. It’s strange how often this fix works with TVs and various other appliances. However, if it still doesn’t work, it’s time for some more extreme measures.

TV Stuck On Setup Screen Because Of Firmware Errors

As mentioned, TVs (especially modern smart TVs) use software, but it’s a particular type of software stored on a special kind of chip. The software is referred to as firmware. 

The TV’s firmware controls all the aspects of the TV, including its settings, bootup sequence, functions, and apps (in the case of smart TVs). So, it stands to reason that a firmware problem could have far-reaching consequences on your TV’s functioning and performance.

Smart TVs are often connected to the internet through Wi-Fi or an ethernet cable. In these cases, the TV will often automatically check for firmware updates and attempt to install them. If something interrupts such a firmware update at precisely the wrong time, the update could be botched (yes, that’s a technical term), and your TV could get stuck while switching on.

Fixing TV Firmware Issues

This is where the solutions start to get a bit complicated. Most TVs have ways to fix botched firmware updates, but the methods vary between brands. It’s a good idea to browse the manufacturer’s website and find out exactly how to fix it. The process usually involves some variation on the following steps:

  1. Download the correct firmware from the manufacturer’s website. Always look for the latest firmware and double-check to ensure you download the correct firmware for your TV model. The wrong firmware could cause even more problems that you won’t be able to fix on your own.
  2. Prepare a USB flash drive as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Usually, this involves formatting the flash drive using a particular file system (most often that will be FAT32) and copying the firmware file or files to the root folder of the flash drive.
  3. With the TV switched off and unplugged, insert the flash drive into the TV’s USB port.
  4. Connect the TV to your Wi-Fi router using an ethernet cable.
  5. Plug the TV into the wall power socket and switch it on. The TV should recognize the flash drive and start to update the firmware, overwriting the corrupt parts with the latest (hopefully uncorrupted) version.
  6. The ethernet cable isn’t always required, but some TV models use the internet connection to verify the firmware while it’s updating.
  7. After the process has finished (use the manufacturer’s guide to find out how you should know when this happens), you might have to turn off and unplug the TV again before removing your flash drive and switching the TV back on.

This process is known to be very effective, but if it doesn’t work, the next cause is the most difficult to fix.

Damaged EEPROM Chips Also Cause “Stuck On Setup” Errors

A failed EEPROM chip is the last common cause of a TV getting stuck on the setup or loading screen after you’ve switched it on. Unfortunately, this is also the most common cause of the problem.

The TV’s firmware is stored on a special chip called an EEPROM (short for “electronically-erasable programmable read-only memory”). This chip is “flashed” when you update the firmware.

If something goes wrong with the chip, it could cause a wide range of different problems, including getting stuck on the setup screen. The only way to fix this (after you’ve attempted to flash the firmware, as described above) is to replace the EEPROM chip. You can do this in one of three ways.

Replacing A Damaged EEPROM Chip In A TV

The EEPROM chip is mounted on a separate controller board inside the TV, along with other chips. Check your TV manufacturer’s website for schematics of the TV’s circuitry to locate the EEPROM.

Replace The EEPROM Chip Itself

If you’re handy with electronics, you might be able to replace the EEPROM chip yourself. The first step is to get the exact model number of the chip, which is often written on the chip or indicated in the TV’s documentation or circuit diagram. Once you have the model number, you should be able to find a replacement EEPROM chip with the correct model number if you search online.

Then all you have to do is use a soldering iron to remove the old chip and carefully replace it with the new one, taking care to connect it in the same way as the old one. Note that the new chip won’t have the firmware, so after replacing it, you must still follow the steps for updating the firmware as described above.

Replace The Controller Board

The easier way is to replace the entire circuit board. When you open your TV and locate the board containing the EEPROM, simply check the board for the sticker which indicates the part number. The manufacturer will often sell the parts, or you can find them from various electronic stores or TV repair shops. You might even be able to find an old broken TV with the same model that still works.

You can simply remove all cables from the circuit board, loosen all the screws, and replace the old circuit board and EEPROM with the new one. You might have to flash the firmware before it works correctly.

Take The TV In To A Professional

The previous two fixes were simple enough to do at home, but let’s be honest, even people who are confident with a soldering iron could find this task a bit intimidating. Sometimes we just have to accept that the best option is to pay a professional to use their expertise to fix our TVs. A broken EEPROM chip might be one of those situations.

Not only will a TV repair shop be able to find the right components, but they also have the know-how to fix it in a fraction of the time that it would take you to figure it out for yourself. Unless you see it as a personal challenge, paying the money to resolve the problem efficiently and professionally might be worth it.

Conclusion

A TV that gets stuck on the setup screen is frustrating. At least most other problems tend to have clear causes and logical solutions. Because this particular problem is often software-related, it’s not as easy to troubleshoot or fix. Hopefully, this guide will help you find the cause of the problem and perhaps even fix it.

References

https://www.ifixit.com/Answers/View/522073/stuck+on+The+%22initial+setup%22+screen

https://www.ifixit.com/Answers/View/523016/Vizio+Tv+stuck+on+startup+screen

https://www.getdroidtips.com/samsung-tv-stuck-welcome-screen/