Why Does My HDTV Stutter?

High Definition Television (HDTV) sources, such as digital cable and digital satellite, as well as television sets have changed the way we watch TV. Once fuzzy, blurry, and even snowy pictures are now as clear as though you were there in the action, whether it's a sports game, music videos, or an awards performance. We have become attached to better picture quality, though, and we no longer accept poor or disrupted service, such as when stuttering occurs.

TV Related Issue

As technology advances, most components tend to be more computer-like. With these advancements come great improvements such as widgets where you can view the weather without leaving your current channel; you can even use social media directly on your TV. However, this also brings the dreaded restart to your other electronics. Even if you turn your TV off every day, try unplugging it for about five minutes and plugging it back in. If the stutter was a sync issue strictly with the TV, this will resolve it. The TV could also need a firmware update, but this is typically not the issue. A local TV repair shop could verify this issue rather easily.

Source Related Issue

Just like the TV, your source, be it a cable box or satellite receiver, needs to be restarted as well. Try powering it off without unplugging it first. Leave it off for about five minutes before powering it back on. If that doesn't help, then try unplugging it from power for five minutes. If you are currently recording something with a DVR box, this will stop the recording. You will also be without your program guide for a while once you plug your source back into the power outlet. If you have had your cable box or satellite receiver for more than a couple of years or if you have recurring problems with it, you may want to request a new unit from your provider.

HD Cable Issue

Issues with cables running between the source and TV set can cause issues as well. If the cables are old or connections are worn or corroded, it's definitely time to replace them. If they are crimped or zip-tied together tightly, try to loosen or possibly replace them. Power cords can sometimes cause interference with cables that aren't very well shielded, so be sure to keep the two away from each other. If both your cable box and TV support HDMI, be sure to use it for better quality compared to component cables.

Service Related Issue

If all else fails to help the situation, it could simply be the service. With cable, it could be a known issue in the area. Check with neighbours on the same service and eventually the service provider to both confirm and report the outage. If it's a localised issue, they may have to send a technician out. With satellite service, it could be an issue with the satellite dish. It may be out of alignment with the satellite, or a dish has gone bad, or it could be just heavy clouds blocking the signal. If it's not cloud related, calling the satellite provider is your best bet.

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About the Author

Eric Wilborn has been writing since 2000, covering topics from computers to phones to cars for various websites. He studied computer science and photography at Olivet Nazarene University and has more than 10 years in the information-technology field as well as five years selling and supporting consumer electronics, including mobile phones and cameras.