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As one of the oldest of the popular streaming platforms today, Netflix has been through a number of changes. ABR, Justin.tv, and YouTube beat Netflix to the punch but only one of those streaming networks is still a common name today. Thanks to more recent changes, however, Netflix may not always cooperate.

If Netflix will only play on your phone and not your TV, it’s most likely a result of two different Netflix plan settings. You may need to dump access on one device to watch on another. Of course, it could also be connectivity, cache, or firmware updates for Netflix or the TV.

Whatever the case, there’s little doubt that Netflix is clamping down on multiple devices and forcing specification, especially if the devices in question are in different zip codes.

If you’re looking to get Netflix on the TV, rather than your phone, it’s best to start there.

6 Fixes To Netflix Not Working On TV But Works On Phone

1. Account Limits

This is where most people run into problems with Netflix running on one device, not another.

It’s completely natural to want to access Netflix on the go. However, it may be disruptive of your TV viewing option if you aren’t paying for the right account.

Netflix offers four account types:

  1. Mobile: For smartphone and tablet use only
  2. Basic: A single ‘device’ only
  3. Standard: Two supported devices
  4. Premium: Four supported devices

Of course, there is a lot more to each plan, including resolution options. However, we’re only interested in the number of devices each plan offers.

For instance, if you are using the Mobile option, there’s your reason. You can only watch Netflix on a mobile platform if you have that service.

To check what type of plan you have, use your smartphone to open the Netflix app.

  1. Select and open Netflix
  2. Login as you
  3. Select your profile in the upper, right-hand corner
  4. Select ‘Account’
  5. Under ‘Plan Details’ you’ll see your account type

2. Single Device Plan

This next one plays off the first potential problem. If you have the Basic Netflix plan, you can only watch Netflix on one supported device at a time. This includes mobile devices, TVs, gaming consoles, PCs, etc.

Sometimes, if you’ve been watching Netflix on your smartphone and you leave the phone to go to the TV, Netflix won’t cooperate.

What you need to do is completely close out Netflix on your smartphone or tablet. “Completely close” means to force quit the app so it is no longer running in the background.

Make sure that the TV app is closed when you do this. That way Netflix can pick up on the fact that both are closed and you are opening the app on a single device.

Like the Mobile plan, the Basic plan can really mess things up if you aren’t careful about closing the app on one device before opening it on another.

3. Clear the App Cache on Netflix

Often enough, a cache that’s bursting at the seams just messes everything up. All the cache amounts to is a bunch of temporary files in the background. It’s the kind of stuff that helps Netflix recommend shows to you according to your viewing history.

Deleting or clearing the cache basically sends the Netflix app back to the way it was when you opened the app for the very first time.

  1. Open Netflix on your PC or Mac
  2. Select the Preferences section by selecting the Partner Portal at the top of the screen
  3. Select ‘Clear Cache’

It’s as simple as that. You don’t have to do anything else unless you just want to go ahead and delete the ‘History’ while you’re in there.

4. Remove Access

If you have the Netflix app closed on all of your devices and its still acting as if you don’t, you can jump on the Netflix website and remove all of your saved devices from the account and start over.

It’s a fairly simple process, just know that you will have to sign back in when you open Netflix on any device.

  1. Login to your Netflix account
  2. Select the ‘Settings’ option
  3. Select ‘Manage Download Devices’
  4. Select and remove all of the devices you see here
  5. Go back to the ‘Manage Download Devices’
  6. Select ‘Add Device’ to add it back
  7. Or, you can simply log in to Netflix on the device you want to watch it on

Netflix rarely does this anymore but it does happen and it was far more frequent an issue when Netflix started clamping down on people sharing their accounts, especially across state lines.

5. Update Your Firmware

This goes for your smartphone, Netflix app, and your TV. No matter what device you are watching Netflix on, it’s best to keep everything updated. This makes things run like a well-oiled machine and helps to avoid problems down the road.

Now, we’re not going to list the process for updating every single one of these devices here. If we did, it would take several pages of content.

Android and iOS devices update differently and should do so automatically. However, it is always a good idea to check and make sure.

Whether you have Netflix on your smartphone, tablet, or TV, the app itself still has to update.

Without updates, the Netflix app would fall further and further out of sync with a consistently updating device, eventually reaching the point where using the app is simply untenable.

If you’re confused about where to check for the latest updates on your device, check over the user manual that comes with it. Updating your devices is one of the easiest things you can do so it won’t be complicated.

AdobeStock_354827294 Multimedia streaming concept. Hand holding remote control. TV screen with lot of pictures.

6. Uninstall and Reinstall Netflix

Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and go with the most aggravating solution. Deleting and redownloading the app on your TV is often more difficult because you have to sign back in.

Unless you go the QR code route, that means using the D-pad (directional pad) to meticulously go through each letter number and special character on the virtual keyboard.

But, you have to do what you have to do and sometimes this solution is the last resort. The good news is that it usually does the trick because it accomplishes what troubleshooting tip #4 does by wiping your info out on one device.

Simply delete the app from your TV, go to your TV’s app store, locate Netflix, and redownload it as you normally would. If you want, you can go the extra mile and do the same thing on your mobile device, whether that’s a tablet or a smartphone.

At the very least, make sure that when you delete the Netflix app from your TV you’ve also completely closed out the app on your mobile device. Once you redownload it on the TV, sign into that platform’s Netflix and log in from there.

Final Thoughts

These are six tried and true troubleshooting methods to get Netflix up and running on your TV when you know it’s running just fine on your phone or tablet. Sometimes, Netflix can be finicky and it doesn’t always do what you want it to do. That’s mostly because of Netflix attempting to clamp down on sharing accounts.