Why Vizio WatchFree+ is not working on your TV

WatchFree+ has hundreds of channels that air local and live programming, all for FREE.

In an era where you have to pay even for local channels, especially after the closure of Locast, WatchFree+ comes in as a big deal. However, many users have complained about WatchFree+ not working in recent times.

While investigating the issue, we figured out that sometimes the app takes longer to load content, or it just shows a black screen. So, why is Vizio WatchFree+ not working, and how can you troubleshoot it?

WatchFree+ is not working mainly because you haven’t updated your Vizio TV OS version. Prior to launching WatchFree+, the service used to go by the name WatchFree. Therefore, if you don’t see a + on your version of the app, ensure to update your Vizio OS.

Another reason is that the service is not yet available in your location. Other reasons why the service is not working include the following:

  • Vizio has a firmware issue affecting WatchFree+.
  • Your internet connection is unstable.
  • Your Vizio TV software is out-of-date.
  • Vizio has a system-wide outage, which will also affect WatchFree+.

How to troubleshoot WatchFree+ on Vizio TV

If WatchFree+ is not working on Vizio TV, troubleshoot the issues as follows:

1. Check your internet connection

Wi-Fi connection
Image: Praveen

Your internet could be the reason WatchFree+ takes longer to load. Troubleshoot this issue as follows:

  • Conduct a speed test and ensure a download speed of at least 1Mbps. You can use a site like Fast.com to determine your current internet speeds.
  • Connect to the internet using Ethernet instead of Wi-Fi and vice versa.
  • Increase the signal strength by removing obstacles between your TV and network devices. Alternatively, ensure your network devices, including wireless mobile hotspots, are closer to your Vizio TV.
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You can also power cycle your network devices (router and modem) or update their software.

Routers have a lifespan. In most cases, your router has to be replaced after 3-5 years, failure to which it might become slow and unstable. If you have had a router for a long time, consider switching to a newer router that is designed for streaming content in HD.

Some users have employed different tricks to fix issues with WatchFree+. Follow these steps:

  1. Reset your TV to factory defaults (see step 4 below).
  2. Skip TV channel and Wi-Fi setup.
  3. Go to Menu > Network and accept the agreements but do not connect to the internet.
  4. Go to the SmartCast home screen. You will see a no internet connected message.
  5. Plug in the Ethernet cord and wait. Everything should show up at this point.

Since you did a factory reset, all apps will update. However, do not update Vizio WatchFree+ or any other app.

Then:

  • Disconnect the Ethernet cable. All updates will fail.
  • Go back to the SmartCast screen.
  • Connect to the internet using Wi-Fi or Ethernet.

You can now access WatchFree+ to enjoy unlimited viewing.

2. Check your location

Location on world map
Image: Harryarts

WatchFree+ is only available in the USA. According to Vizio, you cannot access its content in any other country, including Canada.

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If you are in the US but connected to a VPN or proxy server that has switched your location to another country, make sure to turn it off.  Simply disconnect the VPN or proxy server and try again.

Alternatively, enable VPN or proxy and choose a USA server.

3. Power cycle your Vizio SmartCast TV

A power cycle can help clear many issues with your Vizio SmartCast, including a memory leak preventing WatchFree+ from working. Do the following:

  • Unplug the cord from the power outlet.
  • Hold the power button on the side of the TV for 3-5 seconds.
  • Plug the power cord back in.
  • Power on the TV.
Alternatively, use your remote and go to Menu > System > Reset & Admin > Soft Power Cycle.

Then, go to WatchFree+ and see if it works.

4. Factory reset your Vizio SmartCast TV

Resetting your Vizio SmartCast TV is the last step you should consider if everything fails. This is because it will delete all your data, including device settings.

Follow these steps to factory reset your Vizio TV:

  • Press and hold the input and volume-down buttons on the side of the TV.
  • Wait for about 10-15 seconds. A banner will pop up.
  • Press and hold the input button to reset the TV to factory defaults.

After the reset, restart your TV and start the setup. Then, go to WatchFree+ to see if you have fixed the issue.

Check out our full guide on resetting Vizio TV for different methods and what to expect after a reset.

What happened to WatchFree?

Vizio WatchFree+

Vizio revamped WatchFree to include ad-supported video on demand. Users can now get more free content to enjoy unlimited viewing without subscriptions, logins, or devices on WatchFree+.

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The new platform has more than 4,000 free movies, TV shows, and Vizio exclusives for people with SmartCast. Its content comes from studios and offers over 5,000 hours of on-demand programming.

How to access WatchFree+ on Vizio TV

You can access WatchFree+ on Vizio TV in three simple steps:

  • Power on your Vizio TV.
  • Using your remote, navigate to the Vizio TV Home screen.
  • Select WatchFree+.
  • Enjoy Live and On-Demand TV.

You will access over 5,000 movies and TV shows on demand. All you have to do is pick what you want to watch.

Understand that you do not have to install an app or channel to use WatchFree+ since the service is available on every VIZIO SmartCast TV by default.

Enjoy WatchFree+

If WatchFree+ is not working on Vizio TV, the first thing you should try is to check your internet connection. Next, ensure you have a download speed of at least 1Mbps.

You can also troubleshoot WatchFree+ by power cycling your device or router. Lastly, remember that Vizio TV is only available in the USA.

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