How to Reset an RCA TV

RCA has a strong case for being the most influential and iconic of all television brands. It demonstrated its first TV at the 1939 World's Fair and helped set the standard for color televisions just 15 years later. Sadly, despite its storied history, the company isn't a market or technology leader anymore. The RCA televisions you find in stores today are made by a Canadian company, Curtis International, and compete in the low-priced value TV segment. Like any other modern electronic device, they misbehave occasionally, but a reset usually clears up the problem.

RCA has a strong case for being the most influential and iconic of all television brands.
Image Credit: Maskot/Maskot/GettyImages

Tracking Down RCA TV Manuals

If you've misplaced the manual that came with your TV, you might find it difficult to track one down online thanks to changes in the U.S. rights to the iconic brand. While France-based Technicolor SA owns it, the U.S. rights are licensed to Curtis. Theoretically, you should be able to find manuals on the RCA website, but in practice, that's not always possible.

You might succeed in finding your model on one of the internet's many third-party manual sites, either free or for a modest fee. A better option is to try the manufacturer's site, where you can find manuals for TVs sold under its Curtis, Proscan, RCA and Sylvania brand names.

Try your RCA model number first, but if that doesn't work, choose Televisions from the pull-down menu on the Curtis support page and then the appropriate category for your set. Scroll down the list until you find one that looks like your TV and then click through to the manual to see if its remote and menu settings match yours. If so, it's the same TV inside, even if the brand name and model number are different.

Power Cycle Your TV

RCA TV troubleshooting follows a process that's similar to most other electronics. You can spend time researching your specific problem on the internet, but often the first and simplest step is to reboot the TV. Ordinarily, you do that by unplugging your set from the wall.

Wait a few minutes and then plug the TV back in. Many minor glitches are caused by one part of the TV's software clashing with another part, and doing this simple reset or power cycle clears its memory and gives you a clean slate.

RCA Factory Reset

For stubborn problems, you may need to do a complete factory reset. This brings you back to square one, which fixes most issues but has the unfortunate side effect of wiping out all your preferences and saved settings.

From your remote, press Menu and then scroll down to the less-than-informative Option. In that sub-menu are a number of settings, ranging from basic settings like your on-screen language and closed captioning to updating your TV's internal software. In the middle of that menu is an option labeled Reset. Select this with your remote to do the full reset.

Depending on your model, it may take a few minutes for the set to reboot. When it does, you are walked through the first-time setup as if the TV was newly purchased.

Resetting a Roku TV

Many current models of RCA TV get their "smarts" from internal software – "firmware" is the industry term – provided by Roku rather than the actual manufacturer. It's good for manufacturers because someone else pays to support and update the software. It's also good for customers because Roku TVs work the same way regardless of the brand name on the front of the set.

Roku provides a couple of reset options for your TV. Go to Settings, then to System, Advanced System Settings and finally Factory reset. You are given the option of resetting only your audio/video settings or a full factory reset. Choosing to reset just the A/V settings clears up many problems, and it means you have fewer settings to restore when you're done.

Choosing to factory reset everything means all your personal settings will be gone when the set reboots, and you'll need to walk through the first-time setup again to configure everything the way you want it.

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