Modern TVs aren't just dumb boxes that passively receive a signal. Most, like your mobile devices, contain system-on-a-chip computers under the hood with their own software and apps. The programs that run on those chips are referred to as a set's firmware, and they determine your TV's features. Major brands such as Vizio update their firmware regularly to give their sets new features or to provide security updates. If you aren't upgrading your firmware regularly, you're missing out.
First, Check Your Version Number
If you own a Vizio smart TV manufactured during the past few years, there's an excellent chance that it's self-updating, and you won't need to take any further steps. To check this, open your TV's menu and go to Settings and then System Information. Right below the TV's model name, you'll see the word "Version," followed by a number. Write it down.
Now, go to Vizio's support site and type in your model number followed by the words "firmware update." It should look something like this, without the quotes: "E43-D2 firmware update." The first search result should show you the latest Vizio firmware version for your specific TV. If it's the same firmware version number you found in your TV's Settings menu, updates are already happening as they should. If not, you need to do it yourself.
Automatic Vizio Software Updates
In most cases, all you need to do to have your Vizio firmware update automatically is connect your TV to your home network. Most models have both a wired Ethernet connection so your TV can connect directly to the router with a cable and either wireless-n or wireless-ac for connecting to your Wi-Fi network.
Using a cable is easy: Plug it in, and you're done. The TV does the rest. To connect to a wireless network, bring up the TV menu and go to Network. Choose your wireless network from the on-screen options and press the OK button. Use the on-screen keyboard to type in your network password, highlight Connect, and press the OK button again. When your TV connects, exit the menu.
Updates don't happen while the TV is turned on, but they download and install while it's off. This can happen any time, whether overnight while you're asleep or during the day while you're at work. If you turn on the TV while it's installing updates, that's fine. It'll just put them on hold until the next time you turn the TV off.
Manual Vizio Firmware Update
If you don't want to wait for the update to take place — whether for security reasons or because you're impatient to try out a new feature — you can run it manually. Go back to the Settings menu on your TV and System Information, but this time choose Check for Updates. After you select Yes to confirm, the set either tells you that you're up to date or begins downloading the most recent version. An on-screen message shows both your current version number and the one that's downloading.
After the update downloads, an installation screen shows the update's progress. When it's finished, the TV restarts to complete the update. At that point, any security patches are fully active, and any new features are ready to use.