View Full Version : Buffering issue with DVD's through iTunes and ATV2

Dec 19, 2011, 10:01 AM
I convert DVD's to MKV then to m4v using Handbreak
They are stored on a WD Ext HD using USB
My router is a Netgear N600 using wireless N to the ATV2
Distance from router to ATV is about 25 feet (getting full 5 bars)
My server is an old eMac G4 1.25 Ghz with 1GB ram and USB 1.1
The OS is 10.5.8 and iTunes 10.5.2
It is attached to the router via network cable.

Netflix works great for me no real problems.
I do have one annoying issue with DVDs that are on the server playing through iTunes. I will start up a movie and it takes anywhere from 12 to 30 seconds to start which I can live with but I get what appears to be a buffering pause after about 40 seconds from the start of the movie which lasts for about 10 to 15 seconds then playback is fine. it happens on pretty much every movie.

My first thought was to switch to cat 5 cable from router to ATV2 thinking it was a wireless issue, but that did not help.
I know my eMac is a little long in the tooth and may not be up to the task but except for this issue it has worked great. I am not totally convinced that it is a hardware issue but I am open to that. Is USB 1.1 on the eMac acting as a choke point that is causing this? Is it a setting in iTunes that has to do with buffering?

Dec 19, 2011, 11:48 AM
As you say you maybe running into the transfer limits of USB 1.1, try moving one of the video files from the external USB drive to the internal drive of the server machine then remove the file from iTunes and re-add it then see if it plays ok.

Dec 19, 2011, 12:10 PM
Thanks, that is a good idea that I overlooked.
I will give that a try. The eMac has a couple of Firewire 400 ports.
If I determine the USB 1.1 is the issue would it be worth looking into getting a Firewire drive? Would FW 400 be better than USB 1.1 in this application?

Dec 19, 2011, 12:20 PM
Yes Firewire 400 is much faster than USB 1.1.

USB 1.1 has two transfer rates Low-Bandwidth which is 1.5 Mbit/s and Full-Bandwidth which is 12 Mbit/s.

Firewire 400 has 3 transfer rates 98, 196, and 393 Mbit/s.

So even the lowest Firewire transfer rate is 8 times faster than the highest USB 1.1 transfer rate.

Dec 19, 2011, 01:09 PM
I convert DVD's to MKV then to m4v using Handbreak

WHy the extra step? Why not convert straight to m4v?

I think it could be a usb issue or the computer itself.

I use a mac mini 2.26 with 2gb of ram and have my library on a glyph 2TB HD connected to the mac mini via FW800. I have the Mac mini connected to router with cat 5 and the apple tv2 with cat 5 to the router. I have used the wireless with the atv2 without issues but since I could run the wire I just chose to do it that way.

I think your best test is to put the file on your server and then check. That will tell you if your usb is the choke point.

Good luck

Dec 28, 2011, 10:42 AM
I am pretty sure it is the USB 1.1 that is causing the issue. I borrowed an old Firewire 400 drive and moved some files over and had absolutely no issues.
Movies now take about 5 seconds to load and the buffering issues have disappeared. I was needing to purchase a new external drive anyway and was going to use the WD 1TB as a backup hard drive so now it looks like I will purchase one with Firewire to use as the main drive.

Dec 28, 2011, 11:18 AM
Glad to hear you got to the bottom of the problem.