Airplay iPhone 4S Ethernet ATV = Terrible Performance

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by ericinboston, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. ericinboston, Mar 18, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2013

    macrumors 68000

    Jan 13, 2008
    Hi all. I have googled this problem and found tons of similar threads but no real answers...or the answers are so obvious to somewhat-technical people but not the layman. I consider myself very technical but am a bit stumped with the problem that I will detail below.

    I have 2 3rd gen ATVs...both are using ethernet on CAT6 cabling in my house...using a Netgear WNDR3700 wireless router with gigabit ethernet jacks.

    If I stream movies from iTunes 10.x on my WinXP box, they play beautifully on the ATVs. If, however, I attempt to use Airplay on my iPhone 4S to play a 30 second (or any length) video that was recorded on the iPhone 4S, the ATVs just sit there and buffer for 5+ minutes and eventually I just give up. Even if I just try to flip through some pictures on Airplay, there is a 5-30second lag! I have even tried a friend's iPhone 5 and the same performance problem exists for pictures and video using Airplay.

    I have powered off my iPhone, restarted the router, and restarted the change. I have confirmed that the 2 ethernet jacks have blazing speed by using laptops on those jacks to transfer laptops are telling me I have a gigabit connection and the file transfers are approaching 1 gigabit limit.

    Before this weekend, I was using an old Netgear wireless N router (and the same ATV problems existed then) and finally decided to spend the $$ and buy a new router to see if it would help. In theory the new router should be a lot faster and I thought would have solved this problem...the new router is 1)gigabit ethernet instead of 100mbit and 2)the WIFI in N and dual channel while the old router was limited to G. The WIFI is living up to it's N advertisement as I have tested my laptops transferring files back and forth over WIFI N and the performance is I know it's not the router or WIFI interference. Each ATV is only about 25 feet away from the router.

    So what's the problem? Remember that the ATVs are on gigabit ethernet so I know they have access to blazing speeds. Does Airplay just stink when using iPhones to push video clips to ATVs? Or is there something else? Unfortunately there is no performance/network tests on the iPhone or ATV...that would be instrumental in helping me understand what the devices are actually capable of. 1 of the ATVs was just updated to the most recent software last week (I don't have the version #) while the other ATV is on the software that it shipped with in January 2013.

    1)We can rule out the network as it performs just fine both on gigabit ethernet and WIFI N...and the ATVs stream very well from iTunes 10.x on Windows XP
    2)This problem exists on 2 ATVs
    3)This problem exists on and iPhone 4S and 5
    4)It doesn't seem to be ATV software specific as the ATVs are on different versions.

    If you are using the ATV and an iPhone 4S and/or 5 and have great performance with airplay and videos off the iphones, I would appreciate hearing specifics on your use case and hardware...router make/model, ATV version and software, ethernet vs. wifi, etc. Thanks in advance!

    EDIT: I also tried putting my iPhone 4S in the same room as my router and the performance was still the router isn't too far away and/or poor wifi signal.

    EDIT 2: Sorry! I meant that I have an ATV 3 All this talk recently about the ATV getting a different chip threw me off.
  2. macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    What router did you buy? Many do not play nicely with Apple's Airplay and Bonjour. Without compatibility, your experience will be less than stellar.

    Me personally, I use Airport Extreme Base Stations and have never had a problem. We airplay mirror from our iPad's and iPhones all the time and I constantly Airplay audio from pandora from my iPad for playback on our stereo. It's all flawless in our house. Our iPhones and iPads are wireless (obviously) and the ATV's are connected via ethernet (iPads are iPad 2's and the iPhones have been both 4S's and now 5's). We've never had a problem.
  3. thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jan 13, 2008
    Thanks for the I mentioned in the beginning (I know I wrote a lot :) ) Netgear WNDR3700.

    I am going to try my old Netgear WGR614 later today to triple check.

    Any links or documents I can read that state which non-Apple routers play more nicely? I also read awhile ago that Apple may be enabling the iOS devices to talk directly to each other rather than going through the home network/router...that would be quite sweet as it would take out a lot of finger pointing and also alleviate network traffic.
  4. macrumors newbie


    Oct 26, 2005
    Airplay iPhone 4S and 5

    I have similar issues.
    When I try to stream a video shot on my iPhone 4S to the ATV, it takes a long time before it starts. The longer the video, the longer it takes to start.
    Yet when I stream music or even YouTube from my iPhone, it's much quicker.
    I am wondering if there is some sort of transcoding or rendering going on in the iPhone before it starts to stream. The lag may just be the phone converting the video to a format better suited to Airplay streaming.
  5. macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2008
    Kingston, ON
    I had a similar problem with my parent's ATV. They could not airplay with either an ATV2, or after I upgraded them, ATV3. Both were ethernet connected, but the router was two floors up and on the other side of the house, so I tried airplaying with the iPhone near the router, and it worked.

    Food for thought...
  6. macrumors 68030


    Sep 8, 2011
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    I have two ATV2's and iPhone 4S and iPhone 5, use AirPlay quite a bit from the phones and have not encountered this problem. All these devices are connected via WiFi to AirPort Extreme current model. All devices on latest firmware. I AirPlay videos from the phones from services like YouTube a fair bit, as well as video taken with the phones' cameras.

    I actually just unplugged my ATV2's yesterday & shipped them out, trading them for ATV3's, so can't test anything specific at the moment - but thus far I've not encountered problems.
  7. macrumors newbie

    Oct 18, 2010
    Wifi > Ethernet on Apple TV. (In my opinion)

    Apple TV's (2 and 3) only have 100 mbps ethernet. This has been an issue for me, sometimes, when trying to stream HD video using 4th gen. AirPort Extreme or current gen. AirPort Express from iPhone 4S, iPad 3, or iMac.

    When I connect all devices via Wifi, the issue goes away.


    In layman's terms, even though your router has gigabit ethernet ports, the ATV does not.

    Therefore, you are stuck transferring at 100 mbps max speeds on ethernet. I'm not sure the Apple TV has true wireless n, but in my experience, I have gotten much better result with all devices on wifi. (aka, when i push play on the video, it starts virtually instantly).
  8. macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    Actually the Appletv connects to wifi at 54mbps based on reviews at websites like Anandtech. If you factor in that half your wifi bandwidth is lost to encryption and packet loss, then the 100mbps Ethernet should work out to almost 4x faster than the wifi in the Appletv.

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