Should i hard wire Apple tv?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by blazerdude20, Nov 24, 2011.

  1. macrumors member

    Jul 19, 2008
    I'm planning on getting an :apple:tv within the next month. I will be putting it downstairs in the living room while the computer it will be streaming from will be upstairs.

    My home network uses a Belkin pre-n router. Will this be okay for streaming video or should i run cat-6 cable? The computer itself already uses Ethernet for its connection.

  2. macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    Gear Not Withstanding

    I don't really like Belkin stuff. but forget that fr a minute. My setup IS hardwired and goes like this:

    ATV to gigabit router (also provides HS BB via a fibre optic modem)

    Optical out on the ATV goes into a 7.1 DTS system

    HDMI from ATV to 42" TV (also connected to the router)

    iMac hard wired to router

    MBA MBP ipad Iphone, stream wirelessly

    Works really well. I would hard wire your ATV if you can, but many here use them wirelessly with good results too.
  3. macrumors regular

    Sep 30, 2011
    Martinsburg, WV
    hardwire is nice but wifi is ok too. the apple tv will tell you the signal strength.
    anything below 50 and you might want to relocate the router or hardwire
  4. macrumors 68030

    Sep 21, 2011
    It depends on the quality of the signal that your ATV2 receives. Try it wireless first, then hardwire it if you have to.
  5. macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2010
    Agree with the above, but there's no need for Cat 6 -- Cat5e is fine. I have a good Wi-Fi signal but I still find that wired makes for much quicker iTunes and better quality Netflix.
  6. macrumors member

    Nov 6, 2010

    Streaming video from our iMac to the :apple:TV is too much for our wireless network.

    I hard wired the computer since it is closer to the router. :apple:TV is still on wireless.

    As others have said, Cat 6 is overkill. 5e is fine.
  7. macrumors 6502

    Sep 16, 2011
    I think that's entirely dependent upon a couple variables;

    * How hard is it to put in a wire?
    * How pretty do you want the wiring job to be?
    * How far away from the TV is your router, how good is the signal strength?

    Hard wired is ALWAYS better in terms of reliability. But it's not always practical to run it, especially in residential. A single run can take hours to do properly. So if it's not practical to do it then many times it's worth spending $100-200 on new wireless equipment and going that route.
  8. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Sep 8, 2010
    Detroit, Michigan
    I always recommend using Ethernet over WiFi if possible. Ethernet is far more stable and faster than WiFi will ever be.

    I have everything but iPhone hardwired in my home.
  9. macrumors 603


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    I could never get Wifi to work reliably with my ATV (tried both a Belkin N router and another G router), so I'd recommend Ethernet if it's not too awkward.
  10. macrumors 601


    Jul 24, 2008
    Pacific Northwest, US
    I'm sure there are many folks that have good experiences with Belkin, but I also had one of their pre-N routers and it was problematic. In fact, I bought nothing but Belkin for years and I always thought their next one would solve my problems and it didn't. I bought a Time Capsule and haven't had a problem since.

    But to get back on topic, I recommend wired to eliminate any possible wifi issues. It "should" work and you could try wireless. But as you probably know wifi is dependent on many variables including router location, home construction materials, interference from devices and appliances, etc.

    My biggest fear was being in the middle of a movie and and then someone hits the microwave, or a neighbor turns on a baby monitor / changes the channel of their own wireless router, etc.

    Good luck either way!
  11. macrumors 65816


    Jan 31, 2010
    Midlife, Midwest
    Whjile Ethernet cabling offers the fastest connections, it simply isn't practical for many of us. Those that live in older homes, or apartments or other dwellings where we don't have carte blanche to go drilling holes or fishing wires. For us, wi-fi has been an absolute godsend.

    I've been running a wi-fi connection to my AppleTV for a year now, with excellent results. One change I made recently, that I wish I'd done a lot earlier, was upgrade to a 300M class wireless N router, replacing an old Linksys WRT-G unit.

    Its always difficult to rationalize replacing a piece of hardware that is working fine, but in the case of the Router, it was the right thing to do. I tested transfer speeds, moving a 500 mb test file between my iMac and a Western Digital NAS device: Transfer times went from 4.2 minutes up/ 2.5 minutes down to just over a minute in either direction with the Wireless N. A 400% increase in upload speed. Signal/Noise ratio and strength have also improved dramatically. (My wi-fi only iPad now gets notifications while my car is still in my driveway...)

    I never had "problems" with the Wireless G router. But I did notice the occasional lag or stutter. Sometimes album art display took a while to catch up. Such issues have disappeared with the Wireless N router.

    So, Yes: If you can go the Ethernet route, by all means do so. But if not, you can get excellent results with a wi-fi setup. But be sure to go with a decent Wireless N router.
  12. macrumors 68000


    Oct 30, 2006
    Up, up in my studio, studio
    Ethernet is fine, but believe it or not, Gigabit Ethernet may actually be overkill for the :apple:tv 2. Why? Take a look at its specs: 10/100 Megabit Ethernet.

    For those with pre-N routers or spotty Wi-Fi coverage, hardwiring via Ethernet can improve :apple:tv 2 performance, but only up to a point. If you have several other Gigabit Ethernet devices in your network that must talk to each other at Gigabit speeds, you may want to join those together using a Gigabit switch, and keep them separated from the router/switch connecting your :apple:tv. Otherwise, that switch may auto-negotiate your Gigabit devices down to 10/100.

    However, if all you have is a single good WiFi N router in your house that's relatively close to the :apple:tv, you can get better speeds over WiFi N than over Ethernet.
  13. macrumors newbie

    Jan 9, 2010
    B/G network good for me, N not so good

    I have both a Apple TV G1 and Apple TV G2. I found that the 2nd Gen can easily handle streaming HD movies at 720 with no issues. The first gen just can't hold up to the processing requirements and even with synching has playback issues. I tried using the N network on the Apple TV2, but its signal was very weak and I think the antenna is pretty lame. So, I was concerned switching to the b/g network, but it works perfect and even has enough horse power to cache and stream. The b/g is a solid 54 mb/sec and is perfectly fine based upon how I placed the wireless Apple Airport Extreme.
  14. macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2007
    My aTV2 works fine over my g network, but I did have to move it from next to my cable box to on top of my TV stand. In the old position, it was stalling with Netflix, but the iTunes streaming worked fine; it seems to buffer more from iTunes.
  15. macrumors 65816


    Jan 31, 2010
    Midlife, Midwest
    Fine-tuning your wi-fi network solidly qualifies as a geek activity. But it can sometimes yield surprisingly good results.

    As you seem to have discovered, a Wireless N router is not always going to outperform a good B or G one, The quality of the antenna, as well as placement within the structure all play a part. I've discovered that some low-end routers marketed a "N" capable, aren't really.

    Probably one of the most under-utilized features is the ability to switch channels. Its always worth using network tools to see what OTHER networks are in your area. And if a neighbor is broadcasting a strong wireless N on the same channel you were trying to use, it make cause enough interference that it impacts YOUR network performance. Simply changing wifi channels to one not being used by your neighbors can sometimes bring about a measurable performance improvement.

    Its also worth keeping in mind that Wifi Routers aren't the ONLY devices operating on the 5gHz band. Cordless phones, radars, perimeter sensors (security systems), and other devices also operate in this frequency. And because they operate somewhat intermittently, it can sometimes be hard to identify sources as interference. A cordless phone isn't going to show up in the list of available networks, but it can definitely contribute to the amount of "noise" thats causing your network performance to suffer.

    Diagnosing wifi performance requires a basic understanding of Signal/Noise ratios. In general you want the spread between signal and voice to be as great as possible. But since we're working with negative numbers, it can be a little confusing: A signal of -50db is better than of -55db; and a noise figure of -100 is preferable to one of -90db.

    Hope that helps.
  16. macrumors newbie

    Jan 9, 2010
    Fine-tuning fails for me - ATV2 vs ATV1 N network

    The ATV2 can definately keep up with stream, compared to the ATV1, but my complaint is I was getting 270 mbit/s on my ATV1 and now only get 65 mbit/s on the ATV2 on the same network channel and exact same location. That is the best signal I could get after trying every channel on N band.

    It shows that ATV2 antenna / chipset for N network is much worse that the original ATV1. I would stream the ATV1 but the hard drive/CPU cant really handle HD 720p stream all that well.

    I am just disappointed of why even getting a N network (using the latest Airport Extreme 5th Gen), if all the Apple products dont really support the N capabilities all that well. I guess I should not expect wonders for a $99.00 device. Since my noise to signal ratio is high and I am getting a solid 65 mbit/s, that should be enough for any video encryption at 720p or lower.

    B/G seems to work like a champ. If ATV3 supports 1080i/p they will definately need a better network chip set/antenna.

  17. macrumors 603


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    Thanks for the interesting info. On the cordless phones - when I had my TV/phone/broadband package installed, the installer claimed the cordless phone should be kept away from the TV, and so positioned it next to the Wifi router. This would seem to conflict with what you've said above, it seems that's the worst possible location for the cordless phone base!

    I've been really frustrated with the unreliability of the ATV networking. Tried with a Belkin N router; very unreliable. Tried using the cable provider's G router, a little better. Switched channel (all my neighbours using the same provider, and thus the same channel!) improved a bit. Finally switched to Ethernet, and thought it was perfect!

    ...until I installed iOS 5 and now my ATV frequently doesn't connect to the Ethernet network on wake, I have to reset the device! I can't remember the last time I had a problem with any other wired device not connecting to a (correctly configured) Ethernet network.
  18. macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2011
    Ya, like everyone else said, go wired if you possibly can. Cat 5e is plenty and should be cheap enough. If you have to buy a premade cable, I hope you are shopping since they have excellent prices.
  19. macrumors 6502


    Sep 20, 2008
  20. macrumors 6502

    Jul 14, 2011
    Both will stream video fine, but I find that wired connections tend to be more reliable and less prone to drops.
  21. macrumors regular

    Dec 13, 2010
    CT, USA
    Cable is cheap at Home Depot, you can pick up 100ft of cat 6 for $20 or a 1,000ft box for $120 if you are planing on doing a few runs. Monoprice is the place to go for the jacks, wall plates, patch panels, and patch cables.
  22. macrumors 6502

    Jun 13, 2009
    The other option is to use HomePlugs, like Devolo. Run at about 200mbit & I've always found them to be very reliable (far more so than wifi)

    Just my 0.02c
  23. macrumors member

    Jul 18, 2011
    Maybe I should start a new topic but I'll try here first...

    Whether or not to hardwire is not my problem as it was done for me when they were upgrading my alarm system so I could use Total Connect (TC). I had some streaming delays so I figured "why not"...

    However, since wiring I can no longer "see" my iMac from the ATV2. When it was still wireless (first month or so) I had no problems and could view my Mac from the comfort of the couch; no longer... Funny thing is that the screen saver (picture from iPhoto) still works.

    Can anyone tell me why this changed? Apple as always impressed me with it's ability to self-configure; why not now? I've tried going into to setup/setting and adding the "address" (not sure the term) but no deal...

    Can anyone help me out?

  24. macrumors regular

    Dec 13, 2010
    CT, USA
    Can you get to the internet services on the Apple TV? If not check to make sure the wire is terminated properly (and the same) on both ends.
  25. macrumors 6502a

    Feb 16, 2008
    I have one wired and one wireless in my house. Though I was expecting the wired to be more reliable, I have not noticed ANY decreased reliability on the wireless ATV compared to the wired one so far. (They are approximately the same distance from the router, though the wireless one is on the other side of a wall.)

    Also note that on average 802.11n gives you speeds ~130 Mbps. While the ATV's ethernet port maxes out at 100 Mbps.

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