AAARGH! Apple TV is rubbish!

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by ss957916, Feb 14, 2010.

  1. ss957916 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 17, 2009
    This is a rant and also a plea for help.

    Tonight is Valentine's - I cooked a fabulous meal and then we settled down to a film... well, I say film. Actually it was me getting stressed and frustrated and my boyfriend falling asleep and going to bed.

    after a couple of months of perfect operation, ATV has yet again decided to stop working - FOR NO REASON! Tonight we were met with crashing iTunes, crashing Apple TV, (when 'working') the fim pausing and re-buffering every couple of minutes, being met with "The selected video cannot be played".

    What's the point in having all this tech if, when you want to use it, IT DOESN'T BLOODY WORK?!

    What can I do?! I have a MBP (2009), an airport extreme and all my videos on an external HDD connected via airport disk. EVERYTHING is Apple, NOTHING is hacked and, this time yesterday, it all worked fine - so the problem is to do with Apple. Can anyone help?

    I wish all this cash I hand over to Apple would go wrong and suddenly become worthless in the same way their products do.
  2. MacMini2009 macrumors 68000


    May 22, 2009
  3. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

    Jan 8, 2005
  4. ss957916 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 17, 2009
    But I have an Apple TV - I want to play videos that are on iTunes on my TV. Nothing more. I have the bit of kit that Apple deisgned for that purpose. I have the bit of kit that Apple designed to run iTunes. I have the bit of kit that Apple designed to talk to the MBP and the Apple TV. So why doesn't it work?

    And why would I spend 3-4x as much on a Mac Mini to do the same thing?
  5. diabolic macrumors 68000

    Jun 13, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    Were you streaming the movie or was it synced onto the AppleTV?

    If you were streaming, you might try syncing the content and watching it that way.
  6. ss957916 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 17, 2009
    Thank you for helping and I fully appreciate your point - I was streaming.

    What annoys me is:
    a) It has worked fine for a couple of months (even though I had massive issues before that) and
    b) The guy at the Apple Store in Kingston Upon Thames sold me the Apple TV, external HDD and Airport Extreme (I had an Express) for this very reason.

    I feel totally cheated.

    I could sync it but I bought it/was sold it on the understanding I could stream it. 90% of the time is works fine - it's that 10% that makes me want to go and smash-up the Apple Store and demand my money back!
  7. diabolic macrumors 68000

    Jun 13, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    Problems like that are annoying. 90% of the time it works, and 10% it doesn't.

    As a quick fix, just to watch the movie, you could try plugging in an ethernet cable, but I know you have to have a long enough cable laying around. :)

    Sorry I don't have anything better to offer you that would help.
  8. ss957916 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 17, 2009
    No - that's good. Didn't know I could do that. Ethernet from my MBP to the ATV?

    Syncing is no good though - can't decide on a romantic film and then wait 30mins (or whatever) for it to copy over the the ATV!
  9. jaw04005 macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    First of all, I’m going to assume this is not just a rant and you want help with your setup.

    The biggest problem I see with your setup is you’re transferring data twice if you’re streaming from an AirDisk to your MacBook Pro to the Apple TV.

    AirDisk to AirPort Extreme to MacBook Pro = Stream #1
    MacBook Pro to AirPort Extreme to Apple TV = Stream #2

    While it works for some people, I’ve found that it’s not the most reliable setup.

    "The selected video cannot be played” is caused by iTunes crashing, not the Apple TV. It took me months and many phone calls to AppleCare to figure this out.

    I would do the following:

    1. Take the USB hard drive off the AirPort Extreme. It wasn’t designed to host your iTunes library and iTunes is not designed to run off a network share.

    2. Change the AirPort Extreme’s channel selection to a permanent channel and take it off automatic. If it’s already on a permanent channel, change the channel.

    3. Consider rebuilding your iTunes library from scratch. My iTunes library was created when iTunes 2 was released and had been updated so many times to the latest version of iTunes, it became bogged down and corrupted.

    4. Unpair the Apple TV from iTunes. Restart your Mac. Then, re-setup the Apple TV within iTunes.

    5. If you ripped the content yourself, make sure the MPEG-4 tag information and metadata is not corrupted. If the file has corrupted tag information, Apple TV may play the file initially, but can get stuck when playing the file and all you’ll see is the buffering/spinning icon. Simply taking the file into QuickTime 7/X and re-saving the file out to MPEG-4 or .MOV will fix this problem.
  10. ss957916 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 17, 2009
    Jaw04005: I do want help, and thanks for trying to do so.

    My Extreme is already locked into two disctinct channels - "Extreme" and "Extreme 5GHz". Which piece of hardware should join which channel? No combination I've tried has offered any solution.

    Secondly, I hear what you're saying about streaming, but are you suggesting that, after several months, I go back to the Apple Store and demand my money back? I was sold this kit for the purpose of streaming. If it wasn't desinged to run off a Network Share then why has it done so - flawlessly - for the last couple of months?
  11. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    Streaming wirelessly is always asking for problems. I encounter plenty of my own. When my washing machine is on, the Apple TV struggles to stream video.

    I've now just given up streaming wirelessly and sync a specific movie or TV show that I know I will definitely be watching. That way there's no problems.

    Instead, I'm investing in making my Apple TV's hard drive 1TB.

    I really wish Apple would just upgrade the Apple TV and give us 1TB and 2TB storage options. 120GB is just pathetic..
  12. jaw04005 macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    It really shouldn’t matter. I’ve streamed content fine just on 802.11g. Just make sure both your Apple TV and MacBook Pro are connected to the same radio.

    Only you can do tests at your location. I would download a stumbler program and check out which channels your neighbors are using.

    Again, no one knows or can find out but you. Maybe a new neighbor moved in and is using the same channel as you? Maybe there’s something new in your home that’s now conflicting with your wireless network?

    We can only offer suggestions. From my experience, wirelessly streaming an iTunes library from an AirDisk is not reliable.

    In fact, no where on Apple’s product or support pages for the AirPort Extreme, Apple TV or iTunes will it mention storing your iTunes library on a network share or AirDisk.

    They’re just not designed to support it. To top it off, you’re adding the Apple TV to the equation to further complicate the matter. There’s a lot of overhead going on there, and unless you have an ideal setup (free of interference) it’s not going to work reliably.

    It’s 160GB, and it’s a little hard to offer a 1TB Apple TV when notebook drives are not even available in that capacity, yet. And when they do become available (in the next few weeks) the drives are $200 by themselves.

    A move from PATA to SATA would be a step in the right direction though.

    Can Apple enable connections external drives via USB? Sure. But it sort of goes against their “it just works” policy. The Apple TV is not aimed at geeks. It’s supposed to be a consumer device.

    Your average consumer is not going to plug an external drive into their Apple TV.
  13. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    3.5" hard drive and make it longer to accommodate.

    Would be good though if Apple enabled the USB port officially to support USB hard drives.
  14. zedsdead macrumors 68040

    Jun 20, 2007
    The only solution for the Apple TV is new hardware. It uses horribly low-end hardware that is over 3 years old (and it was pathetic even when it was introduced).

    I love the Apple TV, but it needs serious attention, not just software updates.
  15. SurfMacJpMtb macrumors member


    Nov 19, 2008
    For mission critical situations.....sync the movie(s) you want to watch. :)

    My wireless :apple:tv sometimes has a mind of its own.
  16. ARF900 macrumors 65816


    Oct 30, 2009
  17. maghemi macrumors 6502

    Aug 7, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    Not everyone wants to go down this path. I went from a Mac Mini setup to an Apple TV setup because it was much much simpler to deal with, and people who know nothing about technology stuff can just pick up the remote and use it.

    Not a solution to OP's issues either.
  18. VTMac macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2008

    Most likely you are encountering random wireless interference. You didn't say what type of building you live in, but I'd bet that one of your neighbors happened to use a device that degrades your wireless enough to cause the problems -- at exactly the wrong time. The typical culprits would be wireless phones, but there can be an unlimited number of other sources. This is after all unlicensed spectrum that is shared by whatever devices someone chooses to use.
  19. Padraic macrumors regular

    Aug 30, 2007
    Somewhere between here and there...
    I was in a similar situation, except that my iTunes library is connected to my iMac, not my AE. I have my iMac wirelessly connected to my AE and the :apple:TV is wired.

    It was taking 30+ minutes to stream a tv show (350mb) wirelessly. I checked the wireless channels that my neighbors were using and found one person using the same channel. I changed my channel to one that was not being used and haven't had a problem since, everything buffers almost instantaneously.

    Let us know how it works out.
  20. Football Dad macrumors newbie

    Jun 17, 2009
    Apple TV

    My Apple Tv is connect to my network via ethernet and so is my pc. Every once in awhile is slows down to a crawl when load a movie. No rhyme and no reason. When this happens I reboot and the problem goes away. I know i shouldn't have to this but I do. I think this is because the Apple TV cannot be shut off and is subject to spurious power supply issues.
  21. celica73 macrumors member

    Jan 12, 2009
    If that is really the case, then you have a major problem with your home network (thus the reason for the other issues). Maybe some local interference that screws up the wireless.

    When things are working well, I can sync a typical movie (about 1GB) to my Apple TV in 2-4 minutes.

    jaw4005 covered most of the basics. I had a similar setup as yours for quite some time, and it was usually stable. Some things that caused problems:

    1) The disk attached to the airport extreme can spin down (some will, some won't depends on the model of the drive), when it does spin down, iTunes can't find it. For some reason, iTunes isn't able to make the disk spin back up, I need to actually access the file system directly (open the "movies" folder via the Finder).

    2) In my case, the Airport Extreme firmware version 7.4 and up NEVER worked right with the AppleTV. It was horribly slow. reverting back to 7.3.x always solved my problems. I've changed my network setup since then, so I don't know if this is still an issue.

    When jaw4005 suggested changing the channel of the Airport Extreme, he meant a physical number 1, 2, 3, etc. Not just Extreme of Extreme 5GHz. Someone else mght be able to point you to the instructions, I don't have that info handy right now :(

    Sorry valentines day was ruined.
  22. racer1441 macrumors 68000

    Jul 3, 2009
  23. sabr macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2007
    new york city
    i agree with the OP... the appletv is rubbish.

    i think the hardware is terrible; my appletv died after a few years of use, and because the current hardware offering is so bad, i have no interest in replacing it.

    don't get me wrong, i enjoy the itunes bridge and its ease of use. its just very disappointing to see apple fail to upgrade its hardware to acceptable current levels.

    for now, i'm leaning toward the mac mini idea but i think i'll take my time and hope for something better in the next few months.
  24. Hammie macrumors 65816


    Mar 17, 2009
    Wash, DC Metro
    I've solved all issues with my Apple TV by getting a Mac Mini and using it as my iTunes "server." It just sits under my desk but the important thing is that hey are both connected to my Gig-E network in my house. A wired connection will ALWAYS be better for streaming and time sensitive data like music or movies.

    Currently, 500GB is big enough for my music and limited videos, but I'm sure I will need to add some sort of external storage in a year or so.
  25. Snoball macrumors newbie

    Nov 17, 2009
    I couldn't agree more. My Apple TV is complete junk. It's the only Apple product I own (and I own many) that I feel Apple never should have shipped. I've given up on using mine for anything more than slideshows of my photo's.

    It's just a horrid device. Shame on Apple for ever letting it hit the shelves.

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