Apple TV 4K Interfering With Phillips Hue Hub

spiderman0616

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Aug 1, 2010
3,521
3,761
I know this is a very, very long shot, but I’m hoping someone can help me out with this. It is one of the weirdest networking issues I’ve ever had and I can’t figure out why it would be happening.

So—I have two regular Apple TVs and one 4K Apple TV. I also have a Phillips Hue system consisting of one hub, 44 bulbs total, and one wall switch. My network is a 3 node triband Linksys Velop mesh network. Sometime in the last week I noticed at certain times of the day my Home app would show a good deal of the lights being offline or unreachable. This is SUPER frustrating because it keeps scenes and Siri commands for the lights from working correctly, and we have almost every room in the house other than bathrooms and the guest room set up with Hue lights.

I started working my way backwards and the first issue I figured out was that it was not Home screwing everything up—the root of the problem was that the Hue system wasn’t finding the lightbulbs, so it was reporting them as unreachable. They still worked and would turn on and off, but reported as offline anyway. This meant that the Home app, which talks to the Hue system, reported the same.

I tried changing the Zigbee channel for the Hue hub, I tried rebooting the Velop nodes, the cable modem, and the Hue hub, etc. I rebooted or reset everything I could think of, and nothing worked.

Today I figured it out though. Any time someone is using the 4K model Apple TV, that’s when all the lightbulbs start taking turns going unresponsive. I checked a bunch of settings for both the Hue hub and the Apple TV and I can’t figure out what would be causing the conflict. There are no IP address conflicts or anything else that I can find.

I’m glad I figured out what triggers the problems, but I’m still puzzled as to why it’s happening. Anyone seen something like this before?
 

jtara

macrumors 68000
Mar 23, 2009
1,913
495
Hue uses Zigbee to communicate with the lights. It is not WiFi. But it is in the 2.4 ghz region. (Some newer Hue devices also support Bluetooth)

how is you Apple TV 4K connected? If at all possible use a wired connection (in any case!)

is the Hue controller near the 4K?

i wouldn’t think the 4K would be connecting on 2.4 and interfering but it is possible.

Not a fan of mesh WiFi setups. Much better to backhaul with CAT6 if practical. Mesh wiFi should be your last desperate choice.

zigbee is of course a mesh but you have no choice here. Make sure at least one of the controlled devices is close to one of your access points, and preferably one that is wired. If there is a large distance between you Zigbee devices, additional devices will improve the mesh. Zigbee at least is a low bandwidth protocol designed to work in an adverse environment.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Donfor39

nickdalzell1

macrumors 6502a
Dec 8, 2019
557
217
Mine shows 'unreachable' in Home but Siri and tapping the icon for the 'unreachable' light works anyway. It is random. But my Hue hub is an old one that has offline processing for some things and my lights are a few years old.

Same bug with Smartthings too. The hub is 'offline' in the app but the little green light is on on the hub indicating it's fine, and controls/voice commands work in app or Alexa.

My ATV4K is in the living room while the hubs are in the 'internet center' at the other end of the house.
 

spiderman0616

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Aug 1, 2010
3,521
3,761
Hue uses Zigbee to communicate with the lights. It is not WiFi. But it is in the 2.4 ghz region. (Some newer Hue devices also support Bluetooth)

how is you Apple TV 4K connected? If at all possible use a wired connection (in any case!)

is the Hue controller near the 4K?

i wouldn’t think the 4K would be connecting on 2.4 and interfering but it is possible.

Not a fan of mesh WiFi setups. Much better to backhaul with CAT6 if practical. Mesh wiFi should be your last desperate choice.

zigbee is of course a mesh but you have no choice here. Make sure at least one of the controlled devices is close to one of your access points, and preferably one that is wired. If there is a large distance between you Zigbee devices, additional devices will improve the mesh. Zigbee at least is a low bandwidth protocol designed to work in an adverse environment.
The Velop system I have set up has been VERY reliable. I’ve had it for about a year with no issues other than having to let it re-optimize channels once a few months ago—I think someone set up a new network nearby that was making it less efficient and was making the upstairs node occasionally go offline. A quick re-scan for optimal channels fixed it immediately and I haven’t had an issue since.

I really don’t think it’s a network problem. My network covers 6000 sq ft total, which is WAY more coverage than I need for my house. Anywhere I go in any corner of my house and run a speed test gets 180 Mbps down and 12 Mbps up, which is the max speed my Comcast plan allows, so it’s definitely not a signal strength or reliability issue. The only time I ever have trouble with download speeds is when Comcast is having issues in general.

As far as what’s connected to the nodes, the Hue hub (the box that sits between the network and all the lightbulbs) is required to be hooked up to a router, so that’s on an ethernet connection to a node right in the center of the whole house. There are 44 lightbulbs on my network and they blanket the entire house, so none of them are far from the next one over. I even have 9 of them in my basement, so the Hue network runs all underneath the floor too.

It’s really just this one specific situation that seems to cross things up. It doesn’t even seem to happen with the Apple TV being on in general—only while streaming video. I really think there is a network setting somewhere that I‘m not catching that is causing this.
- - Post merged: - -

Mine shows 'unreachable' in Home but Siri and tapping the icon for the 'unreachable' light works anyway. It is random. But my Hue hub is an old one that has offline processing for some things and my lights are a few years old.

Same bug with Smartthings too. The hub is 'offline' in the app but the little green light is on on the hub indicating it's fine, and controls/voice commands work in app or Alexa.

My ATV4K is in the living room while the hubs are in the 'internet center' at the other end of the house.
Yeah, when any of my lightbulbs show as not responding in the Home app, they show as “Unreachable” in the Hue app, but can still be operated from the Hue app and usually will still work with Siri too. It’s when automations or Scenes are used when things go haywire. Like one lightbulb in a grouping won’t go on, or it won’t go on 100% and the rest will. Goofy stuff like that.
 

QuietGamer

macrumors member
Nov 23, 2014
73
20
US
Q. Is your hub the 2nd Gen hub?

Max controllable lights AIR is 44 (2nd Gen) lights per hub so it may be maxed out and finicky.

Do these issues correlate with a software update?

Just sharing some thoughts.
 
Last edited:

spiderman0616

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Aug 1, 2010
3,521
3,761
Q. Is your hub the 2nd Gen hub?

Max controllable lights AIR is 44 (2nd Gen) lights per hub so it may be maxed out and finicky.

Do these issues correlate with a software update?

Just sharing some thoughts.
It’s the first gen—it lists as maxing out at 50, so I’m slightly under the limit. There were Hue app AND Velop updates in the last week or so, so I’m thinking one of those did something. Now I just have to figure out why this specific conflict is happening with this specific Apple TV. It’s so weird.
 
  • Like
Reactions: QuietGamer

Rigby

macrumors 601
Aug 5, 2008
4,921
3,877
San Jose, CA
The Velop system I have set up has been VERY reliable. I’ve had it for about a year with no issues other than having to let it re-optimize channels once a few months ago—I think someone set up a new network nearby that was making it less efficient and was making the upstairs node occasionally go offline. A quick re-scan for optimal channels fixed it immediately and I haven’t had an issue since.
Mesh networks may be reliable, but they use twice the radio bandwidth per hop than a backhauled network for the same amount of traffic, so it's very well possible that there isn't much spectrum left in the ISM band for other users such as Zigbee.

Can you perhaps move the Apple TV that causes the problem to the 5GHz band?
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,442
1,801
Are your network bands isolated? Interference could be the issue. Like mentioned moving everything you can off 2.4ghz you can is a start.

Can you set the 2.4ghz channel width with your router? A narrow channel width is less prone to interference (20 mhz). A wider channel width isn't really necessary anyway for smart things.

If the AppleTV 4k effects the Hue then the opposite might be true as well. Download the speedtest.net app on your AppleTV run it and then disconnect the hub and run it again see if the results vary. Consider if your router weights the network demands too btw (QoS feature).

Is there an area of the house you don't use very often? It would be interesting to start disconnecting (unscrewing) a couple bulbs to see if the problem goes away.

Is your mesh network setup logically? You don't want static objects or places you spend a lot of time to be dead center of two nodes nor do you need data to jump between 3 nodes to go 20 feet. Does the router support multi transport connectivity if so is it being used for Zigbee and if that is true does it really need to be?
 

HDFan

macrumors 68000
Jun 30, 2007
1,902
451
Sometime in the last week I noticed at certain times of the day my Home app would show a good deal of the lights being offline or unreachable.
Had the same problem with all of my Satechi Dual outlets. They would stop responding. Deleted them and added them back (via the Satechi app). Worked for a few hours/days then died again.

My Comcast TG3482G modem/WiFi router seemed OK. Other devices in the same locations worked just fine with excellent speeds.

In desperation I fired up an Asus RS-AX88U router, deleted all of the switches and then added them back to the Asus rather than the Comcast Router. Haven't had a problem since.

The Comcast connections had been working well for months. Don't know why just the switches seem to have issues with the router.
 

spiderman0616

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Aug 1, 2010
3,521
3,761
Had the same problem with all of my Satechi Dual outlets. They would stop responding. Deleted them and added them back (via the Satechi app). Worked for a few hours/days then died again.

My Comcast TG3482G modem/WiFi router seemed OK. Other devices in the same locations worked just fine with excellent speeds.

In desperation I fired up an Asus RS-AX88U router, deleted all of the switches and then added them back to the Asus rather than the Comcast Router. Haven't had a problem since.

The Comcast connections had been working well for months. Don't know why just the switches seem to have issues with the router.
So weird. My issue just kind of stopped happening on its own. No idea why.