New Apple TV Owner isn't thrilled

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by JWKessler, Jan 22, 2015.

  1. JWKessler macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2015
    #1
    After a lot of debate and research I made the plunge this past weekend and bought a new Apple TV 3. As a long time Apple user installation in my home theater setup was relatively uneventful. I already have an Ethernet switch connected to my satellite DVR and BluRay player so I connected the ATV directly to my network. About the first thing I did was run a software update on the ATV. I had an unused Blue Tooth keyboard that came with my latest iMac that I never used so I paired it up and use it as the remote. It took me a bit of poking at settings but I got home sharing running and my ATV and iMac team up nicely to serve as an A/V jukebox.

    My big complaint however is with online performance. I'm paying for 15 Mbps DSL internet service and it typically measures 10 to 11.5 Mbps, though it occasionally falls to some ridiculous low value - below 1 to 3 then comes back up. I'm trying to see if there is a pattern to that. It seems to be related to time of day with better performance in the morning and drops in the evening, but I can't be sure of that.

    So far I've yet to be able to successfully view anything more than short video clips. Sometimes a clip will begin to play quickly, other times the spinner will grind away for several minutes before the video finally starts to play. Other times I'll just give up trying. The few times I've tried playing anything longer, like a 1 hour or a 30 minute video, I'll get about half way through (at which point I'm really interested in the subject) and the video will just stop, the spinner will start and it appears there is no recovery. A speed test after I give up shows no problems.

    The ATV's built in network test seems pretty useless. It goes through it's thing, then just tells me it's done. No performance specs even a pass/fail message is given. What good is that?

    I'm wondering if these problems are likely to be something to do with the service, my ISP or something in my setup?

    I keep seeing how people are getting rid of cable or satellite service and moving to a Roku or ATV type device, but so far I'm not buying it. It seems as if this technology isn't quite ready yet.
     
  2. Natzoo macrumors 65816

    Natzoo

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2014
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    Not sure where i am
    #2
    I have the 3rd gen apple tv and it isnt good, like i rather just use a console. The internet problem doesn't happen to me and i have a lot of active devices on my network. What type of router do you have? I have apple time capsule as the internet hub
     
  3. JWKessler thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2015
    #3
    My ISP, TDS Telecom, provides an Actiontec combo modem/router with four Ethernet ports. One of these ports is connected to the Ethernet switch in the theater in my Basement.

    I should add that the occasional slowdowns are noticed on my two iMacs and iPads as well.

    The ATV seemed to work well when I first set it up and started playing with it. It was later in the evening when I tried to actually use it that the troubles began.
     
  4. Snoopy4 macrumors 6502a

    Snoopy4

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2014
    #4
    This actually sounds like bandwidth throttling by your ISP. We have no latency problems, but to be fair we have ridiculous internet speed at 100mbps.
     
  5. JWKessler thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2015
    #5
    Just looked up my ISP (TDS) on DSL reports. Most of the reviews are pretty old, going back 5 years or so, but none of them were particularly positive. In fact most report much worse performance than I'm seeing.

    It seems to me that until links to the outside world are up to it, streaming media is not going to fly as anything other then a toy to tinker with.
     
  6. alFR macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    #6
    So, wouldn't a fairer title for your thread be "user of poor ISP isn't thrilled"?
     
  7. newellj macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2014
    Location:
    Boston, MA, US
    #7
    My experience is that streaming at ~10 Mbps is an exercise in continued frustration. The problem isn't your ATV, it's your ISP.
     
  8. LV426 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2013
    #8
    20 Mbps in my house, and Apple TV runs absolutely fine when streaming HD movies from Apple.

    I get the occasional pause on a Friday evening, when my internet connection seems to be the busiest.
     
  9. caparsons macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2014
    #9
    I haven't had quite those problems with the ATV I got for Christmas. Instead, slightly different issues:

    • I've set the screensaver to a shared iCloud photo album. But it routinely fails to load if I'm in a third-party app like Netflix;
    • A key reason for the purchase was to steam music and video over AirPlay. But the device routintely goes to sleep when streaming music...meaning I have to set the 'sleep' setting to way longer than I'm comfortable with;
    • Homesharing is a bit of a crapshoot; I routinely need to either reboot the ATV or the device with the content for ATV to detect the shared content.

    None of these are sufficient to be 'deal breakers' for me, but several (especially items one and two) just shouldn't exist. They're super-normal use cases. Given that we use laptops and move around with them (i.e. they're not just house machines) I can get that item three might be linked to networking challenges in getting homesharing to work. The ATV definitely feel like a hobby project of Apple's as opposed to a serious product they are doing, or have done, product development on.
     
  10. Wirbowsky macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2010
    Location:
    Belgium
    #10
    I purchased mine two month ago and was also very surprised by the sleep issue.
    After one hour of listening to music, it would go to sleep. if I remember correctly, that was the case even when playing using itunes Match (i.e. no airplay). I had to put 5 hours sleep on the thing.

    Otherwise, I am happy.
     
  11. tcphoto macrumors 6502a

    tcphoto

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Location:
    Madison, GA
    #11
    I bought an AppleTV3 when I moved into a new house in October and thought that I'd try streaming only. If you are a sports fan or want other live programming it's very limited. I ended up ordering cable within a week and have had no issues.

    The AppleTV interface is rather antiquated but there is content and you need the faster connection speed to have seamless viewing. I use the Airport Extreme for my wireless network and 60Mbps service with Charter and I have no lag in viewing programs. If you're running an ethernet cable from your cable modem/dish receiver that is going to be the fastest connection possible. Have you unplugged your modem for a minute and let it reboot? That will help from time to time or call your ISP and request that they do it through their system. Perhaps upgrading your service will eliminate the lag.
     
  12. tdhurst macrumors 68040

    tdhurst

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #12
    Huh?

    It sounds like your problem is with your ISP, not the AppleTV.

    15 megs down isn't very fast for streaming video.
     
  13. grizfan macrumors member

    grizfan

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2012
    Location:
    Boise, ID
    #13
    What are you using for a DNS server? I know OpenDNS has caused performance issues for Apple TV users. Even if you don't use OpenDNS, the default DNS servers provided by your ISP can still cause problems.
     
  14. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #14
    OP, pick a video you want to watch, as the progress bar begins showing some video being downloaded, hit pause on the remote. Wait for a lot of progress (bar) and then push play.

    Trying to defend Apple and shift blame to your ISP is missing the point. Your ISP is probably unable/unwilling to do anything about it regardless of what you might say to them. You're just wanting to watch videos with lengths beyond short clips. The above "pause to pre-buffer much of what you want to see" may be your best option.

    Also, there's always a small chance that you have a bad ethernet cable or something like that. Find a problematic video and then swap out the cable and try it again. The ultimate test would be to get a long run of ethernet and test the same (problematic) video when the :apple:TV is directly connected to your router (bypassing switches, etc). That kind of thing would rule out the small possibilities that is could be cables or the switch.

    AND, there's a few people in :apple:TV threads that imply that a wifi connection may work better than an ethernet connection. Technically, that doesn't make sense but you might also try the same (problematic) video playback over wifi.
     
  15. kgapp macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #15
    This is a 100% true statement. Using an Apple TV with a relatively slow broadband connection is an extremely frustrating experience.

    If you are unable to sustain speeds above 10 Mbps consistently you are going to always be fighting with buffering and related performance issues.

    If at all possible I would suggest trying the device on a faster connection to rule out the possibility anything is wrong with the unit itself.
     
  16. newellj macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2014
    Location:
    Boston, MA, US
    #16
    The problem sometimes is, and the OP may be in this bind, that you can't necessarily get better and/or faster service. We have a second home up north and service is appallingly bad, and there's really no other choice. Once when I needed to get some work stuff done I had to ask my adult kids and wife to turn off their computers/iPads/iPhones because we had completely overrun available bandwidth. :eek:
     
  17. kgapp macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #17
    Understood. In that case the only viable option (if you want to continue to use an Apple TV) is to download the movies/videos to your computer in advance and when they are fully downloaded stream them over your home network to the Apple TV. Obviously, this eliminates most of the convenience that goes along with the device.

    While DSL is still the only option for some users the technology is really fading fast in terms of its viability to keep up with the needs of today's users and streaming video. For web and email its usually fine and anything beyond that is a stretch and can be pretty frustrating.
     
  18. Uofmtiger macrumors 68000

    Uofmtiger

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    Location:
    Memphis
    #18
    I think this makes a lot of sense for testing. It eliminates his cable service from the discussion and allows him to see if the issues are coming from inside the house (cue horror movie soundtrack) or from outside the house.
     
  19. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

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    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #19
    In my rural location, all I can get is Verizon DSL which I recently clocked at 1.8 mbit/sec. No cable available, no FIOS (my home is 1000 feet from the road, back in the woods).

    I use my AppleTV to access a large library stored on Mac Mini iTunes server. Over the holidays, I watched PBS Kids with my granddaughter though and it worked surprisingly well. But I guess cartoons compress better than live action. :)
     
  20. priitv8 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    Location:
    Estonia
    #20
    One quick and easy test - if you can watch a 1080o movie on your local LAN, streaming from an iTunes computer, without problems, then it must be your ISP's issue.
     
  21. Yvan256 macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    #21
    It all depends on the video setting you're using. I'm on a 2Mbps cable connection and I never have any problems. But I use the 480p setting with iTunes and the low-quality setting on my Netflix account.

    I should mention that I'm talking about Netflix Canada, which had to add a third, lower-quality setting because a lot of Canadians either don't have access to high speed connections or have decent enough speeds with very low monthly data caps. I'm on a 35GB monthly cap myself. That's not a typo.

    Playback Settings
    • High (best video quality, up to 3 GB per hour for HD, 7 GB per hour for Ultra HD)
    • Medium (standard video quality, up to 0.7 GB per hour)
    • Low (basic video quality, up to 0.3 GB per hour)

    And before anyone says that 0.3GB per hour is useless, keep in mind that not everyone has a 30"+ screen. I'm using my Apple TV with a 23" widescreen computer monitor. The only time I really see compression artifacts is when there's ocean waves, trees moving in the wind, that kind of thing. And even then it's not that obvious.
     
  22. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

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    Apr 26, 2002
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    Alabama
    #22
    I bought a new Lamborghini and the damned thing won't run on tap water.
     
  23. tdhurst macrumors 68040

    tdhurst

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #23
    Huh?

    You watch 480p with artifacts on a 23" widescreen monitor?

    Yikes, the capable resolution of that screen is likely far above 1080p.

    That would drive me NUTS.
     
  24. mw360 macrumors 65816

    mw360

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    #24
    I used to spit and curse at my ISP weekly, if not daily, with unreliable speeds, dropouts, disconnections etc. All of it went away when I gave up on all the £15 routers they given me over the years and paid for an Airport Extreme. Expensive maybe, but I've had to reboot it about once in two years (aside from firmware updates). Apple TV is far from 100% reliable, but since the router switch I don't recall ever having a problem streaming a movie (we watch something on Netflix weekly, and get an iTunes rental about monthly). Our connection on speed tests is usually around 13-18Mbps.
     
  25. tdhurst macrumors 68040

    tdhurst

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #25
    Ohhhh....

    Excellent point. Forgot that I did the same thing years ago, and just had this issue two weeks ago when I moved into a new apartment already under contract with CenturyLink.

    Netflix and even local footage took minutes and minutes to buffer, until I turned off DHCP on the ISP router/modem, hooked up my AE, and let it handle my internal network.

    I still sometimes have to let shows buffer, but it's usually 1080p stuff at a super high bit rate, and even then it's only seconds.
     

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