Wife is fed up with ATV - Suggestions? (Sorry long post)

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by aced411, Feb 7, 2010.

  1. aced411 macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2007
    Bought an Apple TV a year ago. As soon as my wife saw how easy it was to use, she was bought in (the main factor). Between netflix streaming on the 360 and ATV, we quit cable and haven't looked back.

    Fast forward to today, we have two Apple TV's, about $300 worth of iTunes video and well over 200 DVD's imported via handbrake. I have been fighting with iTunes sync the entire time! I've done everything. Bought an AEBS, installed every update, reset to factory settings several times, reinstalled iTunes, completely wiped the iMac, static IP's....trust me I've tried everything. To this day, the Apple TV is not reliable enough when using sync. It still drops out of iTunes for no reason. I consider having to restart iTunes routinely an unacceptable solution, and that's best case scenario for us. We also love routinely being told our content won't play, even though a restart of ATV and a little patience makes this message take a coffee break.

    My wife finally had it. She no longer uses the Apple TV, opting to just use Netflix on the 360. Her comment was, "It never works for me so I stopped using it". Me, being a total tech...I mean crap that's my career...am also fed up. Here's the problem:

    I don't want to go back, re-encode everything and buy $300 of the same video in another format. I considered the following:

    • XBOX 360 local storage (iTunes videos wouldn't play)
    • XBOX 360 via Connect360 (again...iTunes video wouldn't play)
    • Media Center & 360 (Don't know how well it works and I doubt all my iTunes videos will play)
    • Install USB hack, hook up external drives to ATV's and sync content local to ATV (Would like this, but it has to be easy and reliable and not require continuous hacking b/c I just don't have time w/ 2 kids)
  2. mkaake macrumors 65816

    Apr 10, 2003
    If it was me? I'd probably first contact apple and have them replace / repair the aTv, because it's not working proper.

    Barring that, I'd go with the last route - local external storage for the apple tv - it seems like the best option to make sure your media is always available, but not loose the money you've spent on videos through iTunes.

    I just wish you could stream netflix through the aTv - I've held off on one for this long, but if they added that feature, I'd be sold...
  3. jaw04005 macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    I can't really blame your wife. As much as I love the Apple TV's sleek design and interface, it's the least reliable Apple product I own (now that I've ditched my generation 1 Time Capsule).

    The latest version of iTunes that was just released supposedly addressed some syncing issues with Apple TV. Also, I've found that if you re-create your iTunes library from scratch (meaning re-adding all your files to a blank iTunes library) it can fix a lot of the streaming problems.

    Now, the only major problem with Apple TV I have is it not updating when new content is added without a manual sync. And occasionally the interface will slow to a crawl, requiring a reboot.
  4. roidy macrumors 65816

    Dec 30, 2008
    Nottingham, UK
    You didn't say weather the ATV is connected wired or wirelessly? People seem to have more problems with the ATV being droped from iTunes if it's connected wirelessly, if you are connected wirelessly then just try it wired and see if it's any better.
  5. macadam212 macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2007
    iTunes is the problem, so complain to Apple!

    I got my friend into Mac's and he now has almost every Apple gadget available, including the Apple TV. He has similar problems and he often finds that his contend has disappeared from the Apple TV due to the fact that iTunes has forgotten the settings and is doing an automatic sync. This happens all the time, I've given him the link to Apple's feedback page so he can let them know, and hopefully they will fix the issue.

    Here's the link: http://www.apple.com/feedback/appletv.html

    If you have problems let them know, but if people don't complain then things don't get fixed.
  6. racer1441 macrumors 68000

    Jul 3, 2009
    Dump the wife for complaining about an Apple product, then make sure you go hard wired!

    It's all about the network. My ATV and the PC with itunes and the library are on their own litttle hard line network and they work great.

    I've got just under 2TB's of movies w/o problems.
  7. celica73 macrumors member

    Jan 12, 2009
    put 320gb drives in the AppleTV's and sync all the files over, rather than stream.

    You will have to weed out a few of the movies, but I bet it would work out OK.
  8. fpnc macrumors 68000

    Oct 30, 2002
    San Diego, CA
    If you're running over WiFi that may be the cause of your problems. The Apple TV is not at all forgiving about connection problems over WiFi. If you have any interference from microwaves, wireless phones, etc, or other WiFi basestations running over at your neighbor's house then you might see all kinds of problems keeping connected to the Apple TV. If this is the case, you might try running your network in a 5GHz, 802.11n-only setup (that will eliminate many sources of interference).

    Also, you want to be running the latest Apple TV firmware and the latest version of the iTunes application (earlier versions of iTunes had a nasty bug where the app would delete all purchased content from the Apple TV if iTunes lost its connection to the iTunes Store).
  9. rgarjr macrumors 603


    Apr 2, 2009
    Southern California
  10. aced411 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2007
    What's so great about plex? Again...I've tried everything. Wired, wireless...but then again much of that was done before the last updates. My last hail Mary was factory restores. I can only do wired on one of the ATV's. I did notice using an airport express as a connection point to my iMac works faster and seemingly more reliable than the built in airport. I split my network. I have a dedicated 5ghz network, but have to keep 2.4 for our mobile devices
  11. iowamensan macrumors 6502

    Feb 19, 2006
    I guess I've been lucky... my Apple TV has been working pretty good lately. it was a bit flaky during the early days of 2.0/2.1, and I'm doing what every seems to be saying is wrong. My Apple TV is wireless, and all my content is streamed via Airport Express over 802.11 G. My iTunes server is an old G4 PowerMac with 3 external HDs that hold my 1.5 TB of media. The PowerMac is direct wired to my router in the basement, which is where my Airport Express is. Maybe once every month or two is says there is no content on my apple TV, and usually a reboot of the Airport or Apple TV fixes that. THe only time I've had a lot of problems with it was back when 2.0 first came out I had a lot of HDMI handshake issues, where I had to restart the Apple TV about every time I wanted to use it.
    I'm not trying to brag or anything - just wanted to say that some of the things people swear will cause issues can be acceptable.
  12. mcruzader macrumors regular

    Sep 10, 2008
    Plex is the heart and soul of all HTPC Mac based computers!! It is an awesome app, the will categorize all of your movies, tv shows, music automatically, you can play videos, music, stream netflix and hulu, all from the application itself, and if you have a ton of iTunes videos, it can also play that with the Front Row plugin. It does take a while to setup, but once it is, you forget about it and just use it, no need to tinker with it much after initial setup.
  13. TwinCities Dan macrumors 603

    TwinCities Dan

    May 19, 2008
    Double Parked out front of the Courthouse
    Agreed! My streaming :apple:TV has been awesome, everybody is amazed at my setup. Nothing but praises here! :D

    I know that doesn't help the OP but there is hope, maybe your hardware is faulty? :confused: I would contact Apple.
  14. GermanSuplex macrumors 6502a


    Aug 26, 2009
    I've never had this issue, though both my PC and ATV are wired via ethernet to my wireless router.

    The only thing I have to deal with is a little lag here and there when booting up the ATV and sometimes when starting a video. But I've had no sync issues or anything of that nature.

    Definitely try what others have said and see if you can go wired, and if that doesn't work then try a hack to allow local storage. Cheap wireless routers also sometimes can cause dropped signals.
  15. randy98mtu macrumors 65816


    Mar 4, 2009
    I just got a Mini with Plex and while I'm still adding movies (I'm renaming them all to make sure I don't have scrubbing problems and I'm downloading my own cover art at high res for each movie) I love the thing. It's great. I wasn't having the problems you are with your ATV's though. My ATV was just sluggish in the menus and a bit inflexible. It also stutters like mad on much of my 720p content. I'm still using it upstairs, but got tired of waiting for an update to get something for the main TV. Enter Plex.

    I did think of something reading your last post. You mention the iMac being connected wirelessly as well as the ATV's? My iMac (serving all my iTunes media) is wired to the router and the ATV is the only thing wireless. I've got cat5 run to the living room with another router there to connect my Mini, PS3 and Dish receiver. If you can wire the iMac to your network, maybe that would help?
  16. srexy macrumors 6502a

    Nov 19, 2006
    Will Plex play iTunes content or do you have to just use Plex to initialize iTunes and then play it? I got a bit fed up with my :apple:tv also but instead of ditching it I bought a Mini to replace the old Windows box that was serving up the content. I have the Mini playing all content using Plex and my :apple:tv is pointed to the same directories but is hacked to use XBMC. XBMC uses the same scrapers as Plex so it picks up all the same content and besides the HD stuff will play it perfectly. (note - I don't know how XBMC handles iTunes content either - I don't have any)

    One other thing that has really helped me recently was to beef up my Wireless N networking. Our house is on 2 stories and one of the biggest hurdles was getting the signal steady and strong on the 2nd story when the AEBS was on the first story. My understanding of Wireless N is that it transmits well along a horizontal plane but not a vertical plane. I picked up a second AEBS - it's now my DHCP server and the old AEBS is extending the signal upstairs. I don't get less than a 200 Mb/s signal anywhere in the house whereas before there were plenty of weak spots. You may want to investigate this as well.
  17. roidy macrumors 65816

    Dec 30, 2008
    Nottingham, UK
    People keep banging on about get a Mac Mini with Plex, but not everyone can afford a Mac Mini just to use as a media center plus Plex isn't gonna help you if you've got a lot of money invested in iTunes purchased content like the OP has. If people want to suggest a dedicated media center computer then you will get much better value for money from one of the Ion systems with XBMC, instead of an over priced Mini.
  18. JDDavis macrumors 65816


    Jan 16, 2009
    I was having similar problems and a very frustrating time getting the ATV to stream and download movies. A few weeks ago I took the new Airport Express that we got and plugged it in behind the TV and plugged the ATV into it with an ethernet cable. The wireless on the ATV shutoff and it's been a huge improvement. Every once in a blue moon I've had to reset the ATV but it's been performing pretty consistently. I was almost at the point of taking it back but now it's back in good graces. I sure wish Apple would pay more attention to this thing. It has great potential.
  19. Divindude macrumors member

    Sep 6, 2007
    Does your split networks have the same wifi ssid (name)? With the new AEBS, you can set up the dual channels of wifi under the same name (wide channel n and some other). My a-tvs were bouncing between the two specs. The AEBS allows you to give each channel a separate ssid name, which helped a lot, but since they have the same password, there is still some negotiating going on between the A-TV and the AEBS since I've found at times that the A-TV has joined the lower speed network even though I've not config'd it. My prev fix was to have an older single channel AEBS configured as a sole wide-channels N - never had a problem with the A-TVs - until I replaced that with the dual channel AEBS .. and things started.
  20. BillHarrison macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2003
    I would go with option 3, but again, your iTunes videos won't play. All your handbrake movies will be fine.

    You will gain:

    LIVE tv w/ DVR if you get a tuner

    Reliability - Windows 7 media center streaming to my 360 works perfectly, in 1080p, w/ surround, and my 3 year old can use it to find spongebob etc.
    Very reliable, have had to reset the system probably 1-2 times a year at most

    Supports divx, xvid, and a ton of other formats with no transcoding now, much better than previous versions of Media Center

    Clean pleasant interface

    You already have the 360, and likely a computer. Just need windows 7.

    No PROPRIETARY formats! Everything I have is in easy to use formats, I don't have to worry about. I rip everything myself and store all the movies on large external drives. Originals are put away for safekeeping.

    Nothing against apple, but microsoft just has a much better and more capable media solution with Windows Media Center and the 360 extender than apple does with the aTV.

    PM me for more details
  21. randy98mtu macrumors 65816


    Mar 4, 2009
    Did they ever fix the fans in those things? My 360 just sits because I can't hear the TV over it.
  22. Keebler macrumors 68030

    Jun 20, 2005
    i'd contact apple and here's why:

    I realize you're quite techie, but sometimes, things are beyond our own control.

    It's time to contact Apple, explain what you've done and ask what they'll do for you. Tell me about the number of ATVs and number of content you have. they'll recognize that.

    good luck.
  23. hfthomp macrumors member

    Apr 8, 2008
    Funny thing but I am getting close to being in this same predicament. I've had my ATV for about a year now and didn't really use a whole lot at first. Our daughter, 19 months old now, has really started taking a liking to the disney and pixar movies, so recently I ripped a bunch of our movies using handbrake and have them all streaming to the ATV.

    It seemed to work fine at first for a while, but now, I'm having problems all the time. Either the ATV looses connection to iTunes, or I get that stupid ATV cannot play this file format issue which causes me to reboot the ATV. Is this an iTunes issue? Is the latest update to iTunes causing these problems?

    I've been looking a bit into the whole Mac Mini/Plex option, however. Does anyone out there know what would be the absolute lowest speed CPU I could have in one and still have some nice 720p or 1080p videos play on it?
  24. randy98mtu macrumors 65816


    Mar 4, 2009
    If you're looking to buy new, the lowest one seems to be fine. I have the base model with no additional memory or anything and I haven't seen any trouble with full 1080p MKV's. These are straight off the disc, not reduced in bitrate at all. Some are 35 gig files. My ATV has a hard time with 5000kbps 720p movies.

    Make sure you put a password in for purchases on the ATV. My 8 month old got a hold of the remote and ordered a TV show season with the push of a button. lol I unplugged it right away and chatted with Apple support and they refunded me.

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