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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Consumer Hardware & Components > AppleTV is a piece of crap

AppleTV is a piece of crap
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Clinically Insane
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Aug 22, 2008, 11:03 PM
 
After about 3 months of AppleTV, I'm thoroughly underwhelmed. It's the worst piece of Apple hardware I have ever owned.

The list of problems goes on and on
  • In WLAN mode, constantly loses connection to iTunes
  • Even in wired (ethernet) mode, connections are lost and/or stalled
  • Requires regular rebooting to "see" iTunes and be able to access the library
  • Movies are said to be in unplayable format - but play if I keep trying - sometimes takes 5 or more attempts
  • Audio of Handbraked movies is out-of-sync on AppleTV, but perfectly fine on the Mac
  • Automatic synchronization with iTunes (e.g. for daily video podcasts) never works. Sync just doesn't kick in automatically as it should.
  • iTunes keeps "losing" sight of AppleTV, won't reappear before restarting iTunes or rebooting AppleTV

It's absolutely retarded.

Could this be a hardware issue ? Anyone else having issues like that ?

-t
     
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Aug 22, 2008, 11:10 PM
 
Apple's discussion forums: http://discussions.apple.com/thread....60283&tstart=0

And: http://discussions.apple.com/thread....sageID=7808936

Plus: http://www.emiratesmac.com/forums/ap...tv-itunes.html


The troubleshooting here requires a bit more than the standard practices of reinstalling software updates, etc.
     
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Aug 22, 2008, 11:11 PM
 
Mine works well. I tried using it in wifi mode but didn't like the speed hit. I run mine over gigabit ethernet and it syncs to iTunes running on my draft n MBP. No issues syncing anything -- it'll kick in and sync after so many seconds. I take a lot of video and run it through iSquint to mp4 format. No issues playing those on the ATV.
     
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Aug 22, 2008, 11:29 PM
 
It's interesting to see the variation in experiences with AppleTV. I have 2 of them, one for bedroom & one for livingroom, and both are connected to a wds network I have set up in the house (wireless). I did have to reposition one of my airport expresses, but I'm able to stream movies to my appletv without issue. Rarely (twice over a 6 month period) I've "lost" an apple tv from my computer. Restarting iTunes fixed it.

I love my home setup, but it sounds like I might just be "lucky."
     
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Aug 22, 2008, 11:32 PM
 
PS. I've never tried iSquint, but went directly for VisualHub. Never looked back.
     
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Aug 22, 2008, 11:56 PM
 
We have had ours for 4 months and have experienced not one of the problems you describe. The machine has performed flawlessly and satisfied all of my expectations going in. Sounds like you have issues that may not be solely ATV related.
21.5" iMac 2.7GHz i5; 15" FP iMac 0.8GHz G4, iPhone 5S
     
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Aug 22, 2008, 11:56 PM
 
Sounds like you got a bad one. Mine doesn't have any of those issues. I have the occasional glitch that requires restarting the AppleTV, and I've had to restore it once in the 5 months I've had it. But nothing like that.
     
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Aug 23, 2008, 02:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by zykron View Post
The troubleshooting here requires a bit more than the standard practices of reinstalling software updates, etc.
Thanks, I'll have a look at this.

If this doesn't work, I will try to return or exchange it.

-t
     
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Aug 23, 2008, 02:16 AM
 
*sigh*

Unfortunately, I found nothing that I could do except trying to revert back to 2.0 firmware. I don't have any special firewall or antivirus software running, I'm not on WLAN.

I'm gonna give FW 2.0 this a try. After that, I guess I'll just return it as a faulty unit.

-t
     
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Aug 23, 2008, 05:27 AM
 
Mine works well so I don't know. I've heard a lot of Apple TV users with problems though. I hope they would focus some more time on it.
     
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Aug 23, 2008, 02:01 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
I'm gonna give FW 2.0 this a try. After that, I guess I'll just return it as a faulty unit.
That certainly would be my advice. I've had two Apple products (out of warranty 80GB iPod and 3 month old Airport Extreme) swapped over the counter at the local Apple store's genius counter. While the iPod was clearly dead - the airport problems were ... idiosyncratic and transient.
     
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Aug 23, 2008, 06:08 PM
 
I too have experienced none of the problems you mentioned. My ATV has worked flawlessly since day 1.
2.3GHz i7 15" Retina Macbook Pro (Late 2013)
     
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Aug 23, 2008, 07:29 PM
 
I'm sort of happy to hear that many here have no issues.

Makes me hope that my unit is broken, and all those issues be fixed by an exchange.

Edit: Anyone know how exchanges work if you bought stuff at BestBuy, but it's past 90 days ?
Since BestBuy will refere to Apple, can I go straight to an Apple Store ?

-t
( Last edited by turtle777; Aug 23, 2008 at 09:25 PM. )
     
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Aug 23, 2008, 08:47 PM
 
I have had no such issues with my tv either. It has worked pretty much flawlessly since the day I bought it.

Here's to hoping you get a replacement.
     
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Aug 23, 2008, 10:23 PM
 
Turtle, it sounds like your AppleTV is crap, but not the product in general. I haven't exhaustively scanned the forums or the links in this post, but I think we'd have a ton of threads about it if the whole product was indeed crap. Think about it...would OUR lovely, tolerant and forgiving members give Apple a break on a really crappy piece of hardware? Did we give Apple a break on the original AirPort Base Station? (The answers to both are "no," and "NO.").

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
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Aug 23, 2008, 11:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
After about 3 months of AppleTV, I'm thoroughly underwhelmed. It's the worst piece of Apple hardware I have ever owned.

The list of problems goes on and on
  • In WLAN mode, constantly loses connection to iTunes
  • Even in wired (ethernet) mode, connections are lost and/or stalled
  • Requires regular rebooting to "see" iTunes and be able to access the library
  • Movies are said to be in unplayable format - but play if I keep trying - sometimes takes 5 or more attempts
  • Audio of Handbraked movies is out-of-sync on AppleTV, but perfectly fine on the Mac
  • Automatic synchronization with iTunes (e.g. for daily video podcasts) never works. Sync just doesn't kick in automatically as it should.
  • iTunes keeps "losing" sight of AppleTV, won't reappear before restarting iTunes or rebooting AppleTV

It's absolutely retarded.

Could this be a hardware issue ? Anyone else having issues like that ?

-t
I don't lose connections to iTunes, provided the iTunes machine is an intel machine - on an iTunes machine running 10.4.11, powerpc, I can't get it to stream photos and lose sync frequently.

wireless to the intel machines works fine.

I almost never have to reboot the appletv. In fact, I can't recall the last time I had to do it that wasn't as a part of a firmware update procedure.

The movies I have which are in an unplayable format, really are. I experiment with a lot of different resolutions and bitrates as a part of my job, so it's not unusual for me to have 11 to 20 clips that will refuse to sync.

I have experienced out of sync audio via handbrake, and via Elgato's Turbo 264. However, I don't get that frequently, and I think I really only have it with one movie.

I have seen iTunes sync with the Appletv without my initiating it.

As I said, the powerpc itunes machine loses appletv, but the intel ones don't have that problem.

That's my experience.

On the whole, my family loves appletv. My wife bought Pocahontas for the twins and couldn't believe how quickly it was ready to watch.

EDIT: I should mention that the particular powerpc powerbook in question died fatally this weekend, so it's possible my issues aren't the fault of anything apple, but instead due to the failing machine.
     
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Aug 24, 2008, 01:21 AM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
Turtle, it sounds like your AppleTV is crap, but not the product in general. I haven't exhaustively scanned the forums or the links in this post, but I think we'd have a ton of threads about it if the whole product was indeed crap. Think about it...would OUR lovely, tolerant and forgiving members give Apple a break on a really crappy piece of hardware? Did we give Apple a break on the original AirPort Base Station? (The answers to both are "no," and "NO.").
Glenn, I really hope it's just MY AppleTV. I love the idea of the product, and wish nothing more than it working flawlessly. Well, I'll be going to return it sometime this week and get a new one, so let's hope it fixes it.

As far as problems go, you do get quite a broad spectrum of reports for AppleTV's. While many don't have issues, I did run across quite a bit of posts of people with quite bizarre issues, just like me. I wonder if there's a certain batch of AppleTVs that just junk.

-t
     
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Aug 24, 2008, 01:24 AM
 
Originally Posted by vmarks View Post
I have experienced out of sync audio via handbrake, and via Elgato's Turbo 264. However, I don't get that frequently, and I think I really only have it with one movie.
I have one particular movie that I handbraked for AppleTV, same settings as other movies that worked. It is in-sync when playing on my Mac, no matter if I use Quicktime, iTunes or the Finder preview.

But on the AppleTV, it's out of sync by about 3 seconds. What gives

I did, meanwhile, perform a factory restore to FW 2.0. Unfortunately, to no avail. Problems persist. Doesn't even matter if I go WLAN or ethernet.

-t
     
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Aug 24, 2008, 10:40 AM
 
Remember, the number of negative reports on an item does not reflect the percentage of good versus bad units, only how ticked off people with bad units are. Since AppleTV isn't exactly inexpensive, I'd expect a lot of people to get quite ticked at even quickly resolved issues. And this is still rev A, right? Does that say a lot to you?

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Aug 24, 2008, 12:13 PM
 
If it's any consolation, I've been plagued with ATV troubles since I bought it 6 months ago. Most of the same issues you describe. It's constantly losing sight of my iTunes library or my wireless network. I typically have to do a factory restore for it to be able to see my wireless network again. When I'm not in town (which has been very frequent of late), my partner doesn't even use it. I've scoured the Apple discussion threads. I've tried all of the "fixes". All to no avail. I'm seriously considering just using a Mini for my HT setup.
     
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Aug 24, 2008, 01:13 PM
 
Turtle, I'm going to have to check the one movie I have trouble with and see if the audio syncs when playing on the computer.

Honestly, I thought my issue with that one was due to copy protection on the disc.

Outside of that, it's always connected to the Intel Mac Mini, and always worked well, only rebooting once. My 3 year olds select the movies they wish to see, my wife doesn't mind navigating libraries - the device is a winner here, and I'd be tempted to get another one if I could pick one up used at a good price (my first one was purchased from another member here via the marketplace forum.)
     
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Aug 24, 2008, 04:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
And this is still rev A, right? Does that say a lot to you?
I'm not sure, since the last upgrade was firmware only. Apple made it sound like ATV 2.0 is a rev. B.

-t
     
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Aug 24, 2008, 04:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by vmarks View Post
Turtle, I'm going to have to check the one movie I have trouble with and see if the audio syncs when playing on the computer.
That would be great, I'm curious about that.

Btw, FYI, my ATV is connected to an Intel Mac, no G3/G4/G5 involved.

-t
     
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Aug 24, 2008, 05:23 PM
 
One aspect of Apple TV that is unarguably absolute (expletive deleted) - Close captions. Why is it pay per view, video on demand not to mention standard TV can provide such depth in this area while Apple cannot? I have found ONE lousy movie with CC to date. Pathetic.


At least I checked the availability out BEFORE buying.
     
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Aug 24, 2008, 09:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cold Warrior View Post
Mine works well. I tried using it in wifi mode but didn't like the speed hit. I run mine over gigabit ethernet and it syncs to iTunes running on my draft n MBP. No issues syncing anything -- it'll kick in and sync after so many seconds. I take a lot of video and run it through iSquint to mp4 format. No issues playing those on the ATV.
Considering that the Ethernet port on the ATV is 10/100, you aren't really "running [yours] over gigabit ethernet." While it may be attached to a network that includes gigabit devices (such as a gigabit router), this unfortunately does not enhance the speed of the ATV itself, which is maxed out at 100BT.
     
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Aug 24, 2008, 09:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by selowitch View Post
Considering that the Ethernet port on the ATV is 10/100, you aren't really "running [yours] over gigabit ethernet." While it may be attached to a network that includes gigabit devices (such as a gigabit router), this unfortunately does not enhance the speed of the ATV itself, which is maxed out at 100BT.
I had never bothered to look at the ATV's capability. Well, at least it runs well enough that I never feel like uploads are slow.
     
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Aug 24, 2008, 10:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cold Warrior View Post
I had never bothered to look at the ATV's capability. Well, at least it runs well enough that I never feel like uploads are slow.
Well, that's the most important thing, of course. It kind of reassures me, too, because I'm thinking of picking one up ... unless I get paranoid that a true gigabit version is on the way soon. The next Macworld Expo is the first week in January 2009.
     
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Aug 24, 2008, 11:15 PM
 
For streaming, Gigabit ethernet would be overkill.

In theory (yeah, I know), regular 10/100 should be good enough to stream HD quality videos encoded in H.264.

-t
     
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Aug 24, 2008, 11:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
For streaming, Gigabit ethernet would be overkill.
I'm not convinced that there isn't some way to leverage the power of gigabit Ethernet to make streaming more efficient and problem-free (perhaps by using jumbo frames). Furthermore, there's little doubt that for file transfers within a LAN (such as copying a movie from your Mac to the HD on your AppleTV) would be faster if ATV included a 10/100/1000 Ethernet port (and certain other conditions were met, of course, e.g., the presence of a gigabit router).
     
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Aug 24, 2008, 11:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by selowitch View Post
Furthermore, there's little doubt that for file transfers within a LAN (such as copying a movie from your Mac to the HD on your AppleTV) would be faster if ATV included a 10/100/1000 Ethernet port (and certain other conditions were met, of course, e.g., the presence of a gigabit router).
You are right, there's no doubt that for COPYING, Gigabit ethernet would be great.

However, as I said, for STREAMING, it technically shouldn't make a difference, at least as long as you are streaming content that has been somewhat compressed.

-t
     
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Aug 25, 2008, 12:17 AM
 
Originally Posted by pcryan5 View Post
One aspect of Apple TV that is unarguably absolute (expletive deleted) - Close captions. Why is it pay per view, video on demand not to mention standard TV can provide such depth in this area while Apple cannot? I have found ONE lousy movie with CC to date. Pathetic.


At least I checked the availability out BEFORE buying.
It's a little off-topic, but this is slightly odd - quicktime can handle subtitles, and yet appleTV, powered by quicktime, doesn't present any way of displaying them. You'd think the accessibility folks would have asked for this by now.
     
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Aug 25, 2008, 12:18 AM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
You are right, there's no doubt that for COPYING, Gigabit ethernet would be great.

However, as I said, for STREAMING, it technically shouldn't make a difference, at least as long as you are streaming content that has been somewhat compressed.

-t
I was able to stream over 802.11g without issue.
     
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Aug 25, 2008, 09:43 AM
 
Originally Posted by vmarks View Post
I was able to stream over 802.11g without issue.
Yes, I am too. Sometimes. Until another reboot is required.

-t
     
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Aug 25, 2008, 10:14 AM
 
Right, except I don't have these frequent reboots that you experience. I don't know why that is.
     
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Aug 25, 2008, 01:22 PM
 
For my ATV, it partially seems to be a networking issue.

If I sync movies to the ATV, they play with less hassle.

But my issues are not only WLAN related, I get them with ethernet, too. This is the weird part

-t
     
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Aug 25, 2008, 01:56 PM
 
I've never had any of the problems you describe. I use a 802.11g wireless connection only. My only issue with syncing is that when I add in a new Handbrake-ripped movie, it starts syncing with the AppleTV before I can get the artwork attached in iTunes, but I just cancel and resync.

It's possible that you have a hardware issue if you are having audio/video sync issues. I've only ever seen that once, and getting the latest beta release of Handbrake fixed that. If you use Handbrake, get the latest snapshot, not the release version. The release doesn't reflect the current best version.

I wish I could offer more specifics. I use my AppleTV primarily for two things: watching ripped movies, and watching youtube videos on the TV. Both of these work great for me. I "hacked" my AppleTV with a USB thumb drive, but all I did was add ssh access and put on the web browser (which crashes when I try to do anything interesting with it). I haven't installed any other mods yet.
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Aug 25, 2008, 02:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by Arkham_c View Post
It's possible that you have a hardware issue if you are having audio/video sync issues. I've only ever seen that once, and getting the latest beta release of Handbrake fixed that. If you use Handbrake, get the latest snapshot, not the release version. The release doesn't reflect the current best version.
Have you ever had issues with Handbraked movies that would play perfectly fine on your Mac, but be out-of-sync on ATV ?

How do I know if it's my ATV screwing up, or it it's a bad Handbrake job ?

-t
     
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Aug 25, 2008, 03:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
I have one particular movie that I handbraked for AppleTV, same settings as other movies that worked. It is in-sync when playing on my Mac, no matter if I use Quicktime, iTunes or the Finder preview.

But on the AppleTV, it's out of sync by about 3 seconds. What gives

-t
This is likely a handbrake/DVD issue. Not your Apple TV. I have the same issue with one of my movies as well and a quick review of the Handbrake site shows this DVD is problematic.

Otherwise, but ATV runs flawlessly on a wifi only connection which sits downstairs from an Airport Extreme base station and the Mac Pro which is serving/streaming it movies.

Hope you are able to get a new one that works.
     
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Aug 25, 2008, 05:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big-C View Post
PS. I've never tried iSquint, but went directly for VisualHub. Never looked back.
same here.. VisualHub's use of networked macs which makes it work faster is the deal..
     
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Aug 25, 2008, 11:15 PM
 
I had many of those problems until I set up my Apple TV with a static IP address and did a direct wired connection. I'm not sure that the wired connection mattered, but the static IP was necessary. Do not use DHCP and your connection problems should go away. I'm surprised Apple has not fixed this yet. They certainly know about it -- I provided details to the tech support group months ago.

I still see an occasional problem finding the device in iTunes. Restarting iTunes fixes it, and I suspect that waiting a sufficient amount of time might also work. But I'm not patient -- so I restart. I suspect that iTunes loses the device when it's put to sleep.
     
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Aug 26, 2008, 12:24 AM
 
Originally Posted by hankvaccaro View Post
I had many of those problems until I set up my Apple TV with a static IP address and did a direct wired connection. I'm not sure that the wired connection mattered, but the static IP was necessary. Do not use DHCP and your connection problems should go away. I'm surprised Apple has not fixed this yet. They certainly know about it -- I provided details to the tech support group months ago.
I am using a static IP (always have)

I really think my box is borked...

The only other thing that could be is that something in my network causes problems. But that wouldn't explain why a direct wireless connection to my iMac creates the issues.

-t
     
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Aug 26, 2008, 10:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by outaru View Post
same here.. VisualHub's use of networked macs which makes it work faster is the deal..
Please make a post detailing exactly how you set that up.
     
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Aug 26, 2008, 10:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
I am using a static IP (always have)

I really think my box is borked...

The only other thing that could be is that something in my network causes problems. But that wouldn't explain why a direct wireless connection to my iMac creates the issues.

-t
I use DHCP everywhere. The only thing that's static IP here are the two network printers.
     
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Aug 27, 2008, 10:09 AM
 
Turtle, I'm no help on the audio sync issue - I checked my one movie that's out of sync, and it is also out of sync on my Mac in iTunes.
     
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Aug 27, 2008, 10:40 AM
 
Turtle,

I have experienced many of the same issues that you have mentioned. I even read and did everything I could listed on Apple's forums, but it's basically a defective unit. The only why I really figured this out, is because i have 2 AppleTVs. I swapped them, and the defective one, would continue to not work properly. Both wired and wireless. My defective unit, would constantly reboot itself. White light, yellow light, off, etc.

I returned it to the Apple store, and they swapped it out for a new one, no questions asked.

I'd image, they would do the same for you too, even though you bought it at Best Buy.

My new (2nd) ATV, is working wireless, like a champ. Streaming movies, is a tad slower, in the beginning, then the wired ATV, but definitely acceptable.

Don't pull your hair out, return it, and hopefully you won't get a lemon this time.
     
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Aug 27, 2008, 11:38 AM
 
Thanks, veedow and all others, I appreciate your feedback.

As soon as I'm back from my business trip, I'll be returning it to Best Buy.

-t
     
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Aug 27, 2008, 09:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by vmarks View Post
Please make a post detailing exactly how you set that up.
Well, from within VisualHub if you select Help -> Download User Guide your default browser will download the User Guide PDF.

Apparently VisualHub can use XGrid to leverage the additional computing power of networked computers... The kicker is that the XGrid part of VisualHub isn't supported under Leopard
( Last edited by cybergoober; Aug 27, 2008 at 09:03 PM. Reason: Spelling error)
     
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Aug 28, 2008, 05:34 PM
 
We have two, one bought new from Apple store and one refurb from Apple.com. No issues what so ever with either. Sounds like a bad unit.
     
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Aug 28, 2008, 09:51 PM
 
...had it since launch. getting at least one more. couple of software update hiccups. otherwise, it's been a sheer joy. barely even use tivo anymore.

have no problems with photos, music, music videos, purchased/rented movies. not even issues with the many movies i've converted to m4v.

sorry to hear of others' problems, but i've been troublefree. regarding dropping the connection, have you tried changing your settings per instructions on the various apple boards. specifically the "use wide channels" stuff? i used 2.4GHz/compatible (due to iphone usage in house) and never drop.

setup:
ATV 40gb
mbp 2.33 w/ media on external 2TB firewire drive
airport extreme n, in b/g compatible mode
     
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Aug 29, 2008, 08:25 AM
 
Originally Posted by cybergoober View Post
Well, from within VisualHub if you select Help -> Download User Guide your default browser will download the User Guide PDF.

Apparently VisualHub can use XGrid to leverage the additional computing power of networked computers... The kicker is that the XGrid part of VisualHub isn't supported under Leopard
It's off-topic, but it seems strange to me that the XGrid bits don't work in leopard - xgridctl is still there, and seems to work just fine. Oh well... I wanted to race an xgrid of G4 versus the elgato h.264 stick.
     
 
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