1. iMore Question's Avatar
    I am considering getting the Apple TV but I need to know if it buffers a lot? Has anyone experienced this?
    12-02-2015 10:16 AM
  2. Rob Phillips's Avatar
    Welcome to iMore! This is highly dependent on other factors like internet speed and quality of your wifi connection. My AppleTVs buffer for a few seconds when I first start a video but rarely have issues in the middle of watching a movie or television show. I'm using 60mbps internet and I have a wired connection from my router to my AppleTV. I wouldn't say buffering isn't any more or less prevalent than most other streaming devices.
    12-02-2015 10:44 AM
  3. kataran's Avatar
    I have a very slow cable wifi and I never get any buffing at all on my ATV
    12-02-2015 02:41 PM
  4. Dave Marsh's Avatar
    I've just had my Apple TV (4th gen) replaced because of buffering issues with iTunes purchased HD movies downloaded to my iMac stuttering (stop/start) when I attempt to watch them locally on my LAN. If I stream these movies over the Internet to my Apple TV (4th gen), they play fine. Similarly if I play the local copy on my master iTunes Home Sharing iMac, or even stream it from one iMac to another they play fine. But, for some reason some recent HD movies downloaded to my Home Sharing iMac will not play smoothly to my new Apple TV. These same movies also stream perfectly from my Home Sharing iMac to my old Apple TVs (3rd gen). So, I've no idea what to do to resolve it.

    So, to answer your question, the Apple TV is supposed to build up its buffer to accommodate your network speed, so you can watch the movie smoothly. That worked perfectly on the 3rd gen model, but not so much for many recent iTunes purchased HD movies played locally on your LAN.

    While not everyone is experiencing this local buffering issue, a growing number of us are. See this Apple forum thread: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7314597?tstart=0

    So, if you plan to stream iTunes movies directly from Apple's servers, they should buffer and play fine. Similarly for viewing these same movies directly from local copies on your computer.

    The Apple rep handling my ticket has promised to pass my buffering issue on to their engineering group to figure out what's happening in my case. But, I thought I'd post just to let others know. The good news is that this appears to be a software issue. When, or even if Apple fixes it, is the open question. YMMV.
    12-03-2015 11:48 AM
  5. Just_Me_D's Avatar
    I've yet to experience any buffering issues with the 4th Gen. TV.
    12-03-2015 12:17 PM
  6. Dave Marsh's Avatar
    I've yet to experience any buffering issues with the 4th Gen. TV.
    I'm really glad it is working well for you. I'm pretty much stumped as to what could be causing my issue. Do you store downloaded iTunes HD movies locally and stream them from your Mac to the Apple TV over your LAN (wired or WiFi)? These problematic movies are all recent releases, and stream fine to my old 3rd gen Apple TV. And, not all new movies have this issue with the new Apple TV, but the ones that do can become unwatchable when the video pauses every few seconds or few minutes.

    The only repeatable common factor is the new Apple TV, and their being streamed from a local storage device over my LAN. My iMac is running the latest MacOS X 10.11.1 build, the latest version of iTunes, and the latest version of tvOS is running on the Apple TV. I've replaced the Apple TV, re-downloaded the movie multiple times, to no avail. My AppleCare rep has captured my replaced Apple TV (4th gen) for the engineers to check out, but since the replacement is experiencing the same issue, that won't help.

    I have noticed that when you swipe up from the bottom of the screen to see the progress bar, that most movies show the small amount of buffering being used. But, with Ant-Man and Inside Out whenever that small buffer appears, it immediately disappears to the current playing position, so there's effectively no buffer, and the movie invariably stutters briefly before going on. Occasionally, the movie also pauses with a small spinning gear appearing below the progress bar. When this happens, I have to tap the jump back 10 seconds button (left side of trackpad) to get the movie to resume.

    I truly envy those people not experiencing the issue. It's extremely annoying, and if I weren't so enamored with all things Apple, I'd just return the unit and continue using my 3rd gen model.
    12-03-2015 05:48 PM
  7. Just_Me_D's Avatar
    I'm really glad it is working well for you. I'm pretty much stumped as to what could be causing my issue. Do you store downloaded iTunes HD movies locally and stream them from your Mac to the Apple TV over your LAN (wired or WiFi)?
    No sir, but on occasion, I will stream a sports game from my iPhone to my TV when I have to use a VPN connection to view a game that's blacked out in my area.
    These problematic movies are all recent releases, and stream fine to my old 3rd gen Apple TV. And, not all new movies have this issue with the new Apple TV, but the ones that do can become unwatchable when the video pauses every few seconds or few minutes.
    Oh wow. Have you tried changing the DNS settings?

    The only repeatable common factor is the new Apple TV, and their being streamed from a local storage device over my LAN. My iMac is running the latest MacOS X 10.11.1 build, the latest version of iTunes, and the latest version of tvOS is running on the Apple TV. I've replaced the Apple TV, re-downloaded the movie multiple times, to no avail. My AppleCare rep has captured my replaced Apple TV (4th gen) for the engineers to check out, but since the replacement is experiencing the same issue, that won't help.
    Understood

    I have noticed that when you swipe up from the bottom of the screen to see the progress bar, that most movies show the small amount of buffering being used. But, with Ant-Man and Inside Out whenever that small buffer appears, it immediately disappears to the current playing position, so there's effectively no buffer, and the movie invariably stutters briefly before going on. Occasionally, the movie also pauses with a small spinning gear appearing below the progress bar. When this happens, I have to tap the jump back 10 seconds button (left side of trackpad) to get the movie to resume.

    I truly envy those people not experiencing the issue. It's extremely annoying, and if I weren't so enamored with all things Apple, I'd just return the unit and continue using my 3rd gen model.
    I'm sure it is annoying, and I wish I had a remedy for you. I will, however, experiment with some settings as well as read as much as I have time for to see if I can find a probable cause. Anyway, thanks for the reply....
    12-03-2015 07:54 PM
  8. Dave Marsh's Avatar
    No sir, but on occasion, I will stream a sports game from my iPhone to my TV when I have to use a VPN connection to view a game that's blacked out in my area. Oh wow. Have you tried changing the DNS settings?
    Thanks for the comments. I just want to be clear, my Apple TV (4th gen) performs great when playing content streamed from the web (so nothing's amiss with my DNS settings), either directly or via AirPlay from another iOS device. It's only some HD content downloaded to my local hard drive in iTunes and then accessed by my Apple TV (4th gen) that's having the stuttering issue. I have around a thousand movies stored on my RAID array, with just over 300 of those as Apple purchases. Of those, it's only a handful of recent HD movies I've purchased with a bit rate of over 5 mbps that are experiencing this issue. The reason this is a big deal to me is that I'd like to upgrade many of my older standard definition ripped movies (yes, I purchased the DVDs back in the day) to HD, but I won't if this stuttering issue isn't resolved. The standard definition movies all play fine.
    12-04-2015 03:00 AM
  9. Dave Marsh's Avatar
    Concerning the 5 mbps bitrate being a potential issue, I want to repeat that I can play these movies over my LAN to my other Mac without issue. It's only when the Apple TV (4th gen) is the destination that the issue arises. I just mention the bitrate because that seems to narrow down the new HD movies affected, and not all over this threshold are affected. In the end, it has to have something to do the the amount of buffering the Apple TV has to use to keep the movie playing smoothly.
    12-04-2015 03:13 AM
  10. dejanh's Avatar
    I was experiencing this last night with my iPhone 6s Plus using AirPlay to stream the movie to my Apple TV 4 as well. Incredibly annoying. No matter what I tired, nothing worked to resolve the issue. Connections were all strong.
    12-06-2015 08:07 PM
  11. Dave Marsh's Avatar
    Today's tvOS 9.1 update has resolved all Home Sharing buffering issues for me. As a bonus, the update also now supports the Apple Remote app on both the iPhone and the Apple Watch.
    12-08-2015 04:26 PM
  12. dejanh's Avatar
    Today's tvOS 9.1 update has resolved all Home Sharing buffering issues for me. As a bonus, the update also now supports the Apple Remote app on both the iPhone and the Apple Watch.
    Good to hear. I will need to test this as well tonight. With that said, it was not a consistent problem for me so I may have to report back some use over a period of time. The update does seem to have fixed the 2-second long-press issue I was having with the play/pause button on the Siri remote when using AirPlay (I had to press and hold the play/pause for 2 seconds to resume playback of AirPlay content).
    12-09-2015 01:28 PM

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