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Apple TV (2nd and 3rd generation): Troubleshooting video issues

Symptoms

Learn to troubleshoot the following Apple TV video issues:

  • Blank screen or no video
  • Fuzzy, staticky, or blurry video
  • Incorrect or inverted colors
  • Distorted picture

Resolution

When troubleshooting your video issues on your Apple TV, follow the categories below to resolve or isolate your issue.

Your TV picture is completely black or has other quality issues such as static or blurry video

  1. Confirm the settings and configuration of your television.
    • Check to verify that your TV's video input matches the HDMI connection.
    • Refer to the manufacturer's user guide for assistance with changing your TV input or picture mode.
    • Verify that your television meets the Apple TV minimum resolution requirements.
  2. Verify that the Apple TV's power cable and the HDMI cables are securely connected.
    • When connecting to power, observe the front LED on your Apple TV for activity. If no light is visible, try a different power outlet or power strip.
    • Connect the Apple TV directly to your television, bypassing any home theater receivers, splitters, repeaters, or switches temporarily.
    • Inspect all cables for any kinks, tears, or other evidence of damage.
    • Verify that the HDMI cable being used with your Apple TV is a bidirectional cable. Although rare, single-direction HDMI cables do exist. If unsure, try flipping the connection between your Apple TV and television.
    • If all else fails, try a different HDMI cable.
  3. Change the Apple TV resolution:
    • Press and hold the Menu and Up button on your Apple Remote for six seconds.
    • The Apple TV will automatically cycle to the next resolution at approximately 20 second intervals.
    • Press Play on the Apple Remote to keep the current resolution or Select to manually cycle to the next resolution.
  4. Reboot your Apple TV by holding down the Menu and Down button on the Apple Remote for six seconds. Allow the Apple TV a few minutes to restart.

Note: If the Apple TV video functions correctly after bypassing a receiver, switch, or repeater, please refer to the accessory manufacturer's user guide for additional support.

Your TV is displaying incorrect or inverted colors

  1. Verify that your TV does not have a special picture mode enabled (sometimes referred to as Vivid or Dynamic). This mode may be the default on your TV and can affect the overall colors, depending on the lighting in a room. Refer to the manufacturer's user guide for assistance with changing your TV picture mode.
  2. Change the Apple TV HDMI output settings:
  • On your Apple TV menu, go to Settings > Audio & Video.
  • Scroll down to the HDMI Output menu and use the Select button on your Apple Remote to cycle through the following options: Auto, YCbCr, RGB High, RGB Low.
  • When cycling through the HDMI Output options, your TV may take a short period of time to adjust to the new color profile.

Your TV has a distorted picture, such as being stretched or not filling the entire screen during content playback

  1. The Apple TV is designed for an aspect ratio of 16:9, but depending on your TV model, you may need to adjust the aspect ratio setting on your television. Refer to the manufacturer's user guide for assistance with changing your TV aspect ratio.
  2. Experiencing black bars on the top, bottom, or sides of your screen is expected behavior, depending on how the content you are viewing was originally formatted.

HDCP issues

If you are encountering HDCP issues or if you see this message, "This content requires HDCP for playback. HDCP isn't supported by your HDMI connection," follow these additional troubleshooting steps.

Important: Information about products not manufactured by Apple is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute Apple’s recommendation or endorsement. Please contact the vendor for additional information.
Last Modified: Aug 29, 2013
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  • Last Modified: Aug 29, 2013
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