Apple TV (2nd and 3rd generation): Troubleshooting playback performance
Learn what you can do to troubleshoot playback performance issues when renting or purchasing movies or TV shows on your Apple TV.
Broadband Internet connection
For the best viewing experience when renting or purchasing iTunes content on Apple TV, you need a broadband Internet connection. A sustained 8 Mbit/s or faster Internet connection is recommended for viewing 1080p high-definition movies and TV shows, 6 Mbit/s or faster is recommended for viewing 720p content, and 2.5 Mbit/s or faster for standard-definition content. Internet connection speeds may vary depending on your ISP and other factors.
If you are not sure what your Internet speed is, you can ask your ISP, or use an online bandwidth test from a computer that is located on the same network as your Apple TV.
More troubleshooting tips
If streaming performance issues occur even with a high-speed broadband Internet connection, consider these suggestions:
- Check your home network
Along with a broadband Internet connection, your Apple TV also relies on a high-speed local network to play media content quickly and reliably.
To connect Apple TV to your network wirelessly, Apple TV requires a wireless router or Base Station that is 802.11 a, g, or n compatible for streaming video. For more information, see Apple TV (3rd generation) - Technical Specifications or Apple TV (2nd generation) - Technical Specifications.
Your Apple TV should also be within a reasonable range of your base station or router, and in an environment with minimal wireless interference. To verify the strength of your wireless connection on your Apple TV, from the main menu, go to Settings > General > About.
- If you continue to experience slow playback performance when viewing movies and TV shows, connect your Apple TV to your local network via a wired (Ethernet) connection. If streaming performance improves noticeably, then you should consider updating or troubleshooting your Wi-Fi base station or router.
Wired (Ethernet) connection
If you are connecting your Apple TV to your network via Ethernet, you should use a 10/100BASE-T or faster Ethernet network. For more information, see Apple TV (3rd generation) - Technical Specifications or Apple TV (2nd generation) - Technical Specifications.
If you continue to experience slow playback performance while connected to your local network via a wired (Ethernet) connection, consider contacting your Internet service provider (ISP) to increase the speed of your connection. You can also reduce the video resolution of the iTunes Store content as is described in the next section.
High Definition vs. Standard Definition
If your Internet connection is too slow to quickly start playing High Definition movies or TV shows, consider changing your iTunes Store Video Resolution preference to Standard Definition. To do so, from the main iTunes menu, choose Settings > iTunes Store, and toggle the "1080p HD" or "720p HD" option to "Standard Definition". Movie and TV show purchases and rentals will now be in Standard Definition.
Note: 1080p HD content is available on Apple TV (3rd generation) only.
- Update your Apple TV software
It's always a good idea to keep your software up-to-date. Software updates may include feature changes and fixes that may enhance your viewing experience.
Verify DNS and network settings
If you are experiencing abnormal wait times when attempting to purchase or rent on your Apple TV, it could be due to changes made to your network settings (such as the DNS address on your Apple TV and/or router or base station). You should use the default DNS entry supplied by your ISP, on both your Apple TV and router. Changing the DNS entry may result in a longer time before playback begins. Also, you should configure your Apple TV to use DHCP for the network setup, unless you have a custom network with specifically-assigned IP addresses.
To configure your Apple TV to use DHCP, from the main menu, go to Settings > General > Network > Configure TCP/IP. In the Network Setup page, select the "Automatically" option.
Once you've confirmed that your Apple TV and router or base station are using DHCP without a custom DNS entry, power-cycle your Apple TV, router or base station, and broadband Internet modem.