I recently purchased an Apple TV mainly for streaming the TV Shows and Movies I had bought from iTunes onto my big HDTV. When I had learned that Apple will make everything available in the cloud, I thought it would be useful instead of connecting my Mac to my TV manually. So that works great, but I’m also a Netflix user and even though Netflix works fine on my iPad, iPhone and Mac, it has all kinds of problems on the Apple TV!
Firstly and foremost, it keeps pausing and buffering all the time when I’m trying to watch something. It’s nearly impossible to watch a movie because you have to keep waiting for it to buffer every couple of minutes. I’m sure other people have seen this issue and it’s mind-blowingly annoying!
So is there any solution to this? Well, depends on your situation. I researched online and there are a couple of things you can try and a few inconvenient workarounds. In this article, I’ll try to mention the steps you can take to alleviate your technology pain caused by Netflix and Apple.
Method 1 – Time Zone
Some users have reported that changing the time zone on their Apple TV to the correct time zone they were located fixed the buffering issue. Probably not going to work for everyone, but it’s worth a shot. Go into Settings on the Apple TV and then go to General. Scroll down to Time Zone:
You can either set it to Automatic or set it manually. If Automatic is on and you see the Time Zone is something strange and incorrect, then manually change the time zone.
Method 2 – Unreliable Internet Connection
Even though your Internet may be working, it could be that the connection is simply unreliable. The first thing you want to do is make sure your download speed matches what you are paying your ISP. If you signed up for 10 Mbps, then you better make sure that’s what you are getting.
My favorite site to test Internet speed is SpeedTest.net. It will give you a nice little animation showing you exactly how fast your download and upload speeds are.
You can also try to download a network monitoring tool that tracks when your connection drops. I found one called Net Uptime Monitor, but it’s not free. If you find one that’s free, post it in the comments.
The free version will monitor up to 60 minutes each time you run it, so you could try it for a couple of hours manually and see if your connection to the Internet is dropping. In that case, you have to contact your ISP and get them to come out and fix the issue.
Method 3 – AirPlay Mirroring
Another solution that is not ideal, but works, is to use AirPlay Mirroring off your iPhone or iPad and view it on your TV. If you don’t have any problem streaming on your iPhone or iPad, then simply start playing the movie/TV Show on your device and then AirPlay Mirror it to your TV. It will tie up one of your devices, but at least you can watch what you want without buffering issues.
Method 4 – Change DNS Manually
For some, changing the DNS addresses on the Apple TV manually helped fix the problem. Usually, the Apple TV gets the DNS information from your router, but it some cases the addresses may not be exactly what you would get from your ISP. It’s best to call your ISP and ask them what the DNS server addresses should be for your connection and then manually enter those into your Apple TV. You can leave everything else to automatic, but just change the DNS to manual addresses.
Go to Settings, General, Network, Configure TCP/IP and then Manually. For IP address, Subnet, etc just accept whatever is there. When you get to DNS, change the numbers to whatever your ISP gives you. Try that and see if the buffering problem goes away.
Method 5 – Check Network Hardware
On your Apple TV, try to switch between a wired and wireless connection. Some users have reported that when using a wired connection, the Apple TV was connected to an older router or switch. When they switched to wireless, all of a sudden the problem went away. It doesn’t necessarily mean only older hardware will cause the problem, but if you have multiple routers/switches and the Apple TV is connected via wire, it’s a good idea to try wireless and see if the buffering issue goes away.
Also, try rebooting your routers and switches if you have several of them. If you have one from your ISP like AT&T and then your own wireless router/switches, try rebooting them all.
If you’re as annoyed with this problem as I am, post a comment here and let us know! If you have found a solution that works for you, let us know also! Enjoy!