AppleTV Video Stuttering - Solved

In a recent post, I mentioned that our viewing of "Birdman" on the AppleTV was so juddery that it was essentially unwatchable. 

Last night, my son and I rented "Raiders of the Lost Ark" in HD on the AppleTV. 

And good news - the video problem has been resolved. 
Our AppleTV 3, it appears, is one of the units that was eligible for a recall due to wi-fi issues. 

In the past, we definitely had problems with video loading over wi-fi, or losing the connection to our network. 

We solved THAT particular problem by connecting the AppleTV to an Airport Express unit via Ethernet. 

(As we finish our basement this year, we're running CAT6 ethernet cable throughout the first floor and basement - so we won't be relying on wi-fi-to-Ethernet in the future.)

But in the last few weeks, we noticed issues with streaming video. The frame would stick - sometimes for a second, sometimes longer - while the audio continued with no issues. 

It was a serious problem when watching "Gone Girl" and then "Birdman". Pausing the video to let it buffer helped, and the problem would get less apparent as the movie went on - presumably because the video was done downloading and was appearing from flash memory. 

Still, a very subpar experience. 

In the Apple Forums, people recommended doing a restart, or even a restore, of the AppleTV. 

And that's where I found a bigger issue - I hadn't updated my AppleTV iOS in a year. 

After a lengthy update process, I was looking at new fonts, and a TON more channels. Too many, actually. 

But would the software update fix the video stuttering problem? 

In a word, YES. 

Our viewing of "Raiders" was perfect. It was in crystal clear HD, and never had an issue with video or audio - even when we stopped halfway through (it was a school night) and re-started a day later. 

Some more good news re: AppleTV rentals. 

As we all know, you have 24 hours to watch your movie. once you start. 

BUT if you're watching the movie as that 24-hour period expires, they let you finish watching the movie

I was fully expecting the movie to stop, and for Apple to ask me for another $3.99. That never happened. 

Now, AFTER the movie, we went to exit during the credits, and the AppleTV warned that the rental period had expired and we wouldn't be able to re-start. 

But letting us finish the movie on Night 2 was a VERY customer-friendly way to handle movie rentals. Thanks, Apple. 

We're going to keep putting the AppleTV through its paces... trying out Netflix and HBO GO streaming, for instance. 

But the fact that an iTunes rental actually met our expectations was a giant leap forward. We're happy customers again. 


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