AppleTV Users Complaining Of Slow Rental Loading, HDMI Problems

It seems as though the recent second iteration of the Apple TV has not landed without its own handful of glitches. According to AppleInsider users are complaining of streaming HD rentals not loading, and “HDMI handshakes” from aTV to television not completing.

The complaints say that HD rentals give an estimated load time of hundreds or even thousands of minutes, even when streamed across ample bandwidth.

Others are complaining that the compatibility between the AppleTV and a number of HD televisions is exceedingly spotty, notably with Sony and Philips sets. The users are saying they get frequent “HDMI handshakes” between the two devices, and when the picture returns, it’s with altered colors.

Are any of our readers suffering from these problems? Let us know in the comments thread, or on the forums.

  • Bruce Hanson

    I have tried to rent 3 movies in the last week. Each time, I got messages saying my movie would be available to watch in 2-6 hours. I went to X-Box Live and rented the same movie using the same ISP and wireless router as Apple TV and was instantly able to watch it. My average bandwidth download speed is 15,000 to 20,000 Kbps. To make matters worse, when one movie was finally available, it actually took an hour, I paused it to go to the restroom and found myself back with the 2-6 hour message. While it is working okay for some, for many it is not. There is currently no good reason to rent on Apple TV. The price and movie availability are the same as other competitors, and they work. Please fix this Apple.

    • Tom Parker

      Same problem… 6 to 10 hours… and then after the loading was complete it gave me the option to watch later… but when I came back to it and clicked on “play”… loading again 6 to 10 hours…! What a complete waste of my time!

  • Tupac Shakur

    Since the 4.2 update the apple tv has been terrible, before it I was able to rent and stream on it without issues now it takes hours to load which is pointless when you want to want the movie on demand. It pauses while watching it and you have to sit there in the middle of the movie and wait. Its terrible! I want a refund for these rentals. I will never again rent on my apple tv2 untill they fix this. I am renting from the apple store Canada and its terrible slow.

  • Evan

    concordo con l’utente di sopra! L’affitto è INUTILIZZABILE!!
    ho affittato due film da oltre una settimana e non sono ancora riuscito a vederli!
    Dopo l’affitto appare sempre la scritta “il tuo film sarà pronto per la riproduzione tra 123456 minuti”
    tra l’altro uno dei due non in HD sono riuscito ad inziarlo, metto in pausa per andare al bagno, torno
    e di nuovo
    ” il tuo film sarà disponibile tra un milione di anni”
    lo streaming da mac invece funziona molto bene.. ma il resto è una sola tremenda!

  • Chuck

    I got the exact same complain. The new apple tv 2G 4.1 (iOS 4.21) is really slow for rentals. I rented a movie and it took about 5 hours to download, went to sleep, woke up, browsed the catalog on the apple tv and I didn’t expect the movie to be deleted and to have to re-download. I then re-download the movie and started playing it. After 16 minutes or so, I paused it and changed the channel on my tv to see the last minutes of the eagles-cowboys nfl game and when switched back to my apple tv, to my surprise, there was an error message related to HDCP (hi def content protection) and after it went away, the movie was re-downloading AGAIN and I had to wait another 4 to 5 hours. I am truly disappointed with apple. This is personally, my first and last apple product I am buying.

  • Justin

    Yea same problem here. Netflix works great and is very fast. Renting movies on the other hand, is terrible and say they will take over 6 hours!!!

  • Leo

    We have been fine in the past, sometimes having to just pause the movie just before watching it for a while in order to have it buffer enough of the movie so it doesnt crap out while watching it. But today is extreme! We just ordered a movie and we are getting long loading times and showing it should be ready from anywhere from 6 – 20 hours! It keeps changing and is not very accurate.
    I rebooted the router, checked with speed tests and we have ample and stable bandwiths that should be able to handle a simple streaming movie. Apple has obviously a major issue on its hands … hopefully they will jump to the solution quickly.

  • cory

    Yep same issues here. Netlfix flies, AppleTv rentals through Itunes I presume, painfully slow like totally pointless. Apple?

  • Rod

    Same problem here. Renting from the Apple Store is absolutely useless right now. Streaming from my MacBook Pro iTunes works seamlessly but renting from the Apple iTunes Store on my Apple TV 2nd Gen is unacceptably slow to buffer. Fix this now, Apple!

  • Geoffrey Spencer

    I concur that update 4.2 has made watching rentals on ATV2 horribly slow. I watch the same previews on ATV1 and it is inredibly fast. Come on, Apple and Steve!! Test your software before uploading it to the public!!!!

  • Stephen

    The girlfriend and I sat down to watch Catfish (the movie) tonight, got a bottle of wine, some Chinese food, and clicked on the Apple Tv 2. Watched 25 minutes of the movie, and it caught up to the buffer. Waited. Waited. Tried to push play.

    Now when we press play, I get the beach all of doom (only it’s that little white circle that keeps spinning). Sometimes when we FF>> & then push PLAY> this works. But this time it didnt. Read a fix was to restore & then download the update. This didn’t work either. 4 hours into this movie, and ive only seen 25 minutes.

    When I push play it says ready to play in xxxx minutes (sometimes xxx hours!). The girlfriend tells me to call apple and get a refund. She says “tellem we want a refund for ruining Catfish, and our trust in apple products. Tellem we want our moneyback for Apple tv 2. They should have a recall. Tellem!”

    So I get on the support websites. I have a. Appointment – meaning someone from EXPRESS will call me in between 6:00 pm & 6:15pm. Hopefully I’ll get real answers. Hopefully I’ll get my refund. This is ridiculous. I can’t believe the xbox360 (MICROSOFT) is running circles around the apple tv 2!

  • Floyd O’Neil

    Yep, same problem. Netflix stream just fine. But Apple Rental is just NOT WORKING. Come on I thought the movies were supposed to STREAM! 4-6 hours before it can play. We have yet to be able to watch the one darn movie we selected Letters From Juliet. Now I am generally a big fan and supporter of Apple. Have been since my first 128K Mac but Steve are you listening your Movie Rental on ATV 2 is a failure right now. FIX IT. And yes I want my lousy 1.99 refunded with interest for all of the aggravation it’s caused! This is ridiculous!

  • Lathie Poole

    Ditto on the above. I was downloading a 40 min TV episode and it said it was “ready to view”. That lasted five minutes and then it began to download the rest of the show giving messages of up to 23 hours left before I could view it. I tried again this morning and it is quicker but I think it will be done about the time it is set to expire!! Really bummed. We had a movie work fine last week. LBP

  • Richard

    I seem to have the same problem as everyone else. I’m sitting here trying to watch Inception and after 40 mins its started buffering and I can’t do anything and have no idea how long to wait. It used to be fast, but since the new update it’s terrible. I’m going to seek a refund!!

  • Frank Carver

    The ATV2 is a disaster under 4.21.

    iTunes rentals take 12 hours on a 5Mb download pipe, where the PS3 can do an HD movie in 20-40 minutes. With VUDU under PS3 I can stream HD immediately, no problems.

    I have heard the firmware wrecks the wireless chipset, and I’ve also had problems with Netflix app, so I will try a hard eth cable.

  • Jon

    Same here. Rented Knight and Day in HD. I have tried 5 days In a row to watch this but no success. 2Mb download speed so i expect delays. 5 hours to load seems fine, but it never moves. I did one time get to full download by leaving it on overnight. Switched the box off the next morning after I had checked it was downloaded. That evening I went to play and it showed 5 hours again with nothing downloaded and I had to start again.

    Not happy….

  • Pedro

    I have been trying to watch Inception now for over three days, unless it is just a dream!
    At one point it said watch now, however I did not and now when I got comfortable to watch it, it says it will be ready in about 4.5 hours.
    A useless present from my girlfriend, who will be taking it back as soon as possible. It is easier to go to blockbuster a couple of days drive away.
    Apple have sold a car with a faulty engine, but in their normal fashion I do not believe they care.

  • Steve

    Yep..same problem..I think I’ll return the receiver. Still under 30 days….If I can get a person to talk with,

  • Steve

    Glad I googled this…i’m in the Uk tried to rent a film on Apple Tv and have had to give up…what’s the point in making it waste of bl@@dy time…they never said how bad it was when i had to cough £99 for it…dissapointed Apple to say the least!!

  • chris

    My issues are slightly different–I have tried renting three movies now and each time get an error message saying
    “error occurred loading this content–try again later” I have re-set the modem, contacted my isp, changed all the ports and still no movie rental
    Apple have no home support for apple tv so have now had to get an external apple re-seller to come to my home to try and fix the problem–cost for this service $175
    Go figure apple…………..unhappy atv2 customer

  • Matt

    Same problem as everyone here. Downloads so slow that we’ve given up on itunes altogether. We just use Apple TV to play movies through Netflix. Very, very disappointed and regret the purchase.

  • Kevin

    I have the same issue of movies taking hours to download. I wired Ethernet through my attic hoping a direct connection would fare better than WiFi but no luck. In the past, I had been power-cycling my cable modem, wrieless router, and Apple TV repeatedly until the movie started playing properly. For my last movie I tried ten times and no luck. So then I tried the following and it worked first time. Not sure if it was just lucky or will be consistent for future use, someone please reply if you find success (I don’t rent movies very often, no experience the issue every time I rent.)

    ** Solution: Under AppleTV settings, General, Network, Configure TCP/IP: toggle from DHCP to Manual and back to DHCP (or opposite if you prefer manual) **

    • Andrew

      This worked for me.

    • mark from germany

      i´ll give it a try and will follow up soon when it hangs the next time.

  • Stephen

    Same issue as many others. I have Apple TV and Roku and routinely stream from Netflix without a problem on either device. When I try to rent a movie on Apple TV though, it takes hours to download and then will often stop in the middle to further download, all for a $4.99 rental fee. It’s terrible. Given that I have ample bandwidth for other approaches to watching a movie online, it makes me wish I had not spent the money and more importantly the time on the device.

    • Danny

      Thank you that worked

  • Juan

    Same problem. Trying to rent a tv episode, got to 1 min remain the back to 60 min and i had been like this the last 3 hours. Apple tv 2g at this time DO NOT BUY

  • Mark

    Same problem, my ATV2 was working like a dream, perfect (Christmas 2010 to present) until I did the 4.2 software upgrade last night. Now rented two movies, which show available to watch in the same couple of minutes as previously, but now, when I hit play, I get Error occurred loading this content, try again later….wtf. Warning to everyone, don’t upgrade. Come on Apple, respond somewhere….when I googled this issue, it is appearing everywhere. Get this fixed before your stores starting using the returns as hockey pucks!

    • AnaT

      Exact same thing happened to me. Please forward solution when find it. I am desperate!!!!

  • Gary

    After bucking customer service for refunds at Apple TV, getting 2-6 hour downloads, reloading when playing, etc., etc., I WON’T RENT another Apple TV movie.

  • Sonya

    Exact same issue happening to me. Is there a way to go back a version update? Is there a soon yet???

  • Tara Twyman

    We have just rented a movie ´Death at a Funeral´ on our Apple TV through iTunes, started to watch it (downloaded really quick) however paused it to make a coffee, got back and it said it was loading and would take 12 minutes, then it changed to 2 hours? You have to be kidding me!! We were enjoying the film, really excited to get our cups of coffee and some chocolate to watch this funny movie. There goes £3.65 down the drain!! And they blame people for downloading things. Well maybe they should improve their products and services to make it easier for people. OK, we have tried 4 times, now it says 11 hours and 13 minutes. It is a Joke Apple!! Sort it out, you are letting the side down. We are big advocates of Apple products. I have a feeling the honeymoon is nearly over!! :(

  • Peter

    Same problem.
    Mine is going back tomorrow.
    Previews play, but the film won’t load and the error message explains nothing, as usual. They break the one function the damned box was built to perform.
    I don’t care if they fix it, I’m not funding incompetents.

  • MV

    Same issue here. Had the older version (with the hard drive). It worked great. We wanted to updgrade to the newer one because of the streaming properties. Downloaded King’s Speech and have been trying for 5 days to watch it. Keeps saying “ready to play in 123 minutes”. This hasnt changed for over 5 days. WiFi is working fine, as Netflix streams no problem. Piece of sh*t. Im going back to the older version.

  • Bob Conti

    Someone please contact me and tell me the answer.. I have apple TV and I’m streaming NetFiix.. the movie plays fine and then freezes for minute or two.. or longer, then starts again, then freezes. I don’t rent from apple tv but I can’t get netflix to stream without hesitation?? What’s the solution? I already have the highest bandwidth that my provider has to offer. ??????

  • Grant

    Same problem takes 2 hours to down load then it was stuck on 15 mins to download for 2 days. The first 2 movies downloaded ASAP, no luck since.

    Very disappointed with apple tv

  • Rich Wiegard

    Having the same issues that everyone else is having. Rented 4 Harry Potter movies this afternoon but can’t play a single one of them longer than 5 minutes without buffering happening. My ISP connection is ~20 Mbps down / ~1 Mbps up so bandwidth shouldn’t be an issue. DHCP is turned on. I’m now trying a direct ethernet connection and with that I can’t get the menu to bring up movies. ATV2 with the latest software is a piece of shit.

  • johnny

    AppleTV is the most absurd thing. Using a TimeCapsule 10 feet away it took more than 2 hours to load a movie. Of course, by this time it was too late to watch it. Tried to watch it the next day and it restarted the process. Now, for the 5th time, I have to WATCH the download to make sure it works and then watch the movie! This is the last time I’m renting a movie from iTunes. I use a lot of Apple products but this is the most useless product I’ve ever had from Apple. I suggest you stay as far away from it as possible. Failed job on this one Steve!

  • Kylie Hollis

    I am having a problem where I rent a movie on my Apple TV… come back to watch it over a week later and it is like it didn’t start downloading.  This has happened a couple of times.  The latest one I rented 10 days ago and just went to watch it and it said it still had 7 hours left till it was ready to play, even though the clock is ticking on the 30 days I have to watch it once I rent it!  My broadband is not super fast… but 10 days is a bit of a joke.

  • Barry

    Yes same problem as everyone else, my apple tv is not working the way I expected it to. I purchased two them and they both freeze up when watching netflix. I can stream netflix off of my pc or my wii just fine. Hopeing that a fix comes out.

  • mmarxen

    This slow loading is very, very frustrating and seems to be getting worse. I simply do not have the time to wait. What’s more, I’ve wasted money on rentals that I can’t watch because they say it’s going to take 8 hours to load. This happens with iTunes rentals & purchases, my iCloud content, and to a much lesser degree, my Netflix items. I have noticed that during the workweek day – when normal people are working, load times aren’t so long. So what does THAT mean?

  • Tom Robinson

    Yep: what a waste of time: we’ve tried to download purchased “The Help” and as yet have not been able to watch anything 3-5 hrs wait depending on prevailing bandwidth … “oh well we’ll watch it tomorrow”. HA! what a joke. On the next attempt to watch having allowed lengthy download… click “Play” and download starts over…. what a joke, waste of money. I wouldn’t mind a bit of a wait for streaming buffer but 5 hours is horrible.

  • Larry

    Same story here. We rented Moneyball and paused it halfway through to get something from the kitchen. When we came back there was an error message waiting for us that said we’d need to retry downloading again later, and of course 8 hours was the estimated download time. I won’t be home for the next 2 evenings so I’ll have to pay for it again if I want to finish watching it. I won’t rent from Apple again PERIOD! We’ve had similar problems trying to stream certain movies and TV shows from Netflix. I’ve been loyal to Apple products for years, but if they think I’d consider buying an Apple Television set at their premium prices, they’ve lost their collective minds. So much for Genius and customer service.

  • Mark Domiteaux

    What an awful product, hours to donload a movie, then it basically crashes on pause if you ever get to watch it. I can watch Netflix movies instantly thru the apple tv system so why is apples service so unfortunate?

    I am taking it back to the store, going back to using my xbox to watch netflix movies.

    What a joke, maube a class action suit is required.

  • Rick

    Tried uploading “Tinker, Tailor,,,”. Last night it said over an hour of upload time. Tonight, it’s even better….3 hours! Now, like everyone else, I’ve already PAID fpr te friggin movie. But I’m not sure I’ll ever get to watch it, unless I decide to set my alarm for 3am and watch it then. This just plain stinks. They’re not making any more money off me. This is the last time we try this bogus thing. Give me NETFLIX any day.

  • Marie

    I fell asleep waiting. It said I had 1 hour and some minutes left the last time I looked then when I woke up 3 hours later I still somehow had 8 hours????????? This is an outrage. Apple TV is a joke. Looks like its a RedBox night .. For the rest of my life :(

  • Justin

    I have never rented a movie on Apple TV that has seamlessly downloaded without any problems. 5 or 6 bufferings each time. Completely useless product and literally defunct function of this unit . Download specs are the fastest possible to my home (ADSL2) which is quick. To top it off $7 for a rental of a HD movie. I am actually writing this as it is buffering. I guess there is a reason why its cheap, because its nasty. Melbourne, Australia.

  • Felipe

    Its amazing that after one year of the first complain in this site (december 3rd 2010), the problem of slow rental loading continues the same.. I’m trying to load a movie that i rent and 5 hours passed and i[ve still waiting.. Dudes, No more rental!!!

  • Richard Walsh

    I live in Australia and am having the same problems as above. I try to rent a movie through Apple TV and get a message stating the loading time is 2-3hrs! Then on the odd occasion it loads (very rare) its stop start and extremely frustrating. I would strongly urge anyone thinking of buying Apple TV or using apples movie rental system to use another service. It amazes me how their billing system (to take your money) works perfectly anytime.

  • shawn h

    We just tried to rent a movie via iTunes and are experiencing the same issues as everyone else on this blog – long wait time and frustration – my husband just said we have 29 days left! I am very tempted to return the AppleTV – so far seems like a waste of money.

  • Suzanne

    Tryingot download my first rented movie on Apple TV and taking forever but the 30 days to watch has already started!!!!! This does NOT work. Better just to do Netflix. Too bad.

  • Hayley

    Awful product. Just hired my first movie, goes between telling me it will take between 40 mins to hundreds of hours to be ready to watch. I hope jb hifi will give me my money back

  • anon

    I am STILL having this problem. Bought the AppleTV last week and will most likely return it.

  • jack

    had to stop movie 5 times just to get an error each time and had to wait 30+ minutes…. never renting a movie off apple tv again

  • Tom R.

    AppleTV is absolutely HORRIBLE for rending movies. I’m a networking expert, and I have verified and re-verified my network configuration multiple times and it is definitely bugs with the AppleTV product. I’ve for a 28Mbps link to the Internet and everything but this piece of @#$%, including Netflix, ATT U-verse, and everything else works fine. We tried renting a few movies over the Thanksgiving break only to suffer through paused playback and messages like “19 hours” to download. The fact that these problems have existed for several YEARS and Apple has not fixed them are downright ridiculous. SAVE YOUR MONEY.

  • micky d

    Rental download time is bouncing all over from hours to minutes and back again. I’m done with renting movies on apple tv.