Netflix streaming issues persist on Apple TV | iLounge News


Netflix streaming issues persist on Apple TV

Issues with Netflix’s streaming service continue to hound users of the second-generation Apple TV and some other devices, despite complaints to Netflix and Apple dating as far back as last year. Among the issues being discussed on Apple’s Support boards, in various reports, and by iLounge’s editors and contacts include frequent pauses for buffering which can take longer than the duration of the selected program, complete connection timeouts, and error messages indicating problems loading content or communicating with Netflix. Calls to Netflix support have suggested that Netflix is blaming the issues on ISPs, regardless of the customers’ locations or bandwidths, while the ISPs have typically pointed the finger back at Netflix. Although the causes of these various issues are unclear, what is clear is that the problems appear to be widespread and unrelated to a given user’s location or internet service provider. We’ve reached out to Netflix for comment and will update this entry when we receive a reply.

Have you been experiencing issues using Netflix on your Apple TV? Let us know in the comments below.

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I have Apple TV2 and I am now getting the message “cannot communicate with Netflix. Try back later” - although it was working fine the first few weeks but then just suddenly stopped. Please help!! Anyone have a fix??

Posted by Holly Hollenbeck on November 28, 2011 at 7:26 AM (CST)


I’ve been asking for Netflix customer comments on Twitter all morning, and they all seem to have similar problems.  Apple devices, buffering, timing-out, as well as the usual selection and queue problems.  It just seems as though Netflix has had some bad luck, made some poor business decisions, and made it much harder for their customers to get the varied content they once did.  Now that I’m working for DISH, I can see the difference between Netflix and my new Blockbuster Movie Pass.  I can either stream live or order content by-mail, I have the convenience of one bill, an additional 20 HD channels AND it works extremely well with my iPad!  And the content includes more than 100,000 titles!!!  Check out all the details and customer reviews at the DISH homepage!!

Posted by erik on November 28, 2011 at 1:18 PM (CST)


Since 11/29/2011 we have been getting the “Netflix is currently unavailable” error. But only when trying to watch Sliders on ATV2. No problems with any other show or movie on the ATV2. And no problems when trying to watch on iPhone 4 or on a desktop or on a laptop. The show is still available for streaming. The thing that bothers me the most is the airline-like customer service provided by Netflix on this one. The message says to visit But there is absolutely nothing there that allows you to troubleshoot specific issues. Lame.

Posted by Eric on December 3, 2011 at 3:24 PM (CST)


ATV2 is unreliable and frustrating for streaming Netflix.  On a wired network with average download of 20MBper sec . it just stops playing. Switch to a different device,  LG BD 390, Macbook Pro, iPad . . . they all stream the same content fine. I’m to blame because I miss the the obvious conflict of interist of who gets the $ for streaming content, the Apple Store or Netflix. When your stuck on the side of the road, do you blame bosh for the bad fuel injector or the carcmanufacturer for using it and selling you a car that doesn’t work?

Posted by John on January 19, 2012 at 11:55 PM (CST)


I live in Canada. I have had an ATV2 for just over a year now, and it’s been awesome.  No issues at all.  Then on Jan 14 2012 it’s all gone down hill with netflix.  Can watch about 30s - 5min and it needs to buffer.  then again same thing.  Have tried rebooting, and all the tricks that have been mentioned on various websites, nothing.  Been on the phone with netflix.  They were saying it’s my isp.  Even after explaining it streams fine through wifi on my laptop and bluray player and that the ATV2 is wired not wifi.  Can watch HD vimeo and youtube without an issue.  And anything I rent from itunes is not an issue.

someone needs to own up here..

Posted by Kris on January 21, 2012 at 6:08 PM (CST)


There’s a problem communicating with Netflix. Try again later

Posted by Drew Marino on January 22, 2012 at 6:28 AM (CST)


I have the ATV2 and have the same streaming issues for Netflix. It’s gotten so bad that I watch Netflix through my PS3 with NO problems whatsoever. Done the unplug thingy but that’s only temporary.

Posted by Rick on May 24, 2012 at 4:18 PM (CDT)


I just purchased Apple TV today and love the resolutions on the movies and apps. The only problem which I can see is going to be annoying is the Netflix streaming. I own a PS3 and Xbox 360 and none of them have lagging issues as bad as Apple TV.

This isn’t a knock on Apple because I do love their products. I just can’t figure what the problem is with Apple and Netflix. 

Is there possibly a update in the near future?

Posted by Nelson Burgos on July 8, 2012 at 10:06 PM (CDT)


I think one of the key problems with Netflix streaming as opposed to iTunes’ cloud streaming is that Netflix doesn’t actually cache the video locally.  You can see this effect in the playback progress bar—for iTunes content, the Apple TV will pre-load almost the entire video into its on-board memory, as represented by the bar filling up white.  It never seems to do this for Netflix content, and the differences are particularly apparent when trying to navigate through a video (i.e. skip forward or back, rewind, or fast-forward), as it has to resynchronize its playback position with the Netflix servers, rather than simply working with a locally cached copy. Conversely, I can imagine that this would create additional problems for those with slower or higher-latency Internet connections, or for times when Netflix’s servers are otherwise heavily loaded.

I expect we would see the same issues with iTunes content if it were required to truly synchronize a “live” stream rather than downloading and caching the content.

Whether this difference is simply the way that Apple has chosen to handle Netflix content or as the result of some licensing/security issue on Netflix’s end is unclear, but the bottom line is that Netflix streaming clearly doesn’t get the same treatment as iTunes streaming.

Personally, I’ve had no problems with Netflix streaming as long as I’m content to watch the content through without trying to skip around or rewind, When I do try to skip back, however, it can sometimes take up to a minute before the Apple TV and Netflix figure themselves out and resume playback.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on July 10, 2012 at 10:48 AM (CDT)


I do not have an Apple TV, but I have an ipad that I hook up to my TV to stream netflix movies. It was working fine until the past week. It has started freezing about every 10 minutes, falling out of audio visual sync every 15 minutes and the image quality is abominable. Does this happen to anyone else If so, what can I do to fix it

Posted by Alex on July 15, 2012 at 5:26 PM (CDT)


We’ve been using apple tv for about a month now.  This past week we’ve had continual problems stream netflix and bbciplayer through ATV.  I’m pretty certain it’s an ATV issue and it is a problem if we use the ATV directly or watch something through our ipad/ipod.  It also makes no diference what remote we use (at first I wondered if it was a battery issue).

I can’t find any information anywhere on how to resolve this but it’s *very* irritating.  For the most part the screen just blacks out but the sound continues, but sometimes it disconnects completely.

I’m getting to the point where I’d be happy to send it back because we never had this bother with the wii and although ATV has it’s many pluses this is one of the main uses for us as a family.

Posted by S Rae on August 7, 2012 at 2:57 PM (CDT)


I have this isue for more than a year.  The problem is that Netflix works on computer but not on TV so I thought it was AppleTv issue,  However, Apple movies through AppleTV work fine using so I am baffled.  Thinking of canceling netflix,  FOr one year, hardly seen any movies on netflix

Posted by Nrmal on August 16, 2012 at 10:22 AM (CDT)


I having the same issue with ATV and Netflix in Tustin, CA. The movie will pause and go back to start every 5 to 10 minutes.

Problem started after updating the software for the first time after product was purchased, which was about 2 months.

Posted by susuto on November 30, 2012 at 2:46 PM (CST)


Keeps stopping and going back to film info screen, also approx 6 times on average during films it starts playing the start of the film whilst the audio stays up to date?!?!?! Never had ANY probs with lovefilm….

Posted by Peanut on January 1, 2013 at 6:43 PM (CST)


I’m having exactly the same problem outlined by Peanut on post #34. Has been doing this for a month or so. I’ve contacted Netflix twice via their support chat service and went through all of the obvious troubleshooting procedures, rebooted my router, restarted Apple TV, signed out and back in to Netflix. None of these have fixed the issue.

Posted by Tracy on January 2, 2013 at 2:16 AM (CST)


This is shit everytime i try to watch netflix on my macbook it freezes at like 2% or 7% or 4% and it just starts out at these percentages and doesnt move…

Posted by Ian on January 9, 2013 at 10:35 PM (CST)


I have the same recurring problem in the UK which seems to be duplicated on 3 Apple TVs running Netflix app in 2 different locations both on 2 Hi Speed connections, one in central London with the BT cabinet by the front door on a BT “Infinity” Op Fibre connection. Also the same results via wired LAN or Wireless connection of ATV.
I experience a ‘drift’ of the sound sync from about 0.5 sec at start of stream, developing into much greater lag of 1-1.5 sec eventually leading to breakdown of video stream entirely. I have been seeing the same results for several months, having gone through several iterations of ATV software updates.
We can run HD video smoothly on all ATVs, even on slowest connection on iTunes for example. The problem only occurs with the Netflix app and service.
It feels like a server delivery issue IMO, possibly linked to an issue within the app itself. Seems to be pretty clearly a Netflix issue, worldwide, from what I’m reading from others. Other services seem smooth.
Seems like this is a well identified issue with Netflix.

Posted by Jo David on February 2, 2013 at 4:40 AM (CST)


I had constant freezing, sound delays, signal interruptions, etc when watching Netflix through atv3. I tried every solution available and finally found the problem. The hdmi cable was too long. It appears the apple tv is not strong enough to push the Netflix signal through a cable longer than 15ft. Other devices will work on a 25ft cable but not Netflix. Shorten your hdmi to around 10ft and you will be amazed.

Posted by Wayne on April 1, 2013 at 6:32 PM (CDT)

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