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Apple To Fix Screen Flickering On Apple TV

David Gilbert


Apple To Fix Screen Flickering On Apple TV [Updated]

Apple has confirmed that it is working on a fix for a screen flickering problem with Apple TV following the latest firmware update last week.

An Apple support representative has confirmed to AppleInsider that it is aware of the problem and working on a software solution to the problem. The issue has arisen since last Wednesday when the 4.2 update was issued OTA by Apple. The update added AirPlay support in third-party applications, streaming of Major League Baseball and National Basketball League games as well as Dolby Digital 5.1 sound output for Netflix Instant Watch streaming movies. However what the update has also brought is a flickering problem for some older high definition TV sets.

The problem arises because the second generation Apple TV, launched last year, does not output in the 1080i format and some older TV sets will only display video at 1080i. Some TVs can accept 720p resolution from Apple TV and convert it to a compatible 1080i resolution and this used to work fine until the 4.2 update last week. Now users with TVs from major manufacturers such as Sony, Panasonic, Hitachi, Samsung and Toshiba are reporting problems. The problem has been reported by customers using direct HDMI cables, as well as those using a HDMI to DVI adapter.

With Apple already fixing some resolution problems with Apple TV back in December within a couple of weeks, users will be hoping this latest problem is fixed just as quick with a lot of customers on Apple's official support forums warning they will return their Apple TV if the problem is not fixed quickly. Have you experienced this problem? If so let us know in the comments.

Update: Apple has issued a 4.2.1 update to fix the flickering problems some user were experiencing. The update also addresses audio issues with the audio and glitch which puts everything to sleep permanently when the Apple TV is switched to sleep mode.

Source: AppleInsider


March 16, 2011, 1:41 pm

You would think that Apple would have tested this on a variety of TVs before releasing it.


March 16, 2011, 5:01 pm

I've found the AppleTV2 to be a great device, but frought with quite a few issues.

* Drops WiFi after long periods on standby
* Doesn't output video occasionally
* Connects to WiFi, but not iTunes (not as frequent)

Annoying, especially with the awesome potential of the device. The fact that it's not always recognised by my IP4 for streaming music (but is fine for video!), is also severely annoying.

There's just so much more that the ATV2 could be, if only Apple would pull their fingers out and get some decent UK contracts negotiated....iPlayer, 4oD, ITV Player, LoveFilm (in lieu of Netflix), Spotify...the list goes on.

A Scotland

March 16, 2011, 5:37 pm

David, did the recent update fix the problems with movies not streaming but buffering for up to an hour before being ready to play?


March 16, 2011, 5:58 pm


Hm, so how is this a great device? It rather sounds like anything but, especially as one of the justifications for Apple's price premium is that it "just works".


March 16, 2011, 6:39 pm

My iPod Touch 4G has also developed this weird screen flickering issue after upgrading to iOS 4.3. Very annoying.


March 16, 2011, 8:29 pm

ATV2 is a great device, but Apple's networking protocols become a bit of a letdown as soon as anything but perfect network conditions are encountered :( Still, mine's working really well at the moment - an absolutely fantastic way of throwing media at my home setup, be it from Mac, iPhone, or iPad.

Hopefully there'll be a fix out for this flickering quickly.


March 16, 2011, 9:05 pm

@Ouroboros - when it works, it works very well. I stream HD movies flawlessly once connected to WiFi and the streaming from the iTunes store is instant...and I mean instant. The interface is fantastic and very easy to use. Quality is very good and on par with Sky HD, in my experience. Set-up is very easy and connecting other services a doddle (flickr etc).

I've played with a lot of streaming devices and so far, this is one of the best vfm devices I've had. Like anything, it has it's +'ives and -'ives. Apple usually address these niggles in updates. Most recently (for me), the non-appearance of video has been fixed, I just put it in there for completeness.

In fairness, a simple and quick reboot (or sleep/wake), always resets issues arising.

Funny thing is, I've seen that all of these are resolved if you use an Apple Airport Extreme ;o) I'm sticking with my Draytek for now though.


March 16, 2011, 11:04 pm

I recently updated my firmware on my ATV2 and the flickering has made it unusable. I am converting HDMI to DVI and it was working fine until the upgrade. I then called apple support and the gentleman helping me was not aware of anyone else having the same issue. He then set me up with a genius bar appointment to look at he hardware, which is not the problem. I kindly informed him to google ATV2 screen flickering issue to better inform him of the issue I and apparently many others were having. he still suggested I go into the apple store with my devices. Poor apple care service. I then asked if I could restore my apple TV to its original software. He said that was not possible. I understand that the problem cold be fixed if I simply bought a new TV with 1080i. but it was working fine a week ago... frustration, hopefully apple will rectify the problem with another update soon. sigh

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