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PBS won't activate -- anyone else having this problem?

14236 Views 41 Replies Latest reply: Mar 1, 2014 6:55 AM by mcmom65 RSS
  • DrSchmenge Calculating status...

    In my case, the activation actually did work... but the page on the website never told me so.  I just kept getting taken back to the "select your local station" page.  But when I went back to the PBS channel on my Apple TV I was able to find and watch PBS shows.

  • Robert Myers8 Calculating status...



    i am away from my apple TV at the moment so will not be able to test any further with the PBS activation.  but thanks for taking the trouble to figure this out.


    "Would you mind sharing details about that device (model, software version, browser and version)"


    iPad mini, MD529LL/A, software 7.04 (11B554a).  I attempted with the Safari browser native to the iPad, so don't know the version number.


    FWIW, I also tried activating on my iPhone 5 with uptodate software.  And also an older iBook (the old white plastic one) with uptodate OS and Safari software for that year of iBook.  No hacks or mods on any of these devices.


    It sounds like some have used the PBS app on iOS devices.  I did not do that, nor do I have an account with PBS.  I did not attempt to login with Google+ or FB as the page kinda leads you to do, as authenticating an aTV app *shouldn't* require that.


    I have had success authenticating other aTV apps that do the authenticating via another online device, (from memory) the disney/disney junior apps, the ESPN app, etc.


    Hope that helps,

  • jpadula Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    As I said in my previous post, nothing has worked. My PBS screen has been stuck with the following message " A connection with PBS could not be established, please try again in a few moments."  Its been like this since the 19th. 


    The only thing that I didnt try, and I have been trying to avoid, was a factory reset of the Apple TV.


    The factory reset elimiated the stuck message on PBS and the activation prompt returned.  I used my iPad and was able to get through the activation steps. 


    It now works.  Again, I am not sure what and why it happened.  Im my situation, the factory reset was the only option.

  • kfregien Calculating status...

    Same problem,same solution--thanks

  • tessmar Calculating status...

    I am becoming more convinced that this is largely or totally a PBS issue. I was also a bit frustrated to find there apparently is no way to check a version number of the Safari browser on an iPad. My wife has one but I do not and therefore am not really familiar with the device. At any rate since the iOS on it is up-to-date I can only assume that the browser level there is the latest one (I also learned that you can't verify the version on the iPhone either).


    While there appears to be more success using the iPad I think this is partially coincidental. While there may be some asepct of the problem related to the browser, likely due to the programmer using proprietary html/xml  constructs, I believe the biggest problem is a timing issue or a broken process within the PBS activation process. As to resetting the Apple TV...I have seen other broken processes "hang" the Apple TV (Netflix has done it to mine once, for example), as well as having this happen very infrequently on one of our Macs. Once the timing or process "breaks" when the device is expecting something specific there are conditions under which it just sits there expecting a response and hangs, requiring a reset. Fortunately this has only occurred in my systems once or twice in many years. The last time it was a Netflix video which failed to initiate, after which I had to reboot the Apple TV as all Netflix would report was a vague error message and a "try again later" note to anything I tried to view.


    As to the comment about the activation process being unique to PBS, that is not the case. For example, you need to go through a somewhat similar process to use Netflix on Apple TV...either creating or logging on to a Netflix account. It appears that PBS has recently decided to do something similar, though it allows you to do so through Facebook and Google in addition to directly at This account creation/verification seems designed both to help them define their user base and to market to it through various channels such as e mail or social networks. It may also relate to how the service is paid for in regard to licensing fees and such between PBS and Apple. So IMO that is no different from or more or less annoying than what many other product and service companies do.

  • applover Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    If it's any help, resetting all accounts rather than restoring the Apple TV fixed it for me....


    Difference is that in my case I only had to reenter my accounts for the various apps while restoring requires downloading the latest firmware before being able to use the unit.


    Hope this helps.

  • Gerry Simmons Level 3 Level 3 (895 points)

    The uniqueness of, is that they use a 3rd party authorization service like Google or Facebook. Netflix, Hulu, Redbox, and most other streaming services want you to create an account on their website, AND they at least have a phone number or an email that you can call for technical support. I found NOTHING like that for (Of course, you can call them and pledge donation money!)

  • tessmar Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Not totally accurate, Gerry

    The third icon on the activation page, when it works , takes you to a page where you can either log in (if you already have a pbs account) or create an account. This is preciscely how Netflix works.

    I share your irritation about web sites which lack any contact information for technical issues or other questions, but PBS is not unique in that regard. As to donation of other funding requests (such as Netflix or Hulu Plus cubscriptions), the questions regarding licensing for streamed content versus broadcast TV versus cable/satellite subscriptions is contentious, but is unrelated to the topic of this thread, which is "PBS Won't Activate"

  • Exstew Calculating status...

    When I follow the instructions on my Apple TV screen for PBS, the PBS site has no activation landing page.

    PS..I just bought my Apple TV device this past week and PBS was not originally included in the menu. It was added a few days ago with an update to Apple TV. I believe this is a case of Cart before Horse  OR PBS is trying to get a donation before activation......Will try next week.

  • tessmar Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    PBS has been on the menu for some time...but as with most devices, the Apple TV on the shelf will not necessarily have the upgrade in the sw version supplied with the device. No donations are required to use the service.

    I'm not sure exactly what you mean in the first sentence. If you mean that you get the page to enter the code on the PBS site but clicking on one of the options below the entry box does not work, that is the known issue of the thread. If, on the other hand, the activation entry page does not exist or does not load on the PBS site, that is a new one.

  • William Dalzell Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    Update: Hadn't re-tried to connect to PBS since the Nov. 24 post, thought I would give PBS a chance to catch up to the Apple offering and fix their site. Tried again today and got the same result – clicking on the PBS icon to login or create an accound does nothing. Apparently there is a lack of coordination here between PBS and Apple and if they don't give a **** why should I. I will just hide the PBS icon on the ATV screen along with all the others I don't use and forget about them.

  • mcmom65 Calculating status...

    I did not succeed using my laptop, so then I tried on my iPhone and it worked. (In the meantime, my first code had expired and it gave me a new one -- so I can't be sure if it was the phone use or the new code, but regardless, it did work.)

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