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LOADING . . .  Your movie will be ready to watch in 3 hr and 14 mins

5550 Views 18 Replies Latest reply: Mar 19, 2011 6:03 AM by Martin_UK RSS
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Pier Rodelon Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Jan 29, 2011 12:07 AM
OK, I'm a fan of Apple TV. Bought the new one to replace an old Roku box that I sold.

Here's the problem: HD stuff is crazy slow to load. And when it's loaded, it doesn't stay loaded.

Thursday night I rented an HD movie and clicked Watch. I got the msg in the title of this post, or something very similar.

Thirty minutes later I got a message saying it was loaded and ready to watch but by that time we'd already moved on to another movie (in standard def).

So Friday night I clicked on the movie that had loaded the previous night, assuming it would still be loaded and ready to play.

No luck. Went back to the same msg in the title of post.

This is ridiculous, seems to me. Can someone explain what is happening? My wireless setup is Comcast high speed (8Mps), a Motorola SBG900 cable modem and wireless router. I get a fine connection on Netflix, VUDU, etc. thru my LG BlueRay player, and through the Apple TV in SDef. The connection, tested from Apple TV always shows only 1 bar unlit.

A couple additional questions: when you LOAD an HD movie, what actually happens? Is there memory on the Apply TV box to store the movie? Is it stored elsewhere (like on one of the computers on the network)? Are we really expected to take 30 minutes to an hour or more to download an HD movie we want to watch?
24" iMac Alum 2.66 GHz, 11.6" Macbook Air, Mac OS X (10.6.5), Fusion, Win 7
  • capaho Level 4 Level 4 (3,650 points)
    Can someone explain what is happening?


    The new ATV is strictly a streaming device, it doesn't store files. If you rent a video from the iTunes store, it will use its flash memory to cache the data for playback, but if you decide to stream something else in the interim the cache will be cleared for the new stream. This is normal for a streaming device.

    If it's taking a long time before enough data is cached to begin playing, you have a network slowdown somewhere, either on your ISP or your LAN. If your ATV is using wifi, try it by Ethernet cable. If that improves performance, you have a wifi problem somewhere.
    iMacs Galore, MBP, Mac mini Server, Mac mini HDMI, Antique ATV, iPadPodtouches, Mac OS X (10.6.4), The more I think, the more I think I shouldn't think more.
  • Alley_Cat Level 6 Level 6 (16,620 points)
    Pier Rodelon wrote:
    Here's the problem: HD stuff is crazy slow to load. And when it's loaded, it doesn't stay loaded.


    Movies are fixed size, they don't adapt quality to the speed of an individual connection.

    If you were getting a steady 8Mbps which is probably unlikely I'd expect an HD film to be ready in a few minutes at most.

    You may not be getting that 8Mbps - test with something like:

    http://www.speedtest.net/

    If you're getting 7-8 Mbps, then it's possible your local network is delivering a slower speed, especially if you're only seeing 1 bar.

    It's also possible your ISP is throttling your connection to Apple's servers, or contention with other users at peak times is affecting things. Occasionally Apple's servers are slow.

    I have a slower connection which is fixed at around 3.5Mbps - an HD movie is usually ready in 30 mins or so.


    Thursday night I rented an HD movie and clicked Watch. I got the msg in the title of this post, or something very similar.
    Thirty minutes later I got a message saying it was loaded and ready to watch but by that time we'd already moved on to another movie (in standard def).


    The standard def movie has probably displaced the HD one from AppleTV's buffer so it has to reload.


    So Friday night I clicked on the movie that had loaded the previous night, assuming it would still be loaded and ready to play.

    No luck. Went back to the same msg in the title of post.

    This is ridiculous, seems to me.
    Can someone explain what is happening? My wireless setup is Comcast high speed (8Mps), a Motorola SBG900 cable modem and wireless router. I get a fine connection on Netflix, VUDU, etc. thru my LG BlueRay player, and through the Apple TV in SDef. The connection, tested from Apple TV always shows only 1 bar unlit.


    Firstly movie size.

    HD movies are often 3-4GB SD around 1-1.5GB. They're quite large.

    AppleTV 1 and 2 start downloading the movie, work out the average connection speed, then calculate how long it takes to load enough of the movie to play it through with the rest downloading in the background as you watch.



    A couple additional questions: when you LOAD an HD movie, what actually happens? Is there memory on the Apply TV box to store the movie?


    This is one difference between AppleTV 1 and 2 - the 1st gen had a hard drive and would let you watch a movie once enough was downloaded, but once it had all downloaded it stayed until either, (if unwatched) the 30 day rental period expired, or if you'd started to watch the 24 or 48 hour view window expired (some countries get 48 hours to watch). You could also delete a movie if you wanted to.

    AppleTV 2 only has 8GB of solid state memory which is presumably shared between operational tasks such as storing photos for screensavers, miscellaneous data storage and movie storage.

    I had assumed before I got one that once a movie once downloaded it would stay until it expired, but a variety of things from playing music to renting another movie can flush the download from memory.

    To me this is crazy - particularly for people with slower connections who wait hours to start watching, then might need to wait hours again if they do something else like browsing YouTube.

    I cannot believe it is beyond the capability of the software engineers to manage the memory in such a way that a large download can remain whilst other less intensive tasks use other parts of the memory.

    Clearly the memory is limited, and if say you rented another HD movie then 2 might not fit simultaneously - I think if a download is about to be flushed from the memory there should be a warning requiring confirmation to proceed (if you have a fast connection an option to disable warnings in settings would be good to cater for all).

    What really surprises me is how illogical it is -if a movie has to download again both the user and Apple waste their internet bandwidth a second time. Someone used up 25GB to watch a HD movie one weeked in one of the other related fora.


    Is it stored elsewhere (like on one of the computers on the network)?


    No it's only on AppleTV temporarily or on Apple's servers.

    Are we really expected to take 30 minutes to an hour or more to download an HD movie we want to watch?


    Unless Apple's servers are playing up this is down to simple bandwidth issues locally or at your ISP.

    Take a 4GB HD download.

    8Mbps -> 1MB/sec -> 1024 secs for 1GB to download
    -> 4096 secs for 4GB to download
    -> about 68 mins

    So if film was say 2 hours then it can easily download completely before you finish watching so you only need a short period of buffering.

    If however you were getting 4Mbps the whole film would take 136 mins to download, so you need to download at least for 16 mins (probably a little more) or so to allow the rest to download as you watch the 2 hour film .

    On a 2MB connection 272 mins so you'd need at least 152 mins downloading to be able to watch the 120 min film without interruptions.

    To me your local network speed is likely the issue - if you can run an ethernet cable to AppleTV from your router to compare that might show that the wireless is the weak link. If other devices get good signal in same location it's possible you have a dodgy wi-fi card in AppleTV, but somewhat unlikely.

    Some users set to Google's DNS servers have also reported issues improved by changing this setting for their internet connections.

    AC
    Mac OS X (10.5.8)
  • Alley_Cat Level 6 Level 6 (16,620 points)
    Pier Rodelon wrote:
    Both replies very helpful, thanks.

    Couple of points:

    1) I thought the Mbps was megabits per second. Isn't it?


    Correct. I think my figures were roughly correct - does something not make sense?

    2) I said I have one bar UNLIT (I believe there are 5 total bars, so I am getting 4 lit bars)


    Sorry, misread that. I think mine has one unlit too.

    3) I checked my network speed at Speedtest and Speakeasy.
    4) I am getting 4.72 - 7.21 Mbps down
    5) I am getting 2.51 - 5.21 Mbps up
    6) These measurements are done wireless (no wire connected from router to computer)


    That sounds pretty reasonable, assuming of course the AppleTV gets the same, the 3 hour figure is too long - check you ISPs small print to see if they're throttling your connection in any way you hadn't realised. Could there be other people using a chunk of your network bandwidth while you're using AppleTV, reducing what's available for it? Automatic software updates downloading on computer etc etc ?

    7) I am now clear on the minimal memory on Apple TV (too bad they didn't all 16 or 32 G)


    I agree, I think however that the main concern was to make the device fairly cheap, it's a shame you couldn't just add capacity via USB (you couldn't on gen 1 either).

    Questions:

    1) Does Apple TV 1 perform less well than Apple TV 2?


    Personally I prefer my AppleTV 1 units, but it depends how you use them and where you reside and this is key.

    If you only want to rent and can get the download times sorted ATV2 is fine.

    ATV1 does not have Netflix, but being in UK I can't use that anyway so for me it's not a selling point. We also can't rent TV Shows in UK.

    If you want to use Airplay functionality from iphone/iPad/iTunes etc then you need AppleTV2 - AppleTV1 could undoubtedly do it too, but it would require a software update from Apple and I can't see this happening for a variety of reasons.

    AppleTV2 has a more powerful newer processor and runs iOS whereas AppleTV1 had a Mac OS 10.4 variant. This potentially means we could see an App Store on AppleTV2, but it may or may not happen. No one really knows.

    There are things AppleTV 1 does that make it more feature rich for me:

    I can purchase not just rent on it, it also lets me browse music/music videos via TV/hi-fi and purchase and it's unfortunate the new unit only allows rentals - I see no reason why purchases could not get downloaded to iTunes automatically on the new unit with the purchase just being made on AppleTV.

    Onboard storage is handy - I rented 3 movies the other day and still have about 3 weeks left to start watching - they're all downloaded and ready to go. I have a slow connection however (3.5Mbps). My network was playing up this morning, I could not play stuff for the kids on AppleTV2 - if it was a 1st gen unit I would have had content on it that could have been played without iTunes being open, whereas if local network/internet are not accessible, ATV2 cannot do much.

    There are some things I prefer about the menus on ATV1 and it has more versatile AV connections, but in practice they won't matter to most people.

    The downsides of ATV1 - it got very hot (by design to dissipate heat), used about 5x as much energy, was more expensive, much larger size (I liked it), less powerful processor, and despite the benefit of an internal drive this would eventually fail and is not user replacable. In fact for a dead out of warranty AppleTV1, Apple don't even offer a repair.

    Or,
    2) would it be a good idea to buy Apple TV 1 for the HD storage?


    AppleTV1 is discontinued and unlikely to see any significant software enhancements.

    You're only likely to get one secondhand or possibly old unsold stock somewhere if you could find one.

    Personally I find the HD storage on ATV1 quite handy but it was also limited. Even though I synced a subset of regularly watched kid's stuff to it my library was much larger than the 40GB or 160GB units could store so I often streamed stuff from iTunes anyway - streaming works fine on both, but the navigation/speed of buffering is far better on AppleTV2 on the whole whereas AppleTV1 could be poorly responsive.

    If you found one in good working order cheaply it might be worth a look, but otherwise I'd stick with the AppleTV2 which is likely to get software updates over the course of time to refine it's functionality or add new features (at least until the next version is released which could be anytime or never!).

    The original AppleTV1 software was a completely different experience to the final AppleTV1 software, and I would anticipate ATV2 imrpoving with time.

    I wish viewer had a choice of whether to watch HD or SD so viewer could adjust to changing network circumstances.


    You can actually change iTunes Store Settings on ATV2 to only offer SD content - unfortunately it does just that and doesn't give you the choice of SD/HD - check your settings menu.

    AC
    Mac OS X (10.5.8)
  • capaho Level 4 Level 4 (3,650 points)
    6) These measurements are done wireless (no wire connected from router to computer)


    The only way to know for sure whether or not you have a wifi problem is to try it by Ethernet cable. If you get significantly better performance by cable it's a good indication that your wifi is less than optimal at least as far as streaming goes.

    1) Does Apple TV 1 perform less well than Apple TV 2? Or,
    2) would it be a good idea to buy Apple TV 1 for the HD storage?


    My ATV1 has never streamed well, but syncing avoids that problem. The ATV1 doesn't support the newer features, however, like AirPlay and TV show rentals.

    I wish viewer had a choice of whether to watch HD or SD so viewer could adjust to changing network circumstances.


    Netflix adjusts the bit rate dynamically based on your network speed during streaming and will cache the entire video prior to continuing if the network speed becomes too slow to stream, but those features are not supported for iTunes video.
    iMacs Galore, MBP, Mac mini Server, Mac mini HDMI, Antique ATV, iPadPodtouches, Mac OS X (10.6.4), The more I think, the more I think I shouldn't think more.
  • ELM Level 1 Level 1 (125 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 31, 2011 7:51 AM (in response to Pier Rodelon)
    I have had similar experiences too. For a long time, my Apple TV 1 and Gen 2 both worked fine. We would wait 20-30 minutes for a high def movie. But lately, we cannot purchase a TV show or movie during prime time and expect to watch it. The download speeds during prime time have been averaging 2Mb/s - just not fast enough. I have even connected both via ethernet right to the cable modems.

    Don't think there is anything I can do???

    Has anybody else experienced Cablevision speed issues with Apple TV?
    iMac Intel Duo Core w/ 20" display, Mac OS X (10.6.6), iBook
  • vazandrew Level 6 Level 6 (12,930 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 31, 2011 11:39 AM (in response to ELM)
    What speed are you supposed to be getting? I would talk to your ISP
    iMac 2.8GHz 2GB RAM ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.8), Apple TV 2G
  • ELM Level 1 Level 1 (125 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 2, 2011 7:35 AM (in response to vazandrew)
    I did a speedtest yesterday during the day and the download speed was 12Mb/s with upload around 2Mb/s.

    At night the download speed can drop to 2Mb/s.
    iMac Intel Duo Core w/ 20" display, Mac OS X (10.6.2), iBook
  • vazandrew Level 6 Level 6 (12,930 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 2, 2011 9:11 AM (in response to ELM)
    So that drop happens even with ethernet? I would talk to your ISP about it.
    iMac 2.8GHz 2GB RAM ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.8), Apple TV 2G
  • ELM Level 1 Level 1 (125 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 3, 2011 5:28 AM (in response to vazandrew)
    Yes, even connected with ethernet. I was shocked too that the ethernet was that slow. I wonder if anybody else with Cablevision has seen anything similar? I hear that some ISP's make it difficult for Apple to download.
    iMac Intel Duo Core w/ 20" display, Mac OS X (10.6.2), iBook
  • psaltriparus Calculating status...
    I'm getting the same thing. "Your movie will be ready in 3 hours, 56 minutes". ***? That's not exactly what I just paid a hundred bucks for, Apple. And no, it's not my network. Everything else on my network is running blazingly fast. Plus I was just able to stream a movie from Amazon (thru their app built into my dvd player) and it started playing pretty much immediately.
  • vazandrew Level 6 Level 6 (12,930 points)
    Without knowing anything about your setup/network it is hard to completely rule it out.
    iMac 2.8GHz 2GB RAM ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.8), Apple TV 2G
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