Eventually I found the answer that worked for us.
To recap our Netflix, Hulu and Youtube was fine and our Apple said 56 hours to download movie. Tried umpteen settings in router.
Tested wireless connection speed was fine....However, our wireless connection was intermittent and everytime I tested we got a good value but in between we had bad connection.
Replaced router, however problem was on modem line itself low Signal to Noise ratio. After frustration with ISP we finally had it fixed and have never seen a problem again.
Something to keep in mind.
I have now read through the whole of this thread and tried both the change DNS thing to Google and then change to DNS used by your ISP and also the reset thing.
We have watched quite a few Apple tv mobies without this problem. This time we watched the line slowly crawl across the track from left to right. It seemed to have downloaded completely but still did not start. We now have the rotating symbol - no line across the bottom of the screen any more - and no movie. The menu tells me I have 29 days left to watch it, but when I press play nothing happens.
This morning (12 hours after I started the download) the little wheel was still spinning with the slogan "loading" under it. But there was no progress track across the screen below it. I decied to try the standard "if all else fails..." procedure and pulled out the power cord from the back of the Apple TV box. After ten minutes or so I plugged it back in and it rebooted itself to the usual high pitched squeal from the TV set.
I left it to sort itself out. And after a while the movie I had rented showed up on the far left of the list of available movies with a note under it that I still have 29 days left to watch it.
I had requested a call from Apple support but cancelled it.
I think this problem is a symptom with many different possible causes. Oftentimes the cause is external to the hardware itself and transient. In my case I'm pretty sure there were some glitches in DNS that were possibly compounded by DNS caching on the AppleTV itself. Switching DNS servers on my router AND rebooting the AppleTV fixed it for me, but it's equally likely that after X ammount of time the problem would have resolved itself. I've since moved back to my original DNS settings and it works fine.
If I had one recommendation for AppleTV engineers it would be to use some kind of heuristic alongside previous data to try and provide users with more helpful message about a possible problem and where it might lie.
After checking everything else – try moving the AppleTV box. I have been using my AppleTV for 2 years without ANY issues and it recently came to a screaching hault taking forever to load anything, including Hulu Plus. Our problem must have been from interferance with other devices stacked on the shelf. We simply put a box between the cable box and the AppleTV and everything was back to normal.
Too simple to be true, but it worked in my case!!
I had the issue crop up again for me and this time the wireless speed was excellent.
I took the recommendation of turning on and off the router and the apple tv but that only worked for about a day.
Then I took the advise of reset factory settings above and worked like a charm.
So 1. I would make sure your internet wireless speed is working well (you can check in the menu)
2. have latest firmware
3. reset everything.
*keep in mind if you reset everything you will need the native remote. Your iPhone remote will not work until you set it up again.
I had been having the same problem, with lots of bandwidth served to the house (20 MB DSL), streaming working ok with my Roku, and the Apple TV (TV2) taking hours.
I went to the Apple TV menu for Troubleshooting, which suggested Restarting (not resetting!) the Apple TV.
Did that, and all is well! In fact, I can even watch movies on the Roku (via Amazon) and the Apple TV at the same time.
We're happy now. Try RESTARTING your Apple TV, on the GENERAL menu ...
I have an 80 Mbps connection and it took 5 hours to download a movie with standard definition from itunes with my apple tv. It took 3 minutes when I used netflix on my ps3. Where is apple supports response to these issues....there are thousands of posts of people with the same problems? Speedtest.net confirms my download speed is 80 Mbps! I have reset and restarted my apple tv and download speeds of movies are still unacceptably slow!
I have an 80 Mbps connection and it took 5 hours to download a movie with standard definition from itunes with my apple tv. It took 3 minutes when I used netflix on my ps3. Where is apple supports response to these issues....there are thousands of posts of people with the same problems? Speedtest.net confirms my download speed is 80 Mbps! I have reset and restarted my apple tv and download speeds of movies are still unacceptably slow! What is the point of these discussions when Apple techs don't even read or respond to our posts?
Same problem in Colorado. I am convinced this is a problem on the server side. I watch yoga videos in the morning and evening. Morning is never a problem, but in the evening I always get the 1.5 hour download for a 30 minute TV program. Early evening is just kind of slow, and the later I wait to start the download, the longer it takes. It feels to me like their servers must get overwhelmed with evening movie watchers.
I poked around and could not find an Apple response to this issue. Is there one? Unabashed Apple fan here, but I'd like to hear something from them. It doesn't seem like good PR for your support forum to simply become a place for dissapointed users to commiserate with one another.
OK, I think the problem here is that there are a huge number of possible causes for this issue.
The problem could lie in one or more of the following:
1. Software problem on the AppleTV (try rebooting)
2. Home Software/Hardware/Configuration issue (check for wireless interference, reboot modem/router/appletv)
3. ISP and internet problems (call them up, try a different DNS server)
4. Apple server problems. ( not much to do but wait and/or complain )
Your problem sounds like an ISP thing (oversubscribed equipment based on time of day) but it could also be an Apple server issue. Have you tried to check your bandwidth at the two times of day to see if the connection itself is just much poorer? I've also heard that temperatures can sometimes affect unstable ISP equipment. Do you notice any correlation not with just time of day, but weather? Are weekends worse than weekdays?
Craigyk - sure there are a large number of problems that can cause this issue, but what people are saying on this forum is that they have investigated and eliminated the problems that aren't Apple, and what we're left with is Apple. Point by point:
1. Rebooting doesn't help. Software updates have not helped. And in the morning, downloads are consistently fast. The morning / evening divide is too solid to ignore.
2. I've done quite a survey of my radio environment, moving the Apple TV, and trying other Wifi clients in the area. It's great. I use an Airport Extreme in the next room. And my radio environment doesn't change from morning to evening.
3. I use Google's DNS servers. My download speeds are great. I have no problem consuming content from other providers. When I can't get a yoga video up from iTunes on the AppleTV, I pull one up on Hulu on the AppleTV. Works every time. It's just Apple content that is the problem.
The complaints on this forum generally demonstrate that users have gone through reasonable troubleshooting steps to isolate the environment, ISP, and content provider. AppleTV has a genuine issue here.