New Apple TV Constantly Dropping Network Connections

On Sunday mornings, I often like to sit in front of my stereo and listen to music, while I read a book, or the latest New Yorker. This morning, I wanted to listen to a new disc I bought (Towards the Horizon; Modificata; Incantations by Einojuhani Rautavaara), and since I had gotten my new Apple TV on Friday, and not hooked it up, I did so. Since it’s essentially the same as the previous model, I just connected it, entered the necessary passwords – notably for Home Sharing, to access my iTunes library – and sat down to listen.

Alas, this was not for long. After about 10 minutes, the connection dropped. I at first thought my router (AirPort Extreme) must have a problem, but when I went to my Mac, I saw that it was connected. Back to the Apple TV, it turned out that it wasn’t seeing any networks. I have two routers: the AirPort Extreme, with two networks, and a router provided by my ISP, which has one Wi-Fi network. In addition, I can see several neighboring Wi-Fi networks. But the Apple TV saw none of these, showing it was a problem with that device.

I went to check Apple’s support forums, and found that, alas, this is a common problem with the new Apple TV. A ten-page thread shows that many people are seeing this issue. Since the device has only been available for two days, this is especially disturbing.

I have been able to listen to music for a half hour, but at other times, the connection drops in less than a minute; often in less time than it takes to select music to play from the Apple TV’s menus.

Some of the posts in the Apple thread talk about ports and routers, but in my case, this is clearly not an issue. When the network connection drops, and I go to the Apple TV’s settings, no networks are seen, showing that it is, indeed, the Apple TV that is creating the Wi-Fi issue.

For now, I’ve resolved this by connecting it via Ethernet to a powerline networking device I have running to a video player box. But I’d rather not have to add another device – an Ethernet hub – to the many wires sitting behind my stereo and TV. Also, I’m pretty sure that 5 GHz Wi-Fi is faster than powerline.

Is anyone else seeing this?

Update: Apple has replaced the unit, and the new one works fine. So in my case there was clearly something wrong with the Wi-Fi chip.

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10 replies
  1. Michael Wenyon says:

    After upgrading our preceding-gen Apple TV (720p version), movies playing on our TV through the device, from an iTunes computer library shared via Home Sharing, would stop (crash?) every 10 minutes. We reinstalled iTunes on the Mac, and also found a way to reinstall the ‘same’ firmware version on the Apple TV. After that, movies played OK. But we never tried listening to music during this time, however.

    Reply
  2. SlothropRedux says:

    My old Apple TV (w/ newly updated software) is also dropping connections (both on Airplay sharing and on MLB.TV games. This makes me suspect it is the new AppleTV software update rather than the new AppleTV. But we’ll see if Apple fixes it. Thanks for posting this!

    Reply
  3. Derek says:

    I’m having a similar problem. I have one new AppleTV and two 2nd gen AppleTV’s all running the new software. When it won’t load the shared library, it will run Netflix fine. The only thing that gets me reconnected to my library is the completely restart the Mac that is running the home share. Simply restarting iTunes doesn’t work, have to completely restart the OS. After that the ATV units connect fine. I am having to do this every day since updating to the new software and iTunes 10.6.

    Reply
  4. Nick Burns says:

    I ordered an AirPort Express and a 3rd Gen AppleTV as soon as it was available to order – my first and only Apple TV. As a side note it arrive 3/15 a day ahead of release.

    I had my ATV connected via Ethernet. I hadn’t yet set up any Homesharing yet. After reading your blog post, I immediately turned on Homesharing on my PC, iPad 2 and ATV as well as setting the ATV to use the AirPort Express wireless connection.

    Once I knew everything was connected and each device could share my library from my PC, I set the ATV to start playing music. So far for the last hour, it has not lost connection {knock on wood}. I’m going to keep it playing to see if it ever does lose connection. I’m obviously hoping that it doesn’t.

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  5. Derek says:

    I erased the drive and did a fresh install of Lion on my Mac that is running my home share. I then added all my content back to iTunes (stored on an external Drobo device).

    So far, after four days, I’ve had no more problems and all of the ATV’s seem to be working better than ever with my home share.

    Reply
  6. Here too says:

    Started happening here as well. Noteably it started right after the latest iTunes update. Tried resetting and restarting my AppleTV and restarting my computer. no change. Every now and then I will stop and restart Homeshare Apple TV will see my computer and start to play a file but it will drop it after a couple of minutes.

    Apple forum has people switching from Wired to Wireless and vice-versa. I tried that, no change.

    On a whim, I tried again with my laptop that I did not upgrade iTunes software and now I can do homesharing just fine. Seems the latest iTunes update did infact break something. Older iTunes work fine with AppleTV.

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  7. Erwin Julius says:

    Today I’ve update my AppleTV2 software and installed new iTunes (10.6.1.7) on PC. Now my connection drops every 10minutes, maybe less.
    Its impossible to watch a single movie.
    Tried to setup Bonjour and make this free on firewall, but did not work

    Reply
  8. Earl T says:

    On the Network page of my ATV2, I can watch the network settings reset every 20 seconds or so. It’s a paperweight right now. any ideas? Thanks in advance! ET.

    Reply
  9. Peter says:

    It’s a useless exercise trying to fix it. Take it back to the Apple store and get a refund. We have tried absolutely everything and I mean everything. It only works for an short time before dropping the connection again and again. Google has a good tv coming out and it seems more reliable.try that.

    Reply

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