Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums banner

Apple TV Rental Woes

4302 Views 12 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  KAD3190
Tried for first time to rent movie from ITunes on Apple TV (Gen 2). We have a wireless internet connection that can be problematic at times so rented movie on Thursday evening with expectation that it would download and be stored on the 8GB (I'm told) of internal Apple TV flash storage. One HD movie will fit there.

Next morning, checked and Apple TV said it was ready to play the movie. The terms of rental are you have 30 days to watch the movie, but once you start it expires in 48 hours.

Friday evening, start Play. The 'Loading *' message appears, then changes to
600 minutes remaining, then 853 minutes remaining. Watch this for a few minutes and decide we aren't watching any movie this evening.

Call Apple tech support, and while on hold peruse the apple discussion forums. Seems I am not the only one with this problem....
Apple tech asks a few questions, then puts me on hold. Comes back and says I need to talk to the senior tech rep (after only 3 questions :)). He comes on, I explain the problem, mention the apple support forums and the threads on there; all he wants is the URL to the apple support forums and gives me a case number.

I ask about refunds and he directs me to the Itunes store where after some head scratching I figure out their user interface to report a problem. [Clue: the 'Report a Problem' column that appears after pressing the 'Report a Problem' button beside the movie is a NON underlined Live Link that you need to click to actually type in the problem report]

3 email exchange later with Itunes store the following day, I am told I will get a credit... I had to quote the case number I received from apple tech support to reinforce my point..

It will be a while before I try to rent a movie again - probably not until an update appears for the OS on the Apple TV
See less See more
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
I personally have never had a problem renting from iTunes with my ATV2. I have rented 5 movies so far with no problems. My ATV2 is also hooked up via WIFI. Maybe it is your WIFI/internet connection that is the problem. You mentioned that it is problematic.
KAD3190, I hear your pain. From what I understand ATV 2 does not download the entire movie, even if you wait sufficient time, which doesn't make sense since it has 8GB of storage.

If true, it makes little sense since Internet problems can occur at anytime and not everyone is blessed or can afford high end broadband connections.

This is one of the reasons I ended up keeping my first ATV.
No problems here so far. Rented Predators yesterday and it booted up almost instantly.
With supposed 8GB of storage on board, I wonder why Apple doesn't download the entire movie if you let it?

I have only rented a few movies from Apple but I always liked the idea of ordering several hours before we wanted to watch the movie to avoid any streaming issues.
My ATV2 was working fine as well for a few movie rentals but lately we've had at least two movies that have stopped during the movie so that the buffer could refill. I'm not happy. My original ATV never did this nonsense other than almost two years ago and Apple fixed that permanently for everyone once they identified the streaming issues.

This new one is working fine otherwise but the iTunes streaming is broken. What kills me is they brag about selling only 250K of these things and it seems a ton of people are having the same problem which is well documented in the Apple forums. They sold MILLIONS of the original version and pretty much no problem. CLEARLY the fault lies with either the ATV2 or how Apple is handling the iTunes movie streaming to the ATV2.

This is not a networking or wifi issue for me. I have a new Airport Extreme router and EVERYTHING else is working flawlessly including Netflix on both ATV2 and PS3 and Home Sharing is also fine. 15Mbps connection with Shaw and no throttling that I'm aware of.

See less See more
With supposed 8GB of storage on board, I wonder why Apple doesn't download the entire movie if you let it?

I have only rented a few movies from Apple but I always liked the idea of ordering several hours before we wanted to watch the movie to avoid any streaming issues.
I miss the hard drive as well Hugh. We used to do the same thing from time to time and have a movie or two sitting on the hard drive when we wanted to watch them.

Not sure on the buffer though. I suspect it's a scratch drive that is used for a lot of things and ultimately may have to be partially used to store apps as well if Apple makes ATV2 specific apps available in the future. It definitely buffers the movie completely once you press play and authorize the movie but if you don't start the movie right away and press menu instead to play it later, it doesn't buffer it. It just seems to make a note that you've paid for it and you can stream it later inside of 30 days. The old ATV would still stream regardless and put the movie on the hard drive.

There is definitely something different in the way the new ones streams and I can't quite put my finger on it yet but I suspect Apple will sort this out once they figure out where the issue is. I hope.

One thing I am curious on is if anyone has already rented and played a movie and then decided to play it again inside the 48 hour window, is it still in the buffer or does it stream it again? Is it smart enough to leave it there unless another movie rental request comes in or does it just flush the buffer regardless once you finished the movie? Just wondering...

See less See more
I think they made a fundamental mistake by not only dropping local storage, but by really ignoring the original ATV at the same time. Sure, Apple enthusiasts know that they considered it a "hobby" but it's not like there was a warning on every retail package saying that it would be orphaned to a degree not seen in Apples other lines.

Latest salt in the wound is that Mac users who upgrade iLife '11 will suddenly lose photosharing through their first gen AppleTV because the database is no longer compatible.

Not impressed.
I have to assume that with 8GB of storage, 2GB could be used as storage? I just think that as long as you don't have local storage, you are going to have issues.

The only thing I can assume is that Apple does not want you to download an entire movie or TV show because then it can be pirated?
Constant streaming/restreaming is a mistake without some local storage

Consider your internet connection where you have bandwidth caps (in my case, it is 40 GB per month). I downloaded the movie thinking it would be ready to watch (4 GB gone). Then I go to watch it next day, and it starts again, there goes another 4GB. 20% of my monthly cap gone on 1 movie.

Apple needs to address this; until they do, I will not be renting anything directly, ever, with the Apple TV 2;

The 8GB onboard is more than sufficient to hold at least ONE HD movie.

My internet connection is wifi, max 3GBPS (typically much less on Friday evenings when everyone else in our community is using it :) ); everything in the house that matters is wired with 1 Gbit cat 6. No problems with internal network streaming from servers.

Thanks for the heads up on iLife 2011 and incompatible databases on Apple TV (gen 1) [which I also have but have turned off for now while we experiment with the ATV 2]
This is very interesting because my experience with the ATV2 has been nothing but positive so far. I rented 3 movies (Robin Hood, Iron Man 2 and Splice) and they were all ready to play in about 30 seconds (they were all HD versions) and never had to stop for buffering. I paused, fast-forwarded, rewinded without issues as well.

One thing to consider... the fact that you have a fast broadband service does not guarantee that your movies will not stop to buffer. Apple outsources the distribution of the digital files to CDNs (all 3 I rented came down from Akamai) so the connectivity of your ISP to these CDNs is also very important. I have a very modest 7M service from Bell but they seem to have good connectivity. The servers have no issues saturating my line (according to graphs on my Tomato router) and in conditions like this playing a 720P stream on 7M BW is no trouble at all...
Just a followup

Last weekend decided to go the ITUNES rent a movie route. Took 3 hours to download and store the movie (not HD), then no problems using the ATV 2 to stream from computer to entertainment center.

This seems a better route than constant restreaming; The ATV should store the entire movie 'locally' (space permitting ...) for the duration of the rental period.
Ripping (MY OWN) dvds to apple tv format

Have started the process of converting our DVD collection to Apple TV library (similar process to what people do to their CD collection for ITUNES) so that we can 'on demand' watch movies.

Disk space is cheap these days :)

Takes about 2-3 hours on an IMAC (2.66 GHZ) using handbrake (64 bit) per dvd.

Seems to play just fine on ATV2 from our server; sound and picture quality are fine for what we need - it would be nice to have HD for everything but this is one way to preserve past investment in DVD's (not to be repeated with blue ray).
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.