why does my apple tv keep shutting off
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I have an ATV2 with a similar problem: the Netflix app frequently crashes while streaming video.
As reported by others here, the stream will often stutter a few seconds before the app crashes and the white LED on the ATV starts flashing. I don't have Hulu, so have no experience with that app. Our primary use of the ATV is watching Netflix content, and the occasional ITMS movie rental. My ATV2 is connected using ethernet (wired) to a GigE switch, and thence to a 60 Mbps fiber circuit. It has iOS 6. 2. 1 firmware. TV resolution is set to 720p @ 60Hz. I've read through the 5 pages of postings on this thread, and found reports of similar problem with Netflix/Hulu elsewhere. From what I've read, I suspect the issue is that the ATV2 is running out of RAM, and crashing due to buffer overflow or some other side effect of memory exhaust.
This hypothesis is consistent with various 'fixes' described on this thread: Momosi and others reported that reducing the Netflix bitrate from High to Medium mitigates the issue. With reduced incoming bit rate, the ATV won't need as much RAM to store frames of digitized video prior to decoding. The lower bitrate will thus reduce memory pressure. Someone indicated that cycling the power before streaming fixed the problem, at least for a while. When the ATV does a cold-reboot (as opposed to a Restart) various caches in RAM are cleared. So it would boot up with more free RAM, available to be used by the Netflix app. Someone reported that they changed the screensaver, and that seemed to help. It's plausible that some of the fancy screensavers consume more RAM. Someone reported that they swapped the ATV2 with a used ATV3.
All else stayed the same (network connection, Netflix settings, etc). The frequent Netflix crashes stopped. The ATV3 has 512 MB of RAM, vs 256 MB in ATV2. If there's a bug in memory management code (in the Netflix app and/or the 6. 2. 1 firmware), it's logical that the larger memory in the ATV3 would alleviate the spontaneous crashes of Netflix and Hulu apps. Prior to finding this thread, I had tried all the usual fixes (restart, restore, etc) to no avail. It then occurred to me that my Netflix issues started a few months ago. That's about the time that my brother shared a couple of Photo albums with me (via iCloud Photo Sharing) and placed over 600 old family photos in the shared albums.
My ATV2 has iCloud Photo Sharing enabled so the family photos can be viewed on our HDTV. I don't understand how Apple manages the photo sharing data, but it's clear that shared photos get downloaded on demand and are cached in the ATV2's RAM. Similarly, new photos in My Photo Stream get magically synced to the ATV2, no doubt consuming RAM. That led to my 'fix' for the problem. I logged out of my iCloud account on the ATV, which disabled the photo sharing features. Since doing so, the Netflix app has been stable. No more crashes. I surmise that by disabling photo sharing, any RAM used to cache shared and photostream photos was freed up, thus leaving more RAM for Netflix buffering.
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