Apple TV 4K video quality problem

On two occasions recently the video quality deteriorated noticeably when streaming a Netflix series episode using my Apple TV 4K. This happened when starting to view a 3rd episode immediately after viewing two prior video episodes with no problems - normal video quality. After re-booting (restarting) the Apple TV, video quality returned to normal.

There are no problems with my local network, internet connection or my ISP service at that time. Internet connection speed was normal (>900 mbps download) when tested on other devices and on my router. The TV - to Apple TV connection is HDMI cable that tested normal on the Apple TV’s built-in HDMI connection test.

The Apple TV is Apple TV 4k model A2169, 64GB, connected by ethernet to a 1GB switch, running tvOS 16.6. I keep of all of the Apple TV’s apps updated and recently re-installed the Netflix app (within the last month or so). The Apple TV tvOS was updated recently also.

Can anyone provide an explanation? Since the problem resolves with a re-boot, is this some sort of caching or out-of-memory issue that occurs after a long streaming/viewing session such as binge-viewing several video episodes?

Hard to definitely diagnose.

If it happens again, and you can tolerate it, I would let it keep working and see if the quality improves by waiting (i.e. see if there is something intermittant in the data/signal chain or if once degraded, it stays that way).

Anecdotally, some AppleTV installations seem to need power reboot every few days or week to remain reliable, while others work for weeks or months without reboot, so can’t point the finger squarely at Apple, but can’t take side-eye off of them either!

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It could be any number of things. Perhaps your ISP is having a problem delivering 4K content from any source or just from Netflix. Some internet providers set up peering with Netflix Open Connect to improve streaming for their customers. But I am only guessing.

When this occurs I would switch immediately to YouTube or some other site and try to stream 4K content. It might give you some more information if you decide to contact your ISP and/or Netflix for support.

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Thanks for the suggestions.

I don’t think it’s a 4K content-related issue. My Netflix account is “Standard HD”, so I’m not receiving 4K content from Netflix.

Yes, I was able to stream 4K content from another service (AppleTV+) without a problem.

I can think of several troubleshooting steps to definitively isolate the problem, but that might take hours or days to do. Just some elementary observations seem to rule out local network or ISP-related problems. My guess is that it is an Apple TV-related problem (memory, caching, whatever) or maybe a problem with the Netflix app. My next step would have been to uninstall then reinstall the Netflix app, but I did not proceed with that since the Apple TV re-boot solved the problem at least temporarily.

I am casting about for others’ experiences because this particular Apple TV is the newest of 4 Apple TVs that I own. If/when any of the older Apple TVs needs to be replaced, I want to know which version of a new Apple TV to buy. If there are memory or caching issues with a 64GB Apple TV, I would need to buy the 128K version.

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Good thought. Does “Apple TV installations” refer to apps installed on the Apple TV or to the tvOS installation on the Apple TV? I have no problem with re-booting the Apple TV every week or so.

I have sometimes had good results resolving problems by deleting, then re-installing certain apps on the Apple TV. My next step would be to delete and re-install the Netflix app …

… or maybe just delete the app and cancel the subscription for a while. Netflix’s recently-added content is marginal. And the subscription price has gone up. Maybe a workable strategy would be cancel the subscription for a few months, then sign up again for one month to view some content and cancel again for a couple of months. Might be a good way to fight the price increase of subscribing.

I’m just referring to general use of the AppleTV versus other streaming boxes.

(Sorry, integrator/installer jargon kinda slipped in here)

I have experienced the same thing in the same situation: the next episode in a series auto plays at a lower quality. I think it’s a bug in the Netflix app, as I’ve never seen it happen in any of the other streaming apps on my AppleTV. I have been able to “reset” the video quality by backing out of the episode to the show’s episode list and restarting the episode. When it starts playing again it’s the high-resolution version. Very annoying, but at least it’s not a full reboot.


Several times in the last week I have had this exact same issue, same circumstances and same solution. I agree that a bug in the Netflix app seems the most likely culprit.