4K Playback Constantly Gets Apple Spinner

I need help diagnosing a problem. When playing my UHD backups I get the Apple TV spinner every 30 seconds or so. The Apple TV through Infuse does NOT appear to struggle playing this content once the spinner goes away, its almost as if its buffering, then the buffer runs out.

Here is my setup:

AppleTV 4k: Latest Firmware
Infuse Pro: Latest Update
4k UHD Backups on external drives connected to MacBook Pro
SMB sharing.

Wondering if these external hard drives aren’t up to the task?

Any help would be appreciated.


Just out of curiosity, have you tried connecting everything via a gigabit Ethernet switch?

I’m guessing you’re running wireless, what kind of router are you using? Does it by chance support giving media streaming priority?

Good question and I should have provided this info to begin with. I am hardwired.

WD Elements External Hard Drives via USB into MacBook Pro. MacBook Pro via DisplayPort into Ethernet. Ethernet running to Gigabit switch and Apple TV plugged into network via Ethernet.

There’s a known issue with SMB with Infuse that the next release is hoping to address. I get that buffering too on some movies when trying to watch it via SMB.

atv (not 4k) always get the buffer at the beginning. happens on all movies no matter what. movies mkv on macbook shared locally. wifi (100MBs router). also takes a lot to refresh the library.

Well I was hoping the new SMB update would help this problem, but it does not. If anyone has any suggestions they would be appreciated.

Is the Apple TV 4K and Infuse capable of playing full back-ups of 4k Blu-Rays?

Again, when it’s actually playing the content and not buffering it doesn’t appear to be struggling to play the content.

SMB sharing from a Mac can be a bit of a nightmare. First of all be sure to follow these instructions from Apple: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT205926 - especially the signing thing may improve performances quite a lot.

If it still doesn’t work I would suggest to install the Plex server in the Mac and use it as DLNA server. At least for testing. The Plex client on ATV 4K is pathetic, but the Plex server as a DLNA server has few to no rivals.

1 Like

I can confirm that SMB connection to my NAS has improved with the new build, where I’m not getting stuttering any more on full BD’s from my NAS.

1 Like

Depends what kind of files you play but I’ve tried WD drive attached to my iMac and had problems with UHD. One way to check is to copy one of the files to your Mac and see if issue goes away. If it still causes problems then it may be network related.

Great suggestion. I copied one of the files over to the MacBook hard drive and had the same issue. That means I have at least eliminated the WD external drive as the source of the problem.

Ok wow! Thank you.

Changed over to Plex DLNA and my UHD backups started playing buttery smooth. I had always assumed SMB was direct and therefore better??? Are there any disadvantages to using the Plex DLNA server?

But you might see some changes (done by the Plex DLNA server).
If SMB does not work well, you can use NFS, which I do.
It has been rock solid for me. (I haven’t tried DLNA for a while bit it has always been a mess for me)

On a Mac, the easiest way to use it is to install the free-to-use-forever NFSManager which you can find here https://www.bresink.com/osx/143439/download.php
The “easy setting” is to enable read-only with no other access restrictions for your media folders.

Really helpful! Performance of my MAC SMB shares are significantly improved.

Well, the major disadvantage for my use is that one looses the external subtitles, being not supported by DLNA. Only the muxed ones work. Then it depends on the client. Infuse organises the libraries from the DLNA shares quite well. Others just give access to the directory three as defined by the DLNA server. Why DLNA is much faster than anything I tested is osmething I can’t figure out.

Another very good protocol in my tests was webDAV. There is a free app acting as a webDAV server in the Mac Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/webdavnav-server/id747482894?mt=12

But it was crashing using it with Infuse as a client. Then I uninstalled it because I bought a NAS. And there the performances are good from Kodi but not so with Infuse.

I have like many others spinning wheel and constant buffering on 4K UHD remux rips. Normal BR-1080p remux rips play instantly and no buffering anywhere.
Mac connected to 5ghz network (get around 600-700mbit/sec internet test speed 1000/1000 fibre internet).

SMB = buffering every 1-2 minutes
NFS = buffering every 1-2 minutes
DLNA from Plex server running on Mac (seems to be triggering a direcy play when looking in plex) = NO buffering at all.

so a direct play from PLEX/DLNA would be 100% identical is PQ right? only downside is like somebody mentioned that external subtitles will not work?
Any difference in picture/audio quality compared to playing of NFS/SMB share?
As DLNA is only way for me to get smooth playback on 4K content.


Other major downside of DLNA is no library. IMHO library is the best way to view and use Infuse.

ok. not a problem for me. i use my ATV4k and infuse with my 4k projector. i just play a specific movie when i use this setup.
but PQ using DLNA should be 100% identical to SMB/NFS playback in Infuse correct?

It depends on the way the DLNA server is configured. It can do transcoding.
You can just check your Mac’s CPU usage (in Activity Monitor) while playing a UHD BR remux.
If there is transcoding, you should see a process heavily taxing the CPU.

You can also check the network activity to see if it is consistent with the media bitrate.

Btw, I am quite mesmerized by people having buffering issues when playing 4K BR remuxes over NFS.
I have never had any buffering issue while playing over NFS (from a very old Mac mini or a Synology NAS).
And I play 4K Blu-Ray remuxes or ISOs, as well as even heavier files.

My guess is that there is a bottleneck in your setup. And maybe over DLNA there is some transcoding or less data (only active video and audip tracks) is transmitted.

It’s being tagged as “direct play” by my plex server - so it’s not being transcoded. I was more worried about the fact that DLNA is using UDP as opposed to TCP and therefor might drop frames/data making picture worse. Probably not a huge issue in a probably 100% packet-loss free home LAN. And if i try to force it to transcode a mac mini doesnt seem to be able to cope with transcoding a 40-70gb 4k mkv.
Any tips of best way to enable NFS share on OSX 10.13? I installed NFS Manager keeping most things at default setting just creating a share. And by doing that i get same stutter using NFS as i get with SMB in Infuse.

I have a Synology RT2600ac router. And i get a very high throughput on my ATV4k using internet speed tests. So don’t think wifi/bandwidth is the limiting factor.
Any tips for NFS/SMB playback would be appreciated.

I have been the one mentioning the subtitles. What you loose for sure via DLNA are the subtitles you already stored in the folder(s). But the subs downloaded by Infuse from OpenSubtitles still work. So they do the subs muxed inside the container (at least with mkv videos).

Also I am not sure about it anymore, but I remember Infuse was able to create its own video libraries via DLNA. What one should do is to add to favorite “All movies”, “All TV Shows” and they should get their own place in the “bar” below the posters. Or even better, once one has added al DLNA libraries (as above), hide them in the bar, and add from Library the “view” one prefers (like all movie, most recent and so on).

Regarding conversions from the Plex DLNA server I never had an issue. It streams the video as it is, so as long as Infuse supports it you should be fine.

On the other hand I managed to enable webDAV on my Zyxel NAS. And that’s the best option, end of story. I have always had issues with NFS and SMB (especially NFS when I used my MacBook Pro as a server). With webDAV I monitored the traffic and I get peaks that are up to twice what I get with SMB. I am even able to stream the 400Mbps Jellyfish demo (via ethernet, obviously)!