Upper limit of Apple TV


Is there an upper limit to how much the Apple TV can handle? In my home media, I have an ~ 90GB .mkv file, bit rate around 60 Mb/s. This file had a few buffering issues while playing on the Apple TV 4K through Infuse.

From a server point of view, everything seemed fine, it wasn’t working hard at all. There could be a bandwidth issue but I’m not sure how to determine that.

I am wondering if we know if there is a point where the Apple TV itself will begin to struggle, regardless of the rest of the setup. The Apple TV itself got quite hot during playback.



There won’t be a hard file size limit in Infuse (we’ve tested some 4K HDR files which are over 100GB) but the Apple TV’s HW decoder will top out at about 200 mpbs (the largest commercially available videos are around 120 mbps).

You can find a variety of high-bitrate files here if you are looking for some material to test.

Aside from that, streaming large or high-bitrate files is best done over a wired Gigabit connection. Additionally, depending on your source device, you may have better luck using either SMB (can adjust version in share settings) or NFS. SMB works well in most cases, and is supported on a wider range of devices. NFS can be faster in some cases, but is a bit more fiddly to set up.

Thanks James, appreciate the feedback.

I’ll do a little more testing on my side to see if I can pinpoint the bottleneck, but good to know that in theory the Apple TV itself shouldn’t have an issue from a hardware standpoint. If I find something that might be of interest, I’ll post back on this thread.

Is your NAS wired and are you running wireless AC?

The Plex server is running from a wired source. The Apple TV is currently running on WiFi. I’m going to test it out on a wired connection from a Powerline and see if that helps.

I’d caution against basing the usability of Ethernet based on a powerline connection. There have been others on the forum that found their powerline Ethernet adapters were the source of their network slowdowns. One example Play 4K video on iPhone (2018) - #9 by The_Unknown

For just a test you may get better results from a actual cable if at all possible.

Wifi should also be sufficient enough if you’ve got a good 802.11ac access point. I’m streaming 4K from my NAS no problem with Orbi Mesh Wi-Fi.

For testing, WiFi has so many invisible variables that it’s not always what it should be. I’ve seen cases where moving a WiFi device less than a foot on a shelf has caused it to go from 10% signal to 80% just because of surroundings.

For the purpose of determining whether or not the issue lies in the network and sustainable network speeds a wired Ethernet cable does away with 95% of the hidden variables.

Powerline ethernet depends heavily on your individual house’s electrical system. On my house, built in the 1980’s, powerline speed topped out at about 100mbps, but at times dropped to like 50mbps. It was a reliable connection and bandwidth was fine for internet access, but not good for NAS file transfers.

I found the MOCA was the best and the closest you’ll get to gigabit ethernet. If your house is wired for cable tv, and you’re not using cable or satelite boxes which use a network streaming service to broadcast throughout the house(Dish tv calls this hopper, and comcast now has remote boxes which stream fromt he main box for DVR), then MOCA is the best way to get gigabit speeds at various spots throughout your house.

I fully agree with this. For purely testing purposes, I may try a wired connection however the best I’ll be able to do as a permanent set-up will be either WiFi or powerline adapter. When I’ve compared speeds in the past, I’ve seen wired >>> powerline > WiFi, so hopefully something similar will still hold true.

I should stress that the majority of my 4K content currently plays without issue. It’s only at the more extreme end of the scale that I’m experiencing any buffering. That’s why I was initially thinking about the theoretical limits of the Apple TV itself.

I will also add we have some pretty awesome internal improvements coming in Infuse 6, that (among other things) will allow Infuse to be more resilient to intermittent network issues and/or drops. In theory, this could help improve the overall performance of Wi-Fi as well.