Video playback issues with external USB


New user here so please don’t be too hard on me :smiley:

My Apple TV is on the latest firmware and ATV flash is fully updated too as of 29th Novemeber. All installed and working, got a Seagate Freeagent 2TB external USB drive as secondary storage and have transferred a couple of dozen videos onto it no problem. They can be seen and played by NitoTV, Sapphire and ATVFiles…

My proplem is that any of the videos will play just fine for a few minutes and then the picture will freeze for a second and then carry on, this cycle is repeated over and over. The sound continues to play correctly throughout. When the picture resumes it is still in sync… This happens on both ripped video files and on complete dvd dumps (VIDEO_TS). Have tried playing the ripped files with Sapphire and ATV Files with the same result. It’s driving me mad as this is the only reason I bought the software as my Apple TV hard drive is almost full. Incidentally, any of the ripped video files play just fine if I sync them across to the Apple TV and play them off the internal drive. They’re nothing special either just SD videos with a 2k bit-rate. The Segate drive is brand new and I can play the videos on my PC off the same drive without any issues…

I’d be grateful for any ideas what’s going wrong?



Is the drive connected through a USB hub? You may simply try swapping the USB cable being used as this type of behavior indicates a defective/damaged USB cable.


Thanks for your reply.

No hub, the drive is attached directly to the ATV’s USB port. Have since borrowed the cable off a friends Iomega HD and tried that and I still get the same problem :frowning:

Any other ideas? Anyone else had this problem or still having it?



I have virtually the same issues.

Is there a fix?


What type of file are you attempting to play, and what type of drive is being used?

I have EXACTLY the same issue. I have a Seagate FreeAgent 2TB external drive and all of my videos I try to play back skip and hop. Sometimes the sound plays and the video is stopped and the video catches up, sometimes they both stop and then pick back up. It doesn’t appear to be the cable. I’ve gone through two different drives now and I’ve been plagued with issues. The first drive I couldn’t get to work at all. Then I bought the Seagate and aTV recognized it but I have these playback issues.

I’m really starting to wonder if I made a mistake in buying this software because so far it has been nothing but a hassle. If there is a 2 TB USB drive out there that works with aTV correctly without all these problems I really wish someone would just speak up and tell me!

I don’t think it’s unique to a 2TB drive. I have a 1TB drive attached and have the exact same problem. All of my files are .m4v. Seems to happen every couple of minutes, I’m no IT guru but I’d suggest it seems like there is some kind of lag as it reads from the external drive and then catches up. Kind of defeats the purpose of the software - the ability to add an external drive is the only reason I bought this software

Exactly scottmb! That is the only reason I bought it too! I’m getting really tired of messing with it. I just want the thing to work. I’m willing to do what it takes but it needs to work when I’m done! Otherwise I just wasted my time and money.


I started this thread way back in November last year… I’ve given up trying to use my external drive now. No matter what I tried the problem wouldn’t go away. Each time an aTV update arrived I excitedly installed it in the hope that my problem would be fixed… only to be disappointed. 4 months later and nothing has changed so I doubt it ever will.

I too regret buying the software as enabling the use of an external drive was the ONLY reason I bought it.

Now I just make judicious use of the iTunes sync settings and make sure anything I watch is on the Apple TV’s HD and the rest is stored on the 2TB drive attached to my PC!



Try setting up an NFS or SMB share on one of your other machines and stream over your local LAN, that is what I do, and I have had no performance or other issues whatsoever. This also solves your problem with updates breaking the USB feature.

Just attach your USB drive to this other machine and share it on your local LAN.

Yeah I thought about that but that means I have to leave my computer on all the time which I do not want to do. Is there anyone out there who HAS connected a USB and doesn’t have lag time issues. If there isn’t anyone surely they are false advertising!

I’ve noticed this annoying behavior too.

Just curious… in the encoding of files, is anyone using source DVDs that have been compressed to fit on single layer disks? I’m wondering if this skipping behavior is more common of movies made from backed up and compressed DVDs. I’ve just finished watching a 2 hour movie ripped (via Handbrake/VLC) directly from the factory DVD and it played perfectly with not one stutter or skip.

No, the problem doesn’t have anything to do with the use of DVD’s that have been compressed or anything like that. I’ve got movies that I ripped as compressed and uncompressed and it does the same thing. It does it with movies that I’ve downloaded from iTunes as well. The lag problem HAS to be caused by the USB connection. I don’t believe it has anything to do with the type of drive, size of drive, etc. I’ve seen too many people have the exact same problem with all different types and sizes of external drives. I have to admit, I’m disappointed in this whole thing. I don’t care about ANY of the other features of aTV Flash. I ONLY bought this for the ability to use an external drive. It doesn’t work and now I’m stuck with a USB drive that I don’t need and software that doesn’t do what it is supposed to do. :evil:

Yup, I agree. Complete waste of money. I only wanted to connect a USB drive for additional storage but it seems that apple tv doesn’t do it properly with aTV flash. False advertising. I would guess on the average 30 min TV show it would happen 6-10 times, effectively making it unwatchable.

It may be related to a version of Sapphire that can cause a slowdown for some users. You may try reinstalling as described below.