Apple TV Woes

A few days ago I finally bit the bullet and upgraded to Big Sur (from Mojave). Since then, my Apple TV experience has been … poor.

I should start by saying that I do most of my viewing over Home Sharing. (I prefer to download videos once, to my iMac, and then use Home Sharing to view on my other devices.) Once I figured out how to turn on Home Sharing in Big Sur, it seemed like everything was fine, Apple TV-wise. Not so.

Just to be clear, both iMac and Apple TV are fully up-to-date, on the latest MacOS and tvOS respectively.

What happens is this: when I open the Computer icon on the Apple TV, and enter the home sharing option, I used to see posters or poster frames for all the movies and TV programs. Now, everything has a blank icon.

If I try to play a TV program, it seems OK at first…but after a little while the audio quality degrades, starting to get a bit patchy, and the picture and audio slip further and further out of sync.

I know this isn’t a problem with the downloaded TV program files, because if I exit back to the menu half-way through a program, and then play the program again, resuming from where I left off, video and audio are back in sync…for a little while. But then, again, they gradually drift out of sync again.

Any thoughts / suggestions?

I still use Homesharing from a Mac running Mojave. The latest Apple TV update is working OK for me so I guess your problems are associated with Big Sur.
As I have pointed out elsewhere, there is no (financial) incentive for Apple to support Homesharing so we are relying on their goodwill!
The frustrating thing is that it is no longer possible to revert software if an update wrecks a perfectly workable set up. We can really only rely on first-adopters to report problems on forum like these.

I just now updated my main machine to Big Sur (from Mojave), so I haven’t had time to play with Home Sharing yet. However, my general advice is to use a third-party server like Plex if that’s an option for you.

I tried to set up Plex, and maybe I was doing it wrong, but it seemed very complex with a web based server and having to sign in to use it. It that the way it is, or was I using it wrong? Is there a simple way that my computer can be a server like with Apple’s Shared Files (I really do not like that in Apple, I have to dig around just to get to the next episode of a TV series if I have not bought it from the iTunes Store) or is the web based server and need to set up an account the standard Plex method?

I use Plex for videos and Music for, well, music. I’ve had no trouble with home sharing the latter to my Apple TV 4K using Big Sur 11.3 and TVOS 14.5, but perhaps earlier models/OSs pose problems?

I can understand why @raykloss finds Plex complicated. There are lots of options to reconcile, beginning with the Plex Server (on your Mac), to the Plex app (on your Apple TV), to your Apple TV, to your TV itself. But there’s plenty of help available online, and like @jcenters I prefer it: it’s 4K capable (maybe HDR too, I haven’t checked), can play just about any format in any OS, and your account can be shared online–I can play all the content on my daughter’s partner’s Linux server, for instance.

O, and it offers a bunch of free content now. I haven’t tried any of it.

Are these video files from the iTunes Store? Because I wouldn’t have thought that Home Sharing would work for miscellaneous videos (e.g. MP4 etc).

I use Plex for non-iTunes store media (and video files from the iTunes Store AFAIK don’t work with that without conversion, which is why I asked).

An alternative to Plex that comes up frequently is Infuse. But I haven’t used it before.

Home Sharing has always worked fine for video files that were loaded into iTunes (or now, the TV app, I guess), as long as they’re in a formt that Apple TV recognises. MP4 is fine.

I’ve found part of the solution to my woes. All my movies and TV programs were showing up with blank icons because I had never actually started the TV program on my Mac. Once I ran that, the moves all showed with blank icons at first, but then the icons started to appear—as they were loaded from the store, I guess. (Annoyingly, the new purchased movie posters are all widescreen, and all the posters I’ve set manually have been portrait.)

You sorted it as I was about to ask that very question.

Actually this is the most annoying thing about Home Sharing, our main media library is on a server out in my studio and at times I have to find shoes and run out to turn on, load TV or iTunes. I wish Apple would simply give the option perhaps in the Sharing preference that standard media folders were available to all other devices on a home network in their respective apps.

Guess what: When Apple split up iTunes in Catalina, the old Home Sharing option became part of the Media Sharing panel in System Preferences->Sharing. See Apple’s description here.

Files are shared whether or not the appropriate app is running on the Mac.


Many thanks Alan. I think I never updated that server beyond High Sierra, the facility to do as you suggest passed me by.

That, I already knew. I didn’t realise, however, that so much of what is shared (icons for video files, for example) comes from the TV Application.

It’s quite irritating, incidentally, that video posters within Home Sharing are all wide (landscape) format, while within other sections on the Apple TV (e.g. the store) they remain portrait-format. It’s as if Apple started to shift from one to the other, but hasn’t yet finished. Meanwhile, I’m not sure where to find good landscape-format posters for movies and TV programs I’ve ripped.