Why does my new Apple TV give audio but no video sometimes?
January 18, 2011 1:15 PM   Subscribe

Help me figure out why sometimes I don't get any video out of my Apple TV.

DVD player, cable box, and Apple TV (2nd Gen) plugged into an Onkyo HT-R580 receiver with HDMI cables. One HDMI cable goes out to the TV set.

Frequently (but not always, so it's difficult to reproduce manually) I will switch back to the Apple TV and won't have any video. I will have audio, and I can use it as an AirPlay device, or just hear the thing beep if I hit Menu several times. But I do not have any video.

Rebooting the receiver does not help.
Power cycling the TV does not help.
Rebooting the Apple TV does help - but I don't want to have to bounce my Apple TV every time I want to use it.

I have switched HDMI cables around. No effect. Issue persists.

The Apple TV is also set to Never sleep. I have tried other times as well and the issue persists. The remote control is good. The unit is less than a week old.

Is there a trick to getting an Apple TV to play nice with an Onkyo receiver? Google searches lead me to believe that generally they work ok. Any settings that y'all have discovered?

(I have the same question posted at discussions.apple.com, and no replies have been posted.)
posted by drstein to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I had a similar problem with an Apple TV, I also had an Onkyo receiver. Some googling around told me it was an issue with Samsung HDTVs talking to the Apple TV, though the fix that they suggested (something in the settings, I forget what) did not help.

It was sporadic, about one in 20 times or so, but enough to be annoying. I now have a Sony receiver and it still does it occasionally, though (I think) a bit less.

I think it's more an Apple TV thing than anything else, though I have the older Apple TV (not the first one, but the second one with the hard drive in it)
posted by bondcliff at 1:27 PM on January 18, 2011

This sounds like an EDID handshaking issue. I don't know much about the particular hardware, but I've seen this come up with AV receivers connecting multiple components via HDMI.
posted by BobbyVan at 1:27 PM on January 18, 2011

Also, try using the HDMI cable for video only. Use an optical (SPDIF) cable for the audio. See if that helps...
posted by BobbyVan at 1:55 PM on January 18, 2011

I 2nd BobbyVan, though I wouldn't know EDID if it bit me. But I have issues sometimes with the AppleTV and more often with my Tivo when I switch between inputs on my television. However for me the issue has always cleared up when I pull the HDMI cable and re-connect it.

I don't think that's an acceptable situation but I have not come up with any other way to deal with it. Unfortunately I think this is related to the mechanisms in place on these devices to deal with copy restrictions - I never had it with the original ATV or non-HDMI tivo - so you can chalk it up to another "defective by design" side-effect. Yay.
posted by phearlez at 2:55 PM on January 18, 2011

+1 on the handshaking issue. The supposed fix is a "HDMI Detective Plus" box but it runs as much as the Apple TV does.

A slightly better alternative (particularly if you had multiple HDMI sources with this issue) might be to look for an HDMI switch that simulates the handshake and use it to switch sources instead of the receiver.

My cheaper approach is to just power cycle the thing when it does this; one upside of the 2G Apple TV is that there's no spinning media to screw up by yanking its cord.
posted by nonliteral at 3:57 PM on January 18, 2011

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