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Critical Update Issued for Apple TV

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Ten days after updating the Apple TV’s software to version 3.0, Apple has released version 3.0.1 along with an alarming warning about users’ content “temporarily” disappearing.


From the uninformative and unintentionally hilarious support document, if you are running Apple TV 3.0 and “all of your movies, TV shows, and songs appear to be missing” or “all of your movies, TV shows, and songs appear to be present,” you should update to version 3.0.1 immediately.

In a letter to unlucky Apple TV users, the Apple TV team (at least those that still have jobs) gave instructions for updating.

  1. Reboot your Apple TV (unplug the power cord and plug it back in)
  2. Select Settings > General from the main menu
  3. Select Update Software
  4. Select Download and Install

After a restart, the problem of disappearing content should be solved. That’s the good news. The bad news is there are still a number of problems with the 3.x software.

Philip Elmer-DeWitt at Apple 2.0 beat me to the Apple Support Forum and found 10,000 page views for the missing content discussion, as well as continuing complaints after updating to the latest version. Reported problems include the Apple TV no longer syncing with iTunes, surround sound problems, new purchases not showing up, as well as performance issues.

It appears Apple’s “hobby,” as the Apple TV has been described by company executives, could use a little more developer attention, not to mention a purpose besides being an iTunes Store kiosk.

10 Responses to “Critical Update Issued for Apple TV”

  1. Rolf-Dieter

    After 13 months and $249.00 Canadian dollars plus Taxes my Apple TV has bitten the dust. The nice people at the Apple Support Group can only advise me to get a new one. My Apple TV was fine until the last Apple TV Software Upgrade. After that all hell broke loose. First I lost the video for a minute then two it came back then went again and again finally only the audio remained. Then after following the factory and resolution resets as detailed in the Apple TV Help sections noting was to be seen anymore on my TV screen only the audio remained. I don’t think it is very nice to tell me get another one. I had plans to get some more Apple products, I don’t think that will happen now. Perhaps it is time to switch back to a PC.

  2. I took some videos on a digital camera and copied them to the “Movies” folder in iTunes. I can play them off of the PC from this folder with no problem. However for some reason when I sync, I get error messages saying that the audio file format is not supported by Apple TV. They have an “.mpg” extension. Do I need to save these files with a different extension?

  3. Just one other point. You may be having a diiferent issue then me so I would still give apple a call before erasing everything on your atv. I would hate to be responsible for a miscommunication.

  4. Interesting: I had the same problems. Apple TV would start to sync and then, just stop after a few songs. The damn thing finally stopped working. Took it back to the Apple store, and without any problem, they gave me a new one. Then, after reinstalling the Apple TV and updating the software, low and behold, the very same problem. After calling Apple, they argued profusely that it must be my problem – the Apple TV is perfect and has no problems. Well, I know this is not the case. One might ask why Apple is not owning up to the problem??? Finally, an Apple store employee said that they know about the problems and that a major update is on the way – but I could not mention he told me……………………………..

    This whole thing is very unlike Apple. What do you think gives????

    • When I called the apple line I had a totally different experience then you. Even though my warranty had expired the rep did every single thing he could think of to help until they figured out what the cause was. Apparently the series of tv shows I had downloaded developed a glitch that screwed up the sync just in regards to them copying over. I was told to unlink my library after making sure everything else I had on my atv was synced, and then restore the atv to factory settings. Hold down the menu button and the down arrow until the atv restarts, then a menu will come up and you will pick factory restore. This will erase everything else that was not synced with your computer including favourites in podcasts, wishlists, and of course the media that was not syncing. A pain but it fixed my big problem so i didn’t mind redoing my wishlists etc. Once you have restored and then done the software updates to the atv, you  send an email on the apple support page for itunes requesting a “regrant” which will allow you to redownload the media without paying for it again. It took just under 24 hours for the approval process and an email was sent to me telling me to check for downloads in iTunes where the media would be ready for download. Once I did this process, the new downloads worked perfectly and all was well. A big thank you to apple. I know they can’t be perfect but they fixed my issue and did it even without a warraty. Kudos! Hope this helps anyone else who runs into this problem in the future.

  5. I seem to be having a slightly different problem than anyone else. I purchased a tv series on my atv and there were problems with that. I purchased a movie and even a song or two, all on my atv. And in that regard, everything went smoothly. My atv shows up fine on my itunes. My music, and other movies copy over to my computer, everything BUT the tv series copy over. In fact I can’t even see the series from my computer. My software is up to date. I have done hard reboots. I have even relinked my atv which took quite a long time. I probably never would have noticed that the series did not copy over if I had not wanted to set them up to watch them during my commute on my ipod. Any help would be appreciated.

  6. Article? iTunes kiosk? You mean like the iPod?

    Reboot? You have no experience with set-top boxes, I guess. Pretty usual for a device that needs rebooting a few time a year at worst. Why include code and hardware in addition – for a few seconds of leaving the couch?

  7. Travelr72

    I can attest to the ongoing problem of AppleTV not syncing with iTunes 9 – I have tried all of the troubleshooting options (including rebooting and reinstalling iTunes) and *still* my AppleTV isn’t showing up in iTunes. Now looking for the nearest window in order to see how far AppleTV can fly…

  8. Gazoobee

    I think the funniest part is the admission that you have to “reboot” it, and that this is accomplished by “pulling the power cord out and putting it back in.”

    So much for the idea that AppleTV doesn’t need to be power-cycled ever and thus needs no power or reset buttons.