The revision of Apple's self-professed "hobby," the Apple TV, left a lot of people excited for the small, inexpensive, set-top steaming box. Unfortunately, if your Apple TV is connected to an older HD TV, you may experience video distortion. Users have reported that the new Apple TV may not be compatible with some television sets only five years old.
Apple Support Discussions user jitterysquid first posted the issue:
I got my new Apple TV gen 2 today and hooked it up in place of the old one. The picture was wavy. I removed the HDMI switch from the equation, no dice. I swapped cables, no dice.
The only issue I can think of (besides bad hardware) is that I use an HDMI->DVI cable for the last leg to my TV. It's not a converter, it is fully HDCP aware, and it works fine with ATV G1 and a Roku for Netflix HD streaming.
Other users have chimed in, stating that they are having the same issues and that a straight HDMI > HDMI cable has not solved the issue. The common theme, though, seems to be the age of the television sets that users are attempting to connect the new Apple TV to--approximately five years or older.
One forum poster, sberrier, recorded the problem and posted it to YouTube.
The official tech specs on the new Apple TV on Apple's Web site read:
Compatible with high-definition TVs with HDMI and capable of 720p 60/50Hz,2 including popular models from these manufacturers: Hitachi, JVC, LG, Mitsubishi, NEC, Panasonic, Philips, Pioneer, Samsung, Sony, Sharp, Toshiba, Vizio, Westinghouse
Though many all of the forum posters claim their televisions are capable of full 720p, there still seems to be an issue. Most users have also reported that the same Apple TV unit works on newer HD TVs they tested. It is possible the issue could lie in a setting on the TV itself. Be sure your set is not configured to stretch incoming signals to 1080i. If so, set it to 720p and you should get a clearer picture.
The other possibility is that the Apple TV software is not sending a signal that is completely usable by older HD TV models. If this is the case, expect Apple to release updates that continue to include television compatibility (along the line of printer driver updates).
Interestingly, competing Roku HD set-top boxes have analog video outputs--a nice backup option should something like this compatibility issue arise. If you are experiencing this issue with your Apple TV, call AppleCare and explain the issue. One forum user posted that they are receiving a replacement Apple TV after talking to AppleCare.
Are you having any issues with your new Apple TV? Let us know in the comments!