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Apple TV screen flickering after latest update

A number of people who have upgraded their Apple TV 2 units to the newly released 4.2 software update have been experiencing screen-flickering problems.

Along with the recent updates for Safari, Java, and iOS, Apple updated the software for Apple TV 2 devices to add more services and features, improve onscreen keyboard handling, and add more AV output options, including HDMI color modes, AirPlay, and Dolby Digital 5.1 for Netflix. While these features are convenient and welcome, a number of people after updating are now seeing a flickering output when the Apple TV 2 is connected to their televisions.

Apple Discussion board member "AppDad" wrote:

My ATV2 had been working great until I installed 4.3 today. Now every couple of seconds there is a very annoying flicker on the screen.

Others have reported similar experiences; it seems to happen with a number of different television makes and models, and to specifically be a problem for people using televisions at 1080i resolutions, or for people who are using DVI-to-HDMI adapters. This suggests a synchronization or timing issue of sorts involving the updated software's graphics drivers, and indicates that a fix will likely need to come in a subsequent update from Apple.

For those affected, there are a couple of things you can try:

  1. Reset the Apple TV

    Resetting the Apple TV can be done by pressing and holding the Menu and Down buttons on the Apple TV remote until you see the Apple TV LED light flash. If this does not fix the issue then unplug the Apple TV from its power and let it stay off for a few minutes before plugging it back in.

    You might also try resetting the Apple TV when it is both connected and not connected to your television (or when using the DVI-to-HDMI adapter). This may force it to change its output configurations and might allow it to properly set the output modes.

  2. Change HDMI output settings

    In the new Apple TV software, go to the settings and to the "Audio and Video" section. Then go to the settings for the HDMI output and try different ones for your TV. The default setting is to automatically select the best option, but it may not be doing this properly. A number of people have found the system is stuck on the Auto setting, but if you can change it then this may help.

  3. Change your TV's resolution

    Try a different display mode if your TV supports it. This problem seems to be affecting folks who are running at 1080i resolutions, so try changing the TV to 720i or 720p if you can. This may at least prevent the flickering while we wait for Apple to address this problem.

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