Sunday, February 19, 2012

Correcting Recent Apple TV Gen 1 (ATV1) Woes

The first generation Apple TV (ATV1) is one of the products that Apple got right technically but seems to have later decided that the product didn't quite fit into their overall direction of making content cloud-based, and as a result there have been ongoing issues as they have pushed the second generation model forward. As I have now encountered two of these issues and I have no immediate plan to replace my ATV1 with an ATV2 I thought the problems and solutions to be blog-worthy.

Apple TV Not Authorized to Play Content

Sometime around October 28 users started to have problems trying to play content on the ATV1 that had been purchased and synced from another device, such as their Macintosh. Since it is common for ATV1 owners to make their purchases on iTunes and then sync the content to the ATV hard drive this was noticed by the community very quickly. People became frustrated that their recent purchases could not be played on their TV through the ATV. Fortunately the solution is simple. As documented in a November 19 post by Winston Churchill (really?) of Poulton-le-Fylde, United Kingdom and confirmed by others including myself, the solution is to purchase something else on the ATV1. Fortunately the thing you purchase can be free. One something is purchased on the ATV1 all content that you have purchased will again be playable.  At the time the Ice Age short Scrat's Continental Crackup part 2 was free, so I "purchased" that using the ATV interface and afterward the ATV was able to play everything I had previously purchased.

Refusal to Sync with Apple TV following Lion 10.7.3 update

Yesterday I purchased a movie on the Apple TV and then tried to sync it back to my Macintosh and got the error "Apple TV is not responding. Check that any firewall software running on this computer has been set to allow communication on port 3689." Having recently upgraded Lion to 10.7.3 I do not know if the root cause of this problem is Lion 10.7.3 or iTunes 10.5.3.

I first verified that the Apple TV was working fine and then for good measure unplugged it and re-plugged it and it came up fine. It is connected via Ethernet, so I knew that the wireless network could not be the source of the problem.  I hadn't changed any security settings on my Mac recently, but to verify that the Firewall settings were not the problem I turned off the Firewall, and that still did not resolve the problem.

Finally I was able to solve the problem from within iTunes by doing the following:
- In iTunes right-click on the Apple TV icon in the sidebar under DEVICES to display the context menu.
- In the context menu there should be an option to Transfer Purchases from "Apple TV". Select that option.
- The recently purchased content on the ATV will then be transferred to the Macintosh. And after that you will be able to sync content back to the Apple TV again.

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