Problem With Netflix on Apple TV 2? Maybe It’s DNS

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Many owners of the latest iteration of Apple TV are having trouble playing shows and movies from Netflix. When users attempt to play a show they’ll get the familiar “spinning daisy” as the show is loading, however, the show will often take many minutes, sometimes over an hour to start playing. When the show does start playing, it may quit unexpectedly.

A quick look at Apple discussion board revealed that the problem existed for some users early on, while others discovered the issue after updating their Apple TV with the latest iOS version (iOS 4 for Apple TV). The problem, they claim, relates to the DNS entries the Apple TV is relying on to find streaming servers for services like Netflix.

For the uninitiated, DNS numbers are Internet addresses for the servers that work as a translater for actual IP addresses for Web sites into URLs that end users can remember., for example, points to, and it’s the DNS servers that make sure you can see Apple’s Web site without forcing you to remember long strings of numbers.

If the DNS server your Apple TV is referencing is causing problems with Netflix streaming, there is a work around, and it’s easy to administer:

  • On Apple TV, go the General > Network settings > Configure > Manually
  • Move past the IP and Subnet setting by clicking on “Done” for each
  • In the DNS setting you’ll find four sets of numbers, set each set of three numbers to “008.” When you’re finished your DNS setting should read, which is a Google public DNS address. If you have access to other public DNS addresses, you can try those, too.
  • Insure that you’ve made the change by checking the TCP/IP settings screen.
  • Put the Apple TV to sleep with the Sleep Now command in Settings
  • Unplug the Apple TV
  • Wait ten seconds
  • Plug the Apple TV back in
  • Check Netflix

Apple TV DNS Fix

Set DNS Manually to

If all goes well you should be streaming Netflix shows.

Be aware that if you are using Apple’s Remote app on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad to control your Apple TV, you may lose gesture control once DNS has changed. We’re not sure why this is, but you can get gesture control back by resetting your device. To reset your iOS device remote:

  • Open the Remote app
  • Select Settings
  • Choose a library other than Apple TV. (I have two libraries, Apple TV and Vern’s Music. I select Vern’s Music) If you have only one library, tap Edit, then tap the red Delete icon next to your library’s name. You can re-add the library after you delete it.
  • Now select Apple TV then select Done

Now you should be able to use gestures again with your iOS remote app.

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Why would you do this? Just change the DNS entries on your home router! = Google DNS. Readers should be aware of this, as not everyone is content to have more Google stuff in their lives. There are other alternatives.

Open DNS is a decent one that’s quite fast.

The Level 3 servers might work better too. But really, this is something that should be done on your home router.


Out of curiosity what is the DNS setting BEFORE you change it to 008.008.008. Is 008 what it’s supposed to be from Apple and then it gets scrambled?


Out of curiosity what is the DNS setting BEFORE you change it to 008.008.008. Is 008 what it?s supposed to be from Apple and then it gets scrambled?

DNS is a setting and service that is generally provided by your ISP. It is usually auto-populated from your router or cable/dsl modem. I’m not sure what the ATV shows, but if you look at a Mac’s settings, the automatically populated DNS settings are usually grayed out in Network Preferences.

And I agree with Erin- you should probably disclose in the article that you will be using Google DNS by using


Well aware of that. The question is whether the Apple TV is using DNS from the users local ISP or if Apple ships it with a fixed address that is for some reason not reliable.

Personally I have no issue with using Google DNS service.

John Molloy

“Many owners of the latest iteration of Apple TV are having trouble playing shows and movies from Netflix.”

Wondering if this is related to the level 3 stuff and Comcast… Comcast are in the middle of a spat with Netflix - as they feel that they are stealing their customers. WIth Netflix on my daily network usage is around 6 gigs a day. No wonder Comcast are worried - they proised 250 Gig allowance a month but were probably hoping no one would reach that kind of level.

Vern Seward

Hello All,

Under normal circumstances the DNS setting on your Apple TV will be automagically supplied by your router whenever ATV initializes via DHCP. That was the case with mine.

The situation was odd because no other device I have had a problem with Netflix. The DNS setting when on WiFi or wire are the same on all my devices because they all get it from the same router.

Some folks in the forum had the same problem with Open DNS. Changing it to fixes it. Why? I dunno.

It is NOT a home router issue, it is something peculiar to ATV2 and how Netflix runs on it. So futzing with your home router is likely not needed, in my opinion.

But I could be wrong.

Vern Seward

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