Well I spent the better part of an hour trying to figure out why I have been getting this error message on my new Apple TV 2 and I think I’ve traced the problem.  I’m writing about it here to hopefully save people a lot of headaches trying to resolve this issue.   There is a thread here about the topic as well.

First, I read various threads on the issue and no one really had an answer that seemed to make any sense.  Most of the solutions were around resetting the HDMI cables, rebooting, resetting or re-syncing the Apple TV device, libraries, or flushing the cache by pushing down the menu button on the remote and pushing the down arrow on the wheel.   None of these things worked for me!

Second, I have four iPhone 4s devices and two iPad 2 devices which helped me troubleshoot the problem.   I also have 3 wireless routers in my home (don’t ask) configured in various firewall configurations.

The equipment in my solution:  I have a Cisco Linksys E3000 router with firmware 1.0.04 (I had to upgrade from 1.0.03).

I painstakingly replicated this problem on three iPhone 4s and most of the time the issues related to videos rented or purchased from iTunes since I didn’t have any problems with any other type of media stream in my library.

The solution:  My wireless router had been configured for both dual 2.8 GHZ and 5 GHZ bands in mixed modes.  After a lot of trial and error, I finally concluded that iDevices have some sort of problem jumping from band to band and cannot properly stream the video data from iDevice to Apple TV 2 in this multi-mode multi-band router setting.

The easy solution is to simply disable the 2.8 GHz band altogether and run all iDevices on 5 GHz band ONLY.  I’ve included a photo of the settings in the event you are using a Cisco E3000.

I could not get the iDevices to play nicely on an older Linksys router running Tomato firmware so if you have this setup, good luck getting it to work.

Cisco e3000 wireless configuration

(click for larger image)