Jerky playback on Apple TV 3rd generation (from MacBook 2016)

I play movies or youtube videos from my MacBook pro late 2016. I stream them to the Apple TV 3rd generation. Invariably the playback on the TV is jerky. Very irritating. Impossible to watch. For movies, I use VLC. Or for YouTube I use Firefox. Where should I start to troubleshoot this issue? Thanks

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Eoin OSullivanConsultantCommented:

You're looking at wifi/network speeds being the cause here in all likelihood - if you're using AirPlay it works over Wifi/Bluetooth and relies on a good connection -

To diagnose I'd recommend starting with a movie or video file ideally if you use a program like HANDBRAKE to take a HD video and create some lower resolution versions of the same file -

For example if you've a video in 1080P .. you create 720P, 480P and maybe an 800x600 pixel version

Then you stream them in turn and find out at what point the video starts to get unstable/jerky.  As there is little or no spooling/caching over AirPlay it needs a steady and strong signal to transfer a streaming video feed.

If the AppleTV and MacBook are both connected via Ethernet cable on the same LAN you should be able to play 1080P with issue BUT if one or both are on WiFi you're now going to be MUCH more limited in terms of capacity.

You need to perform all the usual steps when trying to improve WiFi signal .. moving the router .. trying to get the MacBook and AppleTV as close as possible to the router (the proximity of the AppleTV to the MacBook has little impact if you're on WiFi).

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greghollAuthor Commented:
Thanks! I'll try your suggestions and let you know.
Gerwin Jansen, EE MVETopic Advisor Commented:
I may be mistaken but YouTube is played directly by Apple TV where your Mac only sends a link right?

Can you check whether you are experiencing the same issue when connecting your Mac directly to the TV using the Apple TV hdmi cable? It could be a bad hdmi cable.
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greghollAuthor Commented:
HDMI might be a good option.  I could totally bypass the Apple TV.  Expect I'll have a messed cable running across the floor. Indeed I can use the YouTube app in the Apple TV itself. When I do that there is no issue. Sometimes, I'm just messing around on the computer and I'm too lazy to look up the video that someone texted me on the YouTube app. I'm watching in on Firefox and I'd just like to quickly "beam it" over to the TV. Without a bunch of mucking around.
Gerwin Jansen, EE MVETopic Advisor Commented:
I'm not in favour of running cables across the floor either, it was just meant for testing. But if the YouTube app on Apple TV is working fine then it's likely just a bandwidth issue. Depending on what you want to see from your personal movie collection, the Plex app for Apple TV could work for you. For media that is online I'd just use an app on Apple TV (like the YouTube app).
greghollAuthor Commented:
thanks guys.  it actually seems to be working good right now and I actually didn't change anything. weird.
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