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Thursday, March 10, 2011, 07:25 am PT (10:25 am ET)

Users report flickering issues with latest Apple TV software update

This week's update for the Apple TV set top box has created new issues and problems for some, as numerous users have reported screen flickering with various high-definition TV sets.

A growing thread in Apple's Discussions forums has dozens of posts from users discussing screen flickering issues that arose after the Apple TV 4.2 update released this week. The problems reportedly occur on a variety of TV sets from different manufacturers.

"There is a flicker (screen flash?) at random intervals of about once per second for a few tenths of a second," user RamonOC wrote. "And every 10-15 seconds (random), there is a complete video dropout for about a second or two. The audio is OK during all of this. It seems to affect every type of video including both menus and movies, including Netflix and home sharing."

Owners of TV sets made by Sony, Panasonic, Hitachi, Samsung, and Toshiba have reported similar issues after installing the 4.2 update. The flickering issue has been reported with a variety of configurations, including with a direct HDMI video connection, or with an HDMI to DVI adapter.

Most of the users who have shared their problems in the forum seem to own older TV sets that run at the 1080i resolution. The new $99 Apple TV, released late last year, does not support 1080i, but many TV sets and receivers will accept a 720p input and simply convert it to the compatible 1080i resolution.

Conversion of the Apple TV from 720p to 1080i reportedly worked fine for many users prior to the 4.2 update, which Apple released on Wednesday. The software update expanded support for AirPlay, added access to live streaming games from NBA League Pass and MLB.TV, and brought 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound for streaming Netflix movies and TV shows.

In addition to flickering issues, users said they are unable to change the HDMI output setting on the Apple TV after the 4.2 update was installed. For those users, HDMI output has been set to "Auto," and some have had their output resolution changed to a non-high-definition 480p picture which cannot be changed.

"I contacted Apple Tech Support tonight, and they sent it up to engineering," user kag49601 wrote. "The tech I spoke with had not heard of the problem yet, but after reading this thread, I am surprised by that... Hopefully we will all get another update to this so we can use our apple tv 2's with our older TV's once again."