Apple TV and Google DNS Issues

A few days ago I suggested anyone using Google Apps should use Google Public DNS. The performance difference at my house in Keystone (which uses Comcast) has been dramatic for almost everything.

The one disaster has been Apple TV. Suddenly, Apple TV which previously worked no longer buffered well and HD shows took an interminably long time to load.

I confirmed there was an issue by searching (in Google) for “Apple TV Google DNS.” I quickly found confirmation of the problem, but as I laboriously trolled through threads on Apple’s support site and things Google search turned up, I found no answers. Only complaints. And flame wars. And nonsense.

The only logical thing was that Google Public DNS and the Apple CDN weren’t playing nice. Trying to dig deeper into that surfaced more complaints, but no real solutions. The FAQ for Google Public DNS has a short explanation of the potential problem, but then a bunch of nonsense and self-justification for the balance of the FAQ. Again – no solution.

So I started fucking around with my Apple TV settings. Searching the Apple support site didn’t help me much except for the hint somewhere to edit the WiFi settings manually. It took me a while to figure out how to do this (Settings-General-Network-WiFi (assuming you’ve already got something set up) and then while highlighting the network hit the Center button on the Apple TV remote.

The punch line is that you leave the “Configure IP” setting alone (let it do this automatically) but change the “Configure DNS” setting to “Manual.” Then enter the DNS for your ISP. In my case, I’m using Comcast, so it’s 75.75.76.76. If you don’t know the DNS setting for your ISP, you can usually find it via Google or go back to a default config on your router setup (before you changed it to the Google Public DNS of 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4.)

Voila – amazing. Lightening fast Apple TV on Comcast’s DNS, lightening fast Gmail on Google Apps, and everything else is rock solid.

  • http://www.bortok.com Alexander Bortok

    The way Apple TV relies on DNS is really weak point. You even can add unauthorized channels to non-jailbreaked box: http://www.appletvhacks.net/2013/06/26/newschannels-make-into-apple-tv-with-a-simple-hack-no-jailbreak-required/#.UroDMWRDtWM

  • Craig

    OpenDNS works fine in both roles, giving fast G response, AppleTV runs fine and you get it’s protective services as well … just a very satisfied user for many years and sites …

    • http://www.repeatablesale.com/ Scott Barnett

      I agree – I just switched from Google DNS to openDNS – Google Apps still seems spiffy and everything else does too. Brad, have you tried their DNS servers? Would love to see if this helps/hurts/no change to your settings.

      • http://www.feld.com bfeld

        I haven’t tried it yet. I’ll try it in my house.

  • bobmonsour

    Interesting, I changed my Apple TV DNS to use the Google DNS settings and haven’t had a problem. One difference, though it shouldn’t make a difference, is that I have my Apple TV connected to my Airport Extreme via ethernet, not WiFi.

  • http://www.cornfedsystems.com/ Frank W. Miller

    Hmm, this solution isn’t going to help me with my PC that I play CoD on (where I’m seeing the same issues you noted with AppleTV) and do a lot of web browsing et. Al. :(

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Try OpenDNS and see if that is a good answer.

  • http://www.kizi1.org/ Kizi 1

    you always bring the most amazing thing I’ve ever known, thanks

  • Guypo

    Both Google DNS and OpenDNS impact the ability of Akamai (the CDN used by Apple and most big sites) to map a user to the closest edge server. Therefore, they may get you to a server further away than the one your ISP’s DNS server would result in, and therefore be slower. There’s some work in progress in the DNS industry and specifically in Akamai to help address this, but it’s not there get.

    Note: this will impact many major websites, practically every top site that isn’t google.

    Anecdotally, I’ve observed OpenDNS to get better results with Akamai, for various reasons, so for now I’d recommend either using google DNS only as your secondary DNS server or to use OpenDNS

  • Bill Adkins

    AppleTV fixed, just in time to ditch it for Chromecast for the month of January! ;)