How to Change Apple TV Resolution Settings

by David Wayne

Apple TV's Settings menu enables you to choose the best screen resolution and refresh rate for your television, although this method requires some trial and error. Because network speed can affect picture quality, your Apple TV includes an Auto setting that dynamically adjusts resolution as you stream content. If this setting doesn't work well enough, you can cycle through the available resolution settings using the Apple Remote during playback.

Choose a Resolution From the Settings Menu

1

Choose “Settings” from the main Apple TV menu, and then press “Select” on the Apple Remote. Select “Audio and Video,” and then choose “TV Resolution.” The Settings menu displays a list of available screen resolutions, with your current resolution selected.

2

Choose a new resolution setting from the menu, and then press “Select” on the Apple Remote. The ideal setting for HDTV in North America is 720p or 1080p with a 60-Hz refresh rate. Refer to your television's user manual for the correct resolution, or try several resolution settings until you find the right one.

3

Confirm your choice after your Apple TV adjusts the resolution. Your screen displays an Apple logo, and you are prompted to cancel or apply your changes. If you don't see the Apple logo or it appears blurry, choose “Cancel,” and then select another resolution from the menu. If the picture is clear, choose “OK” to apply the setting.

Choose a Setting During Video Playback

1

Cycle the resolution settings by holding down the Apple Remote's “Menu” and “Up” buttons together for six seconds. The resolution automatically changes every 20 seconds, starting again from your original setting when each resolution has been displayed.

2

Press “Select” to skip to the next resolution instead of waiting for the Apple TV to change it automatically. Cycling through the settings this way displays the refresh rates available for each resolution, so many settings may look almost the same.

3

Press “Play” to choose the setting currently displayed. Your changes are saved in the Settings menu, and your Apple TV keeps the currently selected resolution while playing video, as well as when you power off and restart your device.

Tip

  • Your television's resolution may be displayed on the case or around the screen, so you may not need to refer to your owner's manual.

Warning

  • Information in this article applies to Apple TV 2nd and 3rd generations. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions.

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About the Author

David Wayne has been writing since 2010, with technology columns appearing in several regional newspapers in Texas. Wayne graduated from the University of Houston in 2005, earning a Bachelor of Arts in communications.

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