If you’re an Apple TV user, you may have experienced a strange flickering or flashing picture when trying to watch Dolby Vision content.
So many Apple TV users have reported issues with Dolby Vision output where the image flickers on their TVs. This issue only occurs when streaming content in Dolby Vision, and does not happen when using 4K HDR or 4K SDR output.
I have recently witnessed it while using Apple TV on my LG TV and the flickering effect is most noticeable in the dark areas or darker scenes and is particularly noticeable during rapid image changes.
It is worth noting that this issue does not occur when streaming HDR10 content, using other streaming boxes, or when using the TV’s internal apps.
This is caused by an incompatibility between the Apple TV and Dolby Vision, possibly related to how Dolby Vision encodes video for streaming. From what I’ve gathered, a few people who were having this issue contacted Apple support, and while support wasn’t able to solve the problem, they did say they were aware of it and that future firmware updates might address it. In other words, they’re on it!
Don’t worry, there are a few troubleshooting methods you can try in the meantime until an official fix is released for all Apple TV devices. In the meantime, these might help get things sorted out.
I recreated this issue and basically, it happens when Apple TV 4K devices output Dolby Vision in 4K 60/50Hz and is most noticeable in dark areas of the screen or dark scenes.
Moreover, this issue has been reported on various streaming services, including HBO Max, Netflix, Hulu, etc, while using them through an Apple TV streaming device on your TV.
How To Fix Dolby Vision Flickering On Apple TV?
This might not sound promising as it can affect the overall picture quality but some users have had success in resolving the issue by using Dolby Vision Dark mode and adjusting the brightness on their TV.
That’s why the first thing to try is, Adjust the brightness on your TV picture settings.
Because this helps by adjusting the overall luminosity of the image, which reduces the flickering effect.
To do this, go to your TV’s picture settings and look for the Dolby Vision Dark mode option. Give it a try and see if it helps!
Reboot Apple TV
Sometimes, a quick reboot can fix temporary issues that may be causing the flickering on your Apple TV, because often temporary encoding glitches can lead to improper sync which leads to the flashing of the picture.
And restarting the Apple TV when the Dolby Vision flickers or flashes does solve the issue.
Although it’s temporary, it’s a quick and easy fix to try, so it might be worth a shot if you’re having the issue.
- To do this, simply unplug and turn off your Apple TV and the TV itself for about 2-3 minutes and plug them back and turn them on.
Use High-Speed HDMI Cable
The speed and quality of the HDMI cable can impact the transfer of data from your Apple TV to your TV. If you’re using an older, slower cable, it might be worth trying a newer, faster one to see if that helps.
Keep in mind that Apple TV 4K devices have different HDMI port compatibility:
- 1st generation (2017) has an HDMI 2.0 port and requires an 18 Gbps HDMI cable
- 2nd generation (2021) has an HDMI 2.1 port and may require a 48 Gbps HDMI cable to utilize maximum settings.
So, If you’re using an older HDMI cable, it might be worth trying a newer one to get rid of any glitchy synching causing flickering Dolby Vision content.
Tweak Settings On Apple TV
If you have tried all the above methods, the most important thing to do is to adjust the picture settings to get rid of the flickering/ green flashing issue on your Apple TV Dolby Vision.
Adjusting the Motionflow and Cinemotion settings on your TV, and turning off the match frame rate, is also another working solution that you can try.
Moreover, Some users have resolved the issue by turning off the match content range and frame rate in the video settings on their Apple TVs.
Here’s how to do it:
- Navigate to General > Audio And Video > You will find Match Content, Match Frame Rate, Dolby, and HDR settings.
Disable Dolby Vision HDR
As a last resort, you can try disabling HDR entirely to get solve the flashing issue on your Apple TV Dolby Vision.
This isn’t ideal, as it means you won’t be able to take advantage of the expanded color range and higher dynamic range that HDR offers. But if you’re at your wit’s end and nothing else has worked, it might be worth considering.
I noticed that there was an intermittent green flicker, which I often noticed when watching YouTube on my Apple TV, but I did not see it on the built-in YouTube app.
Following these Apple TV settings solved the issue.
Additional fixes for TCL and LG TVs
If you’re using an Apple TV with a TCL TV and facing flickering with Dolby Vision, follow these steps:
- Change to a high-speed HDMI 2.1 cable, Plug it into HDMI 2 port.
- Change the Apple setting: go to video and audio settings-Match Content-turn on them both. (After you turn them on flickering will be fixed, if not, go to the next step)
- TCL setting change: Setting-System-HbbTV settings-turn it on.
If you’re using an LG TV, some users have recommended using “Standard” Dolby Vision mode on the TV and adjusting the TruMotion settings.
These are settings that you can usually find in your TV’s picture settings menu, so it might be worth poking around there to see if you can get rid of the annoying Dolby Vision flickering on your Apple TV.
Best 4K Dolby Vision Settings for Apple TV
- For proper 4K support on your Apple TV, make sure to set the format to 4K (3840×2160).
- For the refresh rate, set your Apple TV to 60 Hz in NTSC countries or 50 Hz in PAL countries.
- If your TV supports HDR or Dolby Vision, try setting your Apple TV to SDR and turning on Match Dynamic Range.
- If your TV can handle various content frame rates, try setting your Apple TV to Match Frame Rate.
- For the best color quality, it might be worth setting your Apple TV’s Color Space to YCbCr (not RGB). The source video will usually be in YCbCr format, and most TVs can handle it just fine.
In conclusion, the flickering issue with Dolby Vision on Apple TV has been reported by so many users when streaming content in Dolby Vision.
Normally, the flickering effect is most noticeable in the dark areas of darker scenes and is particularly noticeable during rapid image changes.
It can arise due to hardware or software issues, or how Dolby Vision encodes video for streaming on Apple TV.
There are several troubleshooting methods that users have reported, I have tried and found working when I tried them to troubleshoot it on my Apple TV, such as adjusting the brightness on the TV, restarting the Apple TV, using a high-speed HDMI cable, tweaking settings (Match Content, Frame Rate) on the Apple TV and TV, and disabling Dolby Vision HDR.
If you are experiencing flickering, flashing, or seeing green flashes sometimes while watching Dolby Vision content on your Apple TV, it may be worth trying some of these methods and I hope with the help of the above guide you will be able to get it sorted.