Hulu Live Stuttering - Apple TV

Posted by: MB

This is just a quick example of how Hulu Live TV video stutters on the Apple TV.

Standard “60fps” broadcast content is actually 59.94hz, but for some reason Hulu converts Live TV content to an actual 60fps on Apple TV devices. This results in a visible stutter (or “microstutter” as some people call it) about every 4 seconds.

It’s been this way since Hulu Live TV launched (it was 29.97 converted to 30 at launch) and it seems that Hulu has no intention of ever fixing this.

It is really only visible on content with a lot of fast motion (live hockey is a good example) or with things like scrolling text.

The stutter is “baked into” the video stream. There are no settings on the Apple TV that can be changed to fix this. If you leave the Apple TV at the normal 59.94 setting it appears to drop a frame every 4 seconds. If you force the Apple TV into a fixed 60hz mode it seems to do the opposite and add an extra frame every 4 seconds. Same result in the end.

The video below is a simple recording of some scrolling text displayed on a TV (LG OLED). It was recorded using an iPad camera so I apologize for the relatively low quality.

To make the stutter easier to see I slowed the video down to half speed with ffmpeg. Since it’s half speed the stutters appear every 8 seconds instead of every 4 seconds. You can see the first stutter and 8 seconds and every 8 seconds after that.

Slow Motion - Flicker / Stutter Every 8 Seconds

Full Speed - Flicker / Stutter Every 4 Seconds