Fix “An Error Occurred Loading This Content”

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An Error Occurred Loading This Content

Apple TV is usually a reliable set-top streaming device. It relies on dependencies such as your Internet connection or a content channel’s servers. There are many possible points of failure as data stream from the data center to your Apple TV. This article covers how to fix “An error occurred loading this content”.

Picture this: you’re relaxing in the evening with a bowl of popcorn, enjoying your favorite movie or TV show. All of a sudden, you are presented with a black screen and a vague error message: “An error occurred loading this content”. You hit the menu button, press play and try again. Sometimes this works, but often you will see the same error over and over. Although the exact problem is unclear, having used Apple TV for almost 4 years now, I am familiar with both what this means and how to fix it. Keep in mind, you might not be able to fix it. The causes of this error are sometimes beyond your control.

What Does “An Error Occurred Loading This Content” Mean?

“An error occurred loading this content” simply means that your video or music could not be loaded. It could mean your Internet connection is too slow. The servers that deliver content to your Apple TV could also be having problems. There could be a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on servers delivering content to your Apple TV. Basically, it is a generic, catch-all error message that means your content can’t be loaded now. Apple critics have pointed out how simplistic and useless their error handling is. I can’t argue with that. You can solve this problem, in most cases. Let’s take a look at some things we can try to fix this problem.

Turn Off Subtitles

If you’re like me, you like to have subtitles on when you watch TV. It helps me comprehend the dialog. I have no hearing impairment, but the audio track on movies and TV shows has a wide dynamic range. Sometimes you can barely hear an actor speak, and in the next scene, music is blaring. Instead of constantly fiddling with the volume, I turn on subtitles.

Unfortunately, turning on subtitles increases the data demands on Apple TV. Subtitles add to the overall data bandwidth requirements for a video stream. If your Internet connection has slowed, this extra data may cause your video stream to fail. Most of the time I can fix “An error occurred loading this content” by turning off subtitles.

When my Internet connection is slow or a content provider’s servers are having problems, turning off subtitles almost always works. You can do this by going to Settings > Audio & Video > Subtitle Language. Now return to your video and it should work. If not, let’s look at some other possible solutions.

Decrease Video Quality

Apple TV makes the assumption that you want to watch everything in HD. The better picture quality is preferrable, but if your Internet connection is too slow, SD is better than nothing. You can change Apple TV’s overall video quality by selecting Settings > Audio & Video > TV Resolution. If you are at 1080p, try reducing it to 720p. Most Apple TV channels should scale down to the required bandwidth accordingly. (continue…)

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2 thoughts on “Fix “An Error Occurred Loading This Content”

  1. BUYER BEWARE WHEN BUYING MOVIES ON ITUNES (SECRET LIFE OF PETS) – Older version has been removed and Apple will not let you watch the movie you purchased and won’t refund you either!!!! So, I bought this movie in November 2016. We went to watch it again last night. For some reason, I could not access the movie. It said I had purchased it, but there was no way to watch it. After spending an hour on the phone (mostly on hold) with Apple, we were put in touch with Emily (a senior support service representative in iTunes) on 6/29/17 at 9:10 p.m. CST. We were told that the movie maker had changed the movie that is available to purchase on itunes and that the version I bought was “no longer” available and that there was no way for me to watch or re-download the $20 movie I purchased. She then proceeded to tell me that the fine print when you accept any Apple update says that this can happen and that the responsibility is on ME to back up ALL of my movies from itunes in case this happens. If I don’t, I am out both the movie AND the $20 I paid to buy the movie. There is ZERO way to get the movie back. When I said that was ridiculous and a bait and switch, she said because I bought the movie in November, I couldn’t get a refund even though I paid for it and that iTunes no longer allows me to watch it since I bought the “older” version of the movie that had been unilaterally removed from iTunes by the movie manufacturer. She then offered me 5 free movie rentals worth $5.99 each. (Note that she told me that they don’t even normally offer the rental credits and that they tell people they are out of luck when this happens.) I told Emily I don’t want rental credits since I can only watch a rental once and that I don’t “own” movie rentals. I said I either want to be able to watch the movie I BOUGHT AND PAID FOR or else a credit for the movie I paid for and that Itunes would no longer let me watch. She told me again that the responsibility was on me to back up all my movies just in case this ever happens again and that Apple has the absolute right to do this and every time you accept an update, you agree to this treatment. Emily also told me that she had zero authority to give me a refund for the movie I bought. When I asked her if she would be upset if this happened to her, she said yes. SO EVERYONE TAKE NOTE — YOUR PURCHASES CAN BE UNILATERALLY TAKEN AWAY WITH YOU WITH ZERO NOTICE. SO MY QUESTION IS – WHY TOUT THE CLOUD AND HOW YOU CAN WATCH A MOVIE YOU BOUGHT ON MULTIPLE DEVICES, WHEN APPLE THEN TELLS YOU THAT YOU REALLY SHOULD BE DOWNLOADING ALL OF YOUR MOVIES AND THAT IF THEY UNILATERALLY MODIFY THE MOVIE, YOU ARE OUT OF LUCK AND THE MOVIE YOU BOUGHT IS NO LONGER YOURS TO EVEN WATCH???? ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE! SO BUYER OF ITUNES MOVIES – BEWARE!!!!!!

    • Thank you for sharing this. I had no idea that they do this. At the very least, they should have given you $20 in iTunes Store credit or given you the updated version of the movie. I totally understand why you wouldn’t want 5 free movie rentals, even though the value is almost $30. If you’re looking to build a movie library, rentals won’t do that. If you like a movie and watch it more than 3 times, the purchase pays off.

      As someone who buys movies on iTunes and has a substantial library, this concerns me. I watch my iTunes movies directly on Apple TV. There is no option to download them. I have to download them on my Mac. I agree about the irony of their cloud strategy. When purchases can evaporate, it undermines the whole concept of purchasing a movie.

      I would suggest contacting the Attorney General’s office in your state. They probably have an online form to file complaints. California does this very well and they get results. Even though you agreed to this in the legal agreement, those aren’t as binding as one would think. If they’re pulling a purchased movie just a few months after you bought it, that’s simply a fraudulent practice, regardless of what legal agreement you affirmed. You can’t opt out of specific items on the legal agreement. Your choice is to agree to it all or not use or update your Apple products. I know, from working in the software industry, that EULAs are not as binding as one would think.

      In the future, you may want to consider using Google Play, but I’m not sure how they handle it. The movie studio made that version of the film obsolete and requested that Apple remove it from the iTunes Store. They may have done the same thing with Amazon and Google. It may be handled the same way, but I’m not sure. I personally prefer renting movies from Google Play, if they are the same price, because I get 48 hours to watch them once they’re started. It works well with my Apple TV via the YouTube app. I also use Google Play Music instead of Apple Music. It simply has better sound quality.

      I hope, for the sake of consumers everywhere, that you report this to your state’s Attorney General’s office. I plan on writing up an article about this. I will also download all of my iTunes movies ASAP. I have the complete Star Wars collection, The Godfather trilogy, and I just bought Blade Runner this morning (it was on sale for $4.99). The thought that these movies could just evaporate is irksome. What good is a purchase if it can just disappear? Also, the way Apple handled it is appalling. They should have proactively given you $20 in credit and informed you as to what happened. They could have just given you the new version! I bet you spent some time in iTunes trying to figure out what happened. That’s no way to treat a customer. I’m upset just reading what you had to go through.

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