I love both the Apple TV 4K and YouTube. I use the heck out of both, and the latter is probably the app I use the most on the former. We don't call YouTube one of the best streaming services, because most people don't think about it like that, but I truly value the $9.99 per month I spend for YouTube Premium (particularly since I'm grandfathered into a lower price).
However, I've spent months (if not longer) annoyed by a weird little YouTube bug I didn't know how to troubleshoot. Then I did the one thing I should have done first — I Googled it.
As much as I enjoy using the Apple TV (one of the best streaming devices for plenty of reasons) to watch YouTube, I was getting tired of missing the first seconds of videos. Most of the time, those moments really didn't offer much, but that moment of a host welcoming you or a little throw-away moment that previews something else in the video? Those are a part of the experience I'd often rewind to see.
In case you're in the same boat, here's how I found a solution to my Apple TV/YouTube problem.
Reddit almost fixed my Apple TV 4K YouTube issue
Randomly tired of this issue, I searched for "Apple TV YouTube app Dolby Vision delay" on Google because I always saw the Dolby Vision logo while I was waiting for the video that started a moment or two in.
The first result, an Apple TV sub-Reddit page titled "YouTube app delay?", was the first piece of help that felt like it was going to get me to my solution. Five months ago, u/Thaladorr posted about the same issue, when they wrote "noticing that on one of my televisions with an Apple TV 4K 2021 version the YouTube app suddenly has a delay when I select a video. It can be up to a couple of seconds and when I exit the video there is a similar delay."
Redditor u/robinreliant suggested turning off the "Match Frame Rate" setting, saying that worked for them. This setting is meant to make sure movies and shows look exactly like they're supposed to. Immediately, I opened the Settings app on my Apple TV, selected Video and Audio and clicked Match Content. Like a gumshoe cracking the coldest of cases, I felt electric in this moment, as I turned "Match Frame Rate" off.
Except that didn't work. I tried opening a few different YouTube videos, and each had the same awkward start a few words into their intros. Somewhat dejected, I almost went back to my desk.
How I fixed the YouTube delay on the Apple TV 4K
On that same Apple TV Settings menu, though, right above the "Match Frame Rate" option, there's also a "Match Dynamic Range" setting. This setting is something you turn on to make sure the Apple TV 4K will (in the words of Apple) "match its output to the original dynamic range of content that you’re watching."
This isn't a setting I necessarily want to disable: Dolby Vision and various high dynamic range (HDR) formats are important for making content look right, just as much as the proper frame rate.
That said, I turned that setting off out of curiosity, and toggled YouTube open.
Lo and behold, YouTube videos opened correctly. No seconds missed. My YouTube experience is finally fixed. And just to make sure everyone else can fix it to, here are the full steps broken out:
- Open the Settings app on Apple TV.
- Select Video and Audio.
- Select Match Content.
- Turn "Match Dynamic Range" off.
Outlook: Hope YouTube can fix this on its end
So far, I haven't had HDR issues since enacting this fix. Dolby Vision-enabled shows in Netflix play with Dolby Vision. I guess I'll have to flip this proverbial switch back off if something doesn't play right in the future. That said, I've reached out to the folks at YouTube and Google to let them know about this flaw, so it hopefully can get fixed.
I hope this story can help others solve this issue on their end. And if you have your own issues with the Apple TV 4K or any other streaming devices, reach out to me via email at henry.casey[at]tomsguide.com.