Saturday, September 25, 2021

Apple TV app purchased/rented movies sometimes playing without sound, users report mixed success getting refunds

Some users are getting increasingly frustrated with the Apple TV app as they are paying money to buy or rent movies from the store, only to find that when they go to play the content, there is no sound at all.

This appears to be happening across platforms where Apple offers the TV app, including on tvOS, smart TVs, and third-party streaming sticks like Roku.

9to5Mac began receiving reports of this at the beginning of July, but have been unable to find a pattern to diagnose the underlying cause. Obviously, it isn’t happening to everyone that rents something from Apple.

However, there are enough reports of this cropping up in our inboxes and on Twitter that we are pretty confident there is a systemic issue at play, not merely isolated incidents. There is some common problem where — sometimes — purchased Apple TV app content has missing sound.

Just speculating, there may be a DRM copy protection bug somewhere in the chain such that the TV app refuses to decode the soundtrack for users, even though they are doing so legitimately.

To make matters worse, customers are having mixed results when contacting Apple Support about the problems. Seemingly, Apple Support cannot fix the issue and serve a fresh copy of the movie with music intact — instead they appear to just give out refund to anyone that files a complaint on this matter.

Unfortunately, not everyone is getting refunded either. 9to5Mac spoke to a couple of affected customers where Apple Support was unhelpful (perhaps not understanding the actual issue) and would not issue a refund — simply leaving them out of pocket.

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