A thread on the AppleSupport site shows that a number of Apple TV units have been rendered useless by the update.
Having run the software update users report that their Apple TV light just blinks while nothing is shown on their TV screen.
The Apple TV version 5.1 update came in late September, however Apple Insider reports that the thread on the support site has continued to grow, with the a post on 20 November claiming: “The 5.1 update did irreversible damage to the hardware.”
Some of those affected have been able to recover their Apple TV by manually downgrading the software on the unit, but the process is complex.
Apple wouldn’t normally make the old version of the software available, but according to a post from October, Apple has made 5.0.2 available so users can downgrade their Apple TV 2 and 3 to that version via iTunes.
One user, adam60, explains the process saying:
1) Connect your ATV to your computer via a Mini USB (not included with ATV but included with many other electronic devices) – in order for your ATV to appear in iTunes you must FIRST plug the USB cable to your computer and ATV and only THEN plug the power cable.
2) Download your ipsw restore file from Apple.
5.0.2 (ATV 2): AppleTV2,1_5.0.2_9B830_Restore.ipsw
5.0.2 (ATV 3): AppleTV3,1_5.0.2_9B830_Restore.ipsw
3) In iTunes select yout ATV, hold SHIFT and click on Restore
4) Find and choose the downloaded IPSW file in the Open Dialog Box and hit Next
5) As long as Apple still signs that version the Restore process will begin and will take a few minutes to complete.
Back in September a Apple support member called Roy used the thread to ask for more information about the issue. Apple is yet to offer an update.