Several users have reported an issue in which the iPad freezes completely during video playback, often requiring the device to be force-restarted by holding down the home and sleep/wake buttons simultaneously for several seconds. The issue occurs most often when playing back H.264 video, either via YouTube, sites such as CNN and Vimeo, or video-enabled apps such as Netflix.
In most cases of this issue, the iPad will freeze hard 1 to 15 minutes into video playback and require a hard restart.
The problem does not occur with locally stored videos.
This should not be confused with buffering delays, which occur when data throughput is not fast enough to keep up with video playback. In this issue, the iPad locks up and generally cannot be used until a restart is performed.
Apple Discussions poster jerware writes:
“I can get 5-15 minutes into a video, and then the system freezes hard. After a two-button reboot, I’m back into the system but nothing is any better. I can go straight back into a streaming video application and experience the same thing. Oddly, local videos don’t appear to crash.”
All evidence exposed thus far appears to point to a hardware issue. Dozens of posters to this Apple Discussions thread report that Apple has replaced their iPads with units that do not exhibit this issue. Furthermore, the replacement units appear to have the same firmware as the old, freezing units. This would indicate a hardware defect that affects some units.
Before seeking replacement of an iPad that exhibits this issue, you should try restoring the device.