The Alternative to Hacking

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Revision as of 06:22, 31 March 2008 by Simplicity (talk | contribs) (More Content)
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Hack Me Not

For all cool things that you can do with your Apple TV without resorting to all that SSH malarkey or touching a screwdriver, read on.

Stream and Sync Simplified

One of the very best reasons to hack your Apple TV was to get more storage. With 2.0 and iTunes 7.6.1 onwards you get much better sync / stream options. The ATV used to distinguish between "Shared" iTunes libaries, from which you could stream content and that which was synced. Now, you can select what to sync and what to stream from a library and as long as the iTunes Mac/PC is on, all the content is available seamlessly - whether local to the ATV or not.

Better still, you can choose what TV Shows to sync (Last 1,3,5+) of selected shows, so if the iTunes Mac/PC is off, you can still watch the latest episodes.

With this seamless sync / stream linking to your iTunes library, even a 40Gb ATV becomes totally usable.

More Content

Everything you can put on a hacked ATV, you can put on a normal ATV running 2.0. And, you won't have to pray that a new firmware release won't break everything (31st March: 2.01 is out and you can update without any issue. Hurrah!). You really only have to be willing to put in a little more work to get it there. Compared to the time you need to maintain a hacked ATV, it's really, genuinely, properly, not much hassle. Your first one time conversion will be the biggest hurdle.

DVD Rips

Use the free Handbrake for all your DVD ripping needs. It has presets for the Apple TV, which will deliver near DVD quality rips that will stream easily to your ATV.

DivX / AVI

Use the free iSquint to convert any avi movies you've got kicking around quickly (like 5 mins for a 45 minute avi on modern Mac). It's stable, it's quick and it will do batches of stacks of files.

Easy Metadata

It really isn't the bind you think it is.


Check out Doug's iTunes Scripts. The essential one is Set Video Kind of Selected. Someone has also recommended the more complicated Make Video Tags although this has proven very unreliable for me, crashing iTunes many, many times (you cheeky editor of the Wiki - at least leave my link in place!). Both are designed to move your imported DVD Rips / iSquint conversions from "Movies" to "TV Shows" in your iTunes Library, as well as setting the show name, episode and season.

I have scripts that will:-

  • Auto number Episode and Track (then shows correctly in iTunes / ATV) of selected items in one go.
  • Change show descriptions en masse, so you can copy and paste from TV Rage's Episode Guides.
  • Change show names en masse (Episode 1, Episode 2, etc), as neat placeholders.
  • Change show names one by one to custom names, so you can copy and paste from TV Rage's Episode Lists.

Contact me if you would like them. I will ask Doug to put them on his site, too.


Check out MetaX. Pretty easy to use and grabs data from the Internet.

With these tools, you can have all your movies and TV shows perfectly tagged and organised without much effort at all. Ongoing, maintenance is very low. Only your first conversion is the problem.

Rentals / Podcasts / iTunes Store

Come here, there's more. Running 2.0, you get get movie rentals, buy TV shows and browse podcasts straight from your Apple TV.

Not in the US and missing rentals and TV Shows? You can get a US Account by following the instructions posted here and buying US iTunes Gift Vouchers from Internet Tat Bazaar eBay.