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The AppleTV should make an ideal platform on which to play DVD content stored nearby on some networked storage. Features should include:

  • Accessing DVD content from either VIDEO_TS folders or ISO images of DVDs
  • Browsing of DVD libraries on one or more remote desktop machines or storage servers
  • Cover art
  • Display of other metadata such as actors, directors etc.

Having been thinking about this for a while it seems that there are two plausible paths:

Both cases will require some user interface work but it seems likely that the later option will be a smaller task since the DVD functionality is more neatly packaged. There is also a handy example on which to base this work provided by Apple.

Another Option:

  • VLC will play VIDEO_TS folders on the Apple TV. The one real issue is that the remote isn't supported for DVD Menu navigation. Though VLC supports key control, so it seems that something to map remote button pushes to keyboard inputs would solve this issue.

Open questions:

  • What should the user interface look like, given the limitations of the Apple remote control?
  • What is the legal position of reusing Apple's DVD Playback Framework?
  • What features are needed or desirable for the DVD library navigation?
  • Would it be possible to connect a external USB DVD-ROM to playback from?
    • If so, should we also add functionality to rip DVDs and put them back onto the networked storage?