XML Downloaded By ATV
There are several sections in the stock Apple TV config where it will contact apple to download information.
- Movies -> iTunes Top Movies
- Movies -> Theatrical Trailers
- TV Shows -> iTunes Top TV Episodes
- Music -> iTunes Top Songs
- Music -> iTunes Top Music Videos
Each of these functions will fetch an XML file from apple that describes the items in the section. Within the XML file is meta data for the programs/songs/movies as well as links to the images displayed and the actual file to play when clicked.
These files can be easily substituted out through a few methods.
- Add your own entries to the hosts file and have the atv fetch the XML and whatever else it needs from a local web server.
- Point your ATV to a DNS server that you control and spoof the entries for the required sites - This would be good because you don't have to mod the unit in any way.
- Probably some other tricks that could be done with firewalls and squid caches and stuff.
I have tested this with the Movies -> Theatrical Trailers and it worked quite well. This one XML file is quite different than the others because it does not integrate with iTunes.
By modifying the XML file and pointing it at my own web server I was able to make the ATV play files from my local web server as well as substitute my own images and meta data in to the interface. Unfortunately this only worked with h.264 files and strange behavior was observed with xvid files even though I had a working codec installed.
If this could be made to work with mpeg2 and/or xvid files this would make for a neat and easy way to integrate this with mythTV through mythweb, or through some custom rolled media serving scripts and whatnot. If anybody gets xvid or mpeg2 to work with this, please update this page.
Here are the URLs and files that the ATV attempts to download.
Top TV Episodes: (Note: This file comes gzipped by default)
Top Movies: (Note: This file comes gzipped by default)
Top Songs: (Note: This file comes gzipped by default)
Top Music Videos: (Note: This file comes gzipped by default)
In the current.xml listed above there is a space for the preview of the movie. This is listed as a url like this...
<preview> <large filesize="110691683">http://movies.apple.com/blah/blah/blah</large> </preview>
This is also valid, and will allow you to play files off the local drive or an NFS mounted partition.
<preview> <large>file:///mnt/mynfsparition/some_movie.avi</large> </preview>
Doing this has the added benefit that you will be able to play xvid avi's with no problem.