Beginners Guide for 2.x

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Revision as of 05:58, 22 March 2008 by Fcorthay (talk | contribs) (Add components to the existing sytem)
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Monitor adapter

My ATV is downstairs in the living room and my Mac is upstairs. Legging it up and down the stairs all the time is not ideal, especially if you're trying to work out something that went wrong, so I bought one of HDMI to DVI Adaptor these little devices so I could plug in the ATV to a spare monitor next to my iMac.

For the Beginner

Before starting anything, you might want to consider the following options:

  • Keep it standard, add plugins and stream content from iTunes
  • Patch it without opening it
  • Open it, connect the drive to your computer and hack the existing operating system
  • Open it and install Mac OS X Tiger
  • Open it and install a very different OS (Linux, ...)

Keep it standard (but use some useful free software)

You can do more than you think with a standard ATV and a few free utils and spare yourself plenty or time, effort and expense.

Check out The Alternative to Hacking page.


You can make a Patchstick, boot the AppleTV on it and hack the system without opening the box.

Hack the operating system

Hacking the AppleTV operating system allows you to add services to the machine while staying to the remote controlled single application system.

This comes in 2 flavors:

  • Patch and modify the existing sytem
  • Add components to the existing system

Patch and modify the existing sytem

We are talking here of a Take 2 Full Update. Alternatively (and seemingly more successful) use the safe updater from NitoTV. This does it for you. You should be able to use an external drive once this is done AND if you use the code at the bottom of this page, be able to use it for external storage (not tested personally).

Note that only a few plugins work (Sapphire not yet - it's is though a work-in-progress). See here for list of Take 2 working plugins: ATV2-Compatible Plugins.

So, you'll lose Sapphire, but gain HD rentals, AirTunes, the new menu system, etc. Although let's be honest, the new menu system is not nearly as good as the old one, but the features contained therein are a great step forward.

Add components to the existing sytem

The very first thing you will want to do is to install SSH and give yourserlf remote console and file copy access the the AppleTV.

From here, you can add

Install Mac OS X Tiger

Installing Mac OS X Tiger makes out of you the owner of a trimmed-down version of the Mac Mini.

Certainly the most silent one since the Mac Cube.

The only drawbacks are:

  • no sound output,
  • no screen resolution change: you'll stick to the last one set before installing the new system.

For those of us trying to compile this page

I am currently gathering up everything being posted in the forums into a simple procedure to allow the following:-

1) Start with Stock ATV with standard update 2.0 firmware

2) Allow SSH via Patchstick 2.0 or by opening the box

3) Enable AFP

4) Enable external USB storage

5) Install plugins

Useful Links

If anyone would like to offer useful forum / wiki links or quotes, please do so below.

Install Perian


ATVFiles for ATV2 thread

The whole big ATV2 release discussion thread

Good Stuff on AFP in the above thread

Making at 2.0 Patchstick Forum Thread

How to make a SSH patchstick for Take2 Wiki Page

AFP alternative for windows. For me does Winscp the drag / drop job:

That pesky master.passwd error when using the Patchstick - how do you mount Patchstick root again?

Error at Patchstick creation like cp: cannot overwrite directory /Volumes/Patchstick-root/ ......

Run this in the Terminal:-

    sudo rm -R /Volumes/Patchstick-root