Beginners Guide for 2.x
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 to do 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.
Make a patchstick (and hack the operating system)
You can make a Patchstick, boot the AppleTV on it and hack the system without opening the box.
Fromr here, you can continue to hacking the system.
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 to the AppleTV.
From here, you can add:
- a fully working web server with Apache, MySQL, PHP5 and Perl
- a SAMBA file server to share AppleTV files to both Macs and PCs
- the ability of mounting Samba shares from Mac or PC servers
- the ability of mounting external USB drives
- a plugin for watching movies stored on your AppleTV
- one for browsing the internet from your couch
And check for other interesting plugins.
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 Mac since the 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.