Beginners Guide for 2.x
This guide is for Apple TV 2.x (Take 2), for 1.x see the Beginners Guide for 1.x
Tip: Buy a HDMI to DVI Adaptor to plug in the ATV to a spare monitor next to your computer.
Keep it standard (but use some useful free software)
You can do more than you think with a standard ATV and a few free utilities and spare yourself plenty of time, effort and expense.
Check out The Alternative to Hacking page for instructions on getting more content on your AppleTV.
Make a patchstick (installing SSH)
Creating a patchstick on a USB thumbdrive can install SSH on your AppleTV without opening the box. Once SSH is installed other plugins, codecs and other hacks can be installed.
The easiest way to do this is through ATVUSB-Creator. Follow the instruction on their site to install SSH.
Note: You can also install SSH by removing the harddrive, see Leopard instructions here
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 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 yourself 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.