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This is a general overview of software and hardware tested to work with console and arcade emulation on the AppleTV. Most of the emulators are the work of Richard Bannister and have only been run for compatibility testing, not intensive tweaking. The .INI files used were stock and can probably be tweaked for even better compatibility and system performance.

AppleTV Compatibility

These emulators are being tested with standard ROM's on the AppleTV running the original OS except for being slightly modified to add SSH.

Note: The use of VNC seriously slows down emulation.

Emulation Software

    • A MAME emulator that has no front-end which is great for ATV since it becomes the front-end!
      • Status: Working while ATV is running!!! (as an appliance/plugin) thanks to the kind efforts of others.. Including Erica Sadun for showing us how to suspend ATV & launch a 3rd party app and to AK2007 (from over at the insanelymac ATV forum for providing source code to show how to build a simple menu. The plug isn't ready for prime time just yet but it really does work great! This plug should work with many of the other emus out there.... the 'gui-less' the better since ATV really does make for a pretty good front-end. Note: this was on an Intel mini that I use for development so as far as SDL-MAME itself running on only a semi-modified (still running the standard stripped down OS X) is still up in the air for now.

  • Nestopia 1.3.6 [Official Site]
    • Original Nintendo Entertainment System (US)
      • Status: Working!

  • BSNES 0.17 [Official Site]
    • Super Nintendo Entertainment System
      • Status: Working, although very slowly.

  • ZSNES 1.43pre [Official Site]
    • Super Nintendo Entertainment System
      • Status: Working!

  • Boycott Advance v0.3.8 [Official Site]
    • Nintendo Gameboy Advance Emulator
      • Status: Working! After enabling the USB port, the game is controllable from from a keyboard or joystick plugged into the ATV without the need for VNC. VNC should not be used in order that high frame rates may be acheived. Installation of Emulator Enhancer 2.1.1 enables joystick control and provides improved graphics. Mapping of the joystick is greatly facilitated by first enabling the mouse cursor to get through the joystick setup routine. Games are very playable with low controller latency and high frame rates even with pixel smoothing at full screen.

Emulation Hardware

  • Xbox 360 Controller driver 0.05 [Official Site]
    • USB HID driver for USB Xbox 360 Controllers.
      • Status: Not working. Running kextload on 360Controller.kext returns "unable to register module with kernel".

  • Xbox 360 Guitar Hero Controller Driver [Official Site]
    • USB driver and preferences for USB Xbox360 Guitar Hero Guitars.
      • Status: Unknown.

External Media Links

  • YouTube Video of AppleTV playing a NES Emulator with a USB Joystick! [YouTube Link]