From AwkwardTV
Revision as of 16:51, 27 November 2007 by Dotcom78 (talk | contribs) (Install Synergy Client On AppleTV)
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Synergy is an open source cross platform tool designed for controlling multiple screens on multiple computers using a single keyboard and mouse. Synergy will work as long as each computer is connected over TCP/IP.

Using it with AppleTV eliminates the need to have a keyboard and mouse connected to the AppleTV either via USB or any other means such as Bluetooth. Who wants to keep a KB and Mouse in their home entertainment unit! Ugly!


  • An SSH enabled AppleTV
  • A computer running OS X or Windows with a keyboard and mouse (In this example I am using a Intel MacBook Core2Duo)
  • AwkwardTV Applications Menu Plugin
  • Mouse Locator Enabled
  • An Application Installed that you would like to use a mouse for e.g. Firefox


Enabling USB for keyboard and mouse support

Not sure if this is really required but I had it done before I started. If someone would like to try without I'd be interested. If you do not have bspatch installed on your AppleTV (you have updated to v1.1) then copy bspatch and bzip2 from your Intel Mac onto your AppleTV and put them in the /usr/bin directory.

Patch the Kernel on your AppleTV to allow USB devices. You do not need to follow the instructions (loading kexts) for enabling USB Mass storage support unless you need an external USB storage device (hard drive, USB pen drive etc). The kernel patch is all that is required.

Installing System Preferences

Install System Preferences onto your AppleTV. This is needed to enable the mouse pointer.

Enable the Mouse Pointer

Enable the Mouse Pointer on your AppleTV. The mouse pointer will only be visible if finder is not running (ie, only when you are running applications) so you don't need to worry about it being visible in the main AppleTV interface.

Download and Configure Synergy

  • Download the latest release Synergy Binary for OS X from [1]
  • Extract the downloaded file (synergy-1.3.1-1.OSX.tar.gz) to your Desktop
  • Edit synergy.conf with your machine specific information. Here is a copy of mine:
  1. synergy configuration file
  2. comments begin with the # character and continue to the end of
  3. line. comments may appear anywhere the syntax permits.

section: screens # two hosts named: macbook.local, and appletv.local macbook.local: appletv.local: end

section: links # AppleTV is above the Macbook macbook.local: up = appletv.local

# Macbook is below AppleTV appletv.local: down = macbook.local

# You need to specify both directions or once you move from # one screen to the next you won't be able to get back end

Install Synergy Client On AppleTV

  • Copy synergyc and synergy.conf to /Users/frontrow/Applications/ on your ATV
  • Make sure synergyc is executable chmod 755 synergyc
  • Create the file /Users/frontrow/Applications/killsynergy and make it executable
  • Edit killsynergy with the following:
kill $(ps ax | grep synergy | awk '{print $1}')

Install Synergy Server On MacBook

1. Copy synergys and synergy.conf to somewhere useful on your Mac. I used /Applications/synergy

2. Create a file on your desktop called StartSynergy.command

3. Edit StartSynergy.command with:

  1. !/bin/sh

/Applications/synergy/synergys -f --config /Applications/synergy/synergy.conf

Install and Configure AwkwardTV Applications Menu

This can be done from the AwkwardTV menu if you patched your AppleTV with a patchstick

Configure the Applications Menu by editing the file /Users/frontrow/Documents/Applist.plist. I have created two Application Items, one to start the synergy client and one to stop it when you're not using it. It should be OK to leave the client running although it seems unnecessary if you're not going to be using it. Here is the relevent sections from mine:

      <string>--restart -f macbook.local</string>


It doesn't seem to matter really which order you start the server and client in. I tend to start the server first and then the client though. Start the server by double-clicking the startsynergy.command file you created on your desktop. This will launch a terminal window and you should see the status of the Synergy server.

On your ATV, open the Applications Menu and select StartSynergyClient. Keep an eye on your Macbook screen and if everything's gone well you should see appletv.local connected.

Then start your favorite mouse dependent application. Such as Firefox. You can then just simply move your mouse off the top of the macbook screen and you will see it magically move onto your ATV connected TV. You can then use the keyboard and mouse from your MacBook to do things with your AppleTV.