The Alternative to Hacking
Hack Me Not
For all cool things that you can do with your Apple TV without resorting to all that SSH malarkey or touching a screwdriver, read on. If you want to contact me, please do so though this site. --Simplicity 13:57, 4 June 2008 (CEST)
Stream and Sync Simplified
One of the very best reasons to hack your Apple TV was to get more storage. With 2.0 and iTunes 7.6.1 onwards you get much better sync / stream options. The ATV used to distinguish between "Shared" iTunes libaries, from which you could stream content and that which was synced. Now, you can select what to sync and what to stream from a library and as long as the iTunes Mac/PC is on, all the content is available seamlessly - whether local to the ATV or not.
Better still, you can choose what TV Shows to sync (Last 1,3,5+) of selected shows, so if the iTunes Mac/PC is off, you can still watch the latest episodes.
With this seamless sync / stream linking to your iTunes library, even a 40Gb ATV becomes totally usable.
Everything you can put on a hacked ATV, you can put on a normal ATV running 2.0. And, you won't have to pray that a new firmware release won't break everything (31st March: 2.01 is out and you can update without any issue. Hurrah!). You really only have to be willing to put in a little more work to get it there. Compared to the time you need to maintain a hacked ATV, it's really, genuinely, properly, not much hassle. Your first one time conversion will be the biggest hurdle.
Use the free Handbrake for all your DVD ripping needs. It has presets for the Apple TV, which will deliver near DVD quality rips that will stream easily to your ATV.
DivX / AVI
Previously, you could convert any AVI movies you had kicking around using he freely available iSquint (or its shareware big brother, VisualHub), both these programs were discontinued in late September, 2008.
Fortunately, the team behind HandBrake is working to make this free software convert any file (not just DVDs). As of this writing, an early "snapshot" (beta) release of HandBrake 0.9.3 is available with this feature. It seems to work very well. Once HandBrake 0.9.3 is released, you can just use that.
It really isn't the bind you think it is.
Check out Doug's iTunes Scripts. The essential one is Set Video Kind of Selected. Someone has also recommended the more complicated Make Video Tags although this has proven very unreliable for me, crashing iTunes many, many times. Both are designed to move your imported DVD Rips / iSquint conversions from "Movies" to "TV Shows" in your iTunes Library, as well as setting the show name, episode and season.
I have scripts that will:-
- Auto number Episode and Track (then shows correctly in iTunes / ATV) of selected items in one go.
- Change show descriptions en masse, so you can copy and paste from TV Rage's Episode Guides.
- Change show names en masse (Episode 1, Episode 2, etc), as neat placeholders.
- Change show names one by one to custom names, so you can copy and paste from TV Rage's Episode Lists.
Contact me if you would like them. I will ask Doug to put them on his site, too.
Check out MetaX. Pretty easy to use and grabs data from the Internet.
With these tools, you can have all your movies and TV shows perfectly tagged and organised without much effort at all. Ongoing, maintenance is very low. Only your first conversion is the problem.
Rentals / Podcasts / iTunes Store
Come here, there's more. Running 2.0, you get get movie rentals, buy TV shows and browse podcasts straight from your Apple TV.