Feeds

Hacking the Apple TV

Getting in

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Using the Patchstick

We plugged ATV USB Creator into the Apple TV, restarted the hardware and watched Linux boot up and SSH copied across. It takes a just couple of minutes all told, but it doesn’t automatically restart, so you’ll need to watch out for the on-screen warning to remove the patchstick and restart the Apple TV.

Login

Logging in to the Apple TV using SSH

Restarting the device, this time without the Flash drive disconnected, and we got the usual Apple TV front end. And so far there’s nothing about the UI to tell you it’s been opened up.

Starting up a terminal application on a nearby networked computer, however, and you’ll be able to log in to the Apple TV using SSH. Just enter ssh frontrow@appletv.local then key in the password — frontrow — when you’re asked for it. If appletv.local isn’t recognised, use the Apple TV’s IP address, which you can get from the machine’s Settings/General/Network menu.

SSH lets you explore the file system through a terminal application, but you’ll also need an SFTP client to copy files across easily.

Apple TV Network Settings

Apple TV’s network settings

Users comfortable with the Unix terminal may prefer the scp command. You’ll need to use the -r option to ensure Mac OS X entities that appear as single files but are actually directories get copied across in their entirety.

Now back to the modifications. ATV USB Creator allows you to load your USB boot drive with SoftwareMenu, a handy tool for running scripts and managing Apple TV functionality plug-ins — of which SoftwareMenu is itself one. We didn’t use this option, so had to install SoftwareMenu manually, which we’ll detail here. You can use ATV USB Creator, but it’s worth reading the next few paragraphs because it shows you how to install any Apple TV plug-in beyond those the ATV USB Creator and SoftwareMenu will install for you.

File transfer

Copy across files using SFTP

You can download the latest version of Thomas Cool’s SoftwareMenu from Awkward TV here. Unpack the file and you’ll get a folder containing a second folder, called SoftwareMenu.frappliance — it’s the .frappliance suffix that identifies it as an Apple TV plug-in.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Next page: Set up SoftwareMenu

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.