Feeds

Hacking the Apple TV

Getting in

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

How to get a colour picture on an SD TV

If, like us, your Apple TV is connected to a standard definition TV, you’ll have a picture, but it’ll be in black and white. The Apple TV’s green component-video connector will feed an SD TV’s yellow composite-video port, but you won’t get a colour picture.

There is a physical hack that gets around this, and we tried it successfully in the past. But it’s tricky and, since upgrading to Apple TV 2.3, it proved hard to get to work. It has to be applied every time the Apple TV’s rebooted.

Apple TV

HDMI and component ports — not good for many SD TVs

Here’s a better option. Download the file TVComposite.tar — you can find it here — and unpack the compressed file. You’ll find the source code along with a Mac OS X kernel extension called TVComposite.kext.

You’ll also need to download hacker Turbo’s utility, turbo_atv_enabler.bin from Oxfeedbeef.com. It provides tools that’ll allow you to dynamically load kernel extensions on the Apple TV.

Copy both TVComposite.kext and turbo_atv_enabler.bin over to the SFTP default directory /Users/frontrow then log in to the Apple TV using your terminal app and enter the following lines:

sudo mount -uw /
sudo chmod -R 755 TVComposite.kext
sudo chown -R root:wheel TVComposite.kext
sudo mv TVComposite.kext /System/Library/Extensions/TVComposite.kext

This code applies the appropriate file and group ownerships to the extension then moves it to its correct location on Mac OS X’s System folder. Now restart the Apple TV. When it’s back up, fire up your terminal again, log in to the box and enter:

sudo chmod 755 turbo_atv_enabler.bin
sudo turbo_atv_enabler.bin
sudo kextload /System/Library/Extensions/TVComposite.kext

Instantly, your black-and-white composite-video image will go full colour.

The downside is that, like the physical hack, it’s not resistant to reboots. Restart your Apple TV and you’ll get a monochrome picture again. Fortunately, there’s a way around it.

Open up a text editor and enter the following lines:

#!/bin/sh
. /etc/rc.common
/Users/frontrow/turbo_atv_enabler.bin
kextload /System/Library/Extensions/TVComposite.kext

Save the file as ATV_Colour, close it and open a new file. Enter the following lines:

{
  Description = "Load Composite Kext";
  Provides = ("Composite");
  OrderPreference = "First";
}

Save the file as StartupParamaters.plist. Use your SFTP app to copy both to the Apple TV’s /Users/frontrow directory. Log in to the Apple TV using a terminal and enter the following:

sudo mkdir /System/Library/StartupItems/ATV_Colour
sudo cp ATV_Colour /System/Library/StartupItems/ATV_Colour/ATV_Colour
sudo cp StartupParameters.plist /System/Library/StartupItems/ATV_Colour/StartupParameters.plist

That’s created the Startup Item, Mac OS X’s system for loading code when it boots. Now we need to make the script executable:

sudo chmod +x /System/Library/StartupItems/ATV_Colour/ATV_Colour

and, last of all, ensure the new Startup Item’s container directory is owned by the system:

sudo chown -R root:wheel /System/Library/StartupItems/ATV_Colour/

Restart the Apple TV, and after an initial monochrome splash screen, colour should kick in. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Half a BILLION in the making: Bungie's Destiny reviewed
It feels very familiar - but it's still good
Apple's big bang: iPhone 6, ANOTHER iPhone 6 Plus and WATCH OUT
Let's >sigh< see what Cupertino has been up to for the past year
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Get your Indian Landfill Android One handsets - they're only SIXTY QUID
Cheap and deafening mobes for the subcontinental masses
Apple's SNEAKY plan: COPY ANDROID. Hello iPhone 6, Watch
Sizes, prices and all – but not for the wrist-o-puter
DARPA-backed jetpack prototype built to make soldiers run faster
4 Minute Mile project hatched to speed up tired troops
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.