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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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’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.
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.
Next page: Set up SoftwareMenu
Was very happy to see this little gem.
Have been trying to get the Component / Composite malarkey sorted on my old TV so was keen to try this. But I haven't had any luck with the links to the awkwardtv forum or oxfeedbeef for the files to ssh over. any Idea what's going on as both sites seem to have out of action for a while. I cat fine any other sources either.
found a neat HDMI-DVI / DVI-VGA TRICK but I'm not sure if it will out NASC of PAL.
As always some real misconceptions about quality, target markets etc....
AppleTV is a great product, for doing what it was designed to do... sure a Netgear EVA or Popcorn Hour is a great product also, but neither can hold a candle to the UI and ease of sync/use of the AppleTV.... but the AppleTV isn't so hot at networked machine playback, cannot do 1080p files, no divx, mkv etc without hacking it... but again the AppleTV can do movie rentals.
It depends what you need really... but to call the AppleTV shite, useless etc is very naive and bordering on plain old Apple hating... i've recommended and setup several for friends now, as they want a simple interface, that doesn't require extensive setup. If you're techy then fine, but not everyone is.
As for Tom and his comments regarding TV's and monitors, may i suggest a visit to Specsavers if that is your true feeling as you've clearly got some eyesight issues going on... sure there are a lot of lousy TV's around, but for not a huge chunk of cash there are some cracking ones around too!
Good to see some hacking tips on El Reg -though it means that the hackers herd is getting thin... :-( . Anyway, keep it up!
Of course, a "real" hacker can build an amazing set-top box, with a stripped-down GNU-Linux on it, for 50 quids (Yes, 50. Time ain't worth nothing when it's fun, mate. And it ain't reall hacking actually, just a good selection of off-the-shelf stuff).
Well,to be honest a _real_ real hacker would probably find a way to build a state-of-the-art set-top box running OpenVMS for 1.25 quids. But it might take a few years and involve quite a bit of McGyvering...
'I've never met a single person (in the UK) who owns one of these'
I bought the one they sold in the UK.
tbh I think they're a nice bit of kit. Quiet night in on the sofa with SWMBO, nothing on the TV, nothing you fancy from 'other sources'? Fire up the Apple TV. With a US iTunes account the choice of viewing is very good.
For me it was one of those impulse gadget buys that I don't regret.
Geeks vs Public
If the iplayer downloader could run on appleTV; grab the files and store them for future watching using nothing but the remote control then it'd be worthwhile. Otherwise this is still too tech for most people. You might as well use a computer and stream...