Apple TV + = Great Experience

I own an Apple TV for quite some time, I just loved the form factor of the device and figured out, it’s really good stuff. I could see all the photographs, watch all podcasts/videos and listen most of music, more often on Apple TV than before.

As we all know, Apple builds innovative products but at the same time, it does suck by keeping it’s platform very closed. Be it iPod, iPhone or Apple TV, it’s just really hard to do anything except the ones Apple wants you to do.

Anyway, thanks to the great community of hackers, who spend hours figuring out things and building some great stuff. Some great hackers came up with various ideas to open the closed Apple TV, well initially it was physically opening up the box but later on smarter solutions appeared. Now it’s so simple, one can patch (enable SSH and install some apps) Apple TV by using patchstick, it doesn’t require you to open the box physically.

I can mount my USB disks and use keyboard/mouse in the patched Apple TV. Well that opens to a lot of possibilities.
With the simpler patching process, a lot of applications for Apple TV started appearing, one of such products is, which is a media-center application. Of course, Boxee is available for all other platforms (Windows, GNU/Linux, OSX, etc) but I believe, it’s the best companion of Apple TV like devices.

I have been having good time using Boxee on Apple TV. I can not only play all my media (pictures, videos, music) in much better way but also enjoy online stuff (music, videos, podcasts, pictures, etc), be it recommended by my friends in Boxee social network or various other channels/apps available on Boxee.

Boxee can download movie-subtitles and show with a great ease. It can also fetch a lot of metadata (covert-art, album-art, thumbnails, information, ratings, reviews, etc) for videos/music from various online databases (f.ex. IMDB, etc).

The latest version (still in testing: build) allows you to easily install various applications made for Boxee by community or Boxee developers?

I even noticed, Boxee can run applications that are based on Adobe Flash Platform, yeah Joost or MTV feeds/apps are Adobe Flash based.

The best thing, Boxee is based on XBMC, an open-source application. I think, it’s worth writing a post about Boxee, hence I just did that. rocks!!!

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  • Ted Landry

    Thanks for writing this article, the AppleTV indeed rocks, just wish it has more access outside the iTunes universe.
    I’ve read over the Boxee instructions for AppleTV and started in that direction, but it’s no picnic to say the least.
    I may end up getting a mac mini do do all of it, but FrontRow is pretty weak compared to how the AppleTV operates so it’s a problem either way.
    Come on Apple! Free the AppleTV!

  • Andrew Thompson

    Hello from Nova Scotia – Canada
    I have patched my ATV and now have almost everything I want on it including the Firefox browser. I say almost everything as I cannot yet get Firefox to play Flash content (specifically on the BBC iPlayer through Foxy Proxy). I have downloaded Flash Player many times and event run a script to install it. Still no luck.
    Any thoughts you might have would be gratefully received.

  • Hi
    This is what I did:-
    I copied flash player related files from my mac osx (/Library/Internet Plug-Ins) to Apple TV’s /Library/Internet Plug-Ins folder, you might have to create this folder, if it doesn’t exist.
    Restarted firefox in Apple TV and it worked. You might need some frameworks (Audio, etc) in your Apple TV. If you have OSX 10.4 DVD or update-combo, you can extract and copy to Apple TV.
    However, try what I did above, you might see Flash Player working.

  • Kiran

    I’ve been keeping up with Apple news on your blog.
    I thought you and your readers might be interested in this Bollywood version of an iTunes spot.

    It’s a cool homage to Apple’s signature ad campaign. Enjoy!
    – Kiran

  • kevin

    Could you point me to a site that describes how to enable USB keyboard support for ATV 2.3.1? I’ve found quite a few sites but none specifically mention 2.3.1 and since it is modifying important OS files i don’t want to end up bricking my ATV by following something that only works for ATV 1.1

    • @kevin: I don’t exactly remember all steps, but I guess, I had to copy some kext (kernel extensions) for various HID and USB devices from my Tiger (10.4.8) disk to Apple TV.

      The other easy way is, which I guess, I eventually did:

      1) Download 10.4.8 combo updater (dmg) from Apple’s site. (please read for exact version and link)
      2) Copy it to /Users/frontrow/Documents on Apple TV
      2) Install NitoTV
      3) Use NitoTV’s option (don’t remember exactly), which can basically install most of the things automatically, provided you have done #2.

      hope that helps.


  • Johnswhite

    It still amazes me how companies like Microsoft, Apple and Sony have not even come close to developing what I and what most people want. In the industry, they call it the Holy Grail – the complete media center solution. I think the answer is pretty straight forward but these companies have not even come close – but Apple is the closest at the moment.

    r4 dsi

  • maureenmalloy

    Abdul, I just installed the Boxee via the instructions on their website using the USB Flash Drive. However, their installer doesn’t include the Adobe Flash Player. How are you viewing stuff? I can’t figure out how to install the Flash Player, and therefore, I find this application to be useless. Please advise. Thanks.