How To: Make Your Apple TV Useful

AppleTVApple TV has been out in the wild for less than a month, and already hackers are extending its functionality and making the little grey box do things Apple never intended.  Want to expand your hard drive, play Div-X files, view RSS feeds or even run OS-X on your new box?  Look no further than our complete guide to Apple TV Hacks.

A caveat; attempting any of these hacks will void your warranty. Having said that, let’s go!

First off, you have to go through the physical act of removing your drive and mount it on true-blue Mac desktop or laptop.  The best place to learn the exact details of Apple TV surgery are at the Awkward TV wiki.  If you’re not willing to do the research has an Apple TV Upgrade Kit available with a 160gb harddrive, Torx T8 tool and detailed photo instructions.

A vanilla Apple TV doesn’t run anything but Quicktime files, which is fine if all you want to do is stream your iTunes library from your computer to your television.  But if you want to watch Xvid, Divx or other popular formats, Perian is the plug-in you’ll need.

But just watching video is just the beginning with a hacked Apple TV, which is essentially a scaled-down Mac built to occupy space in your living room.  Enterprising hackers have already come up with ways to view RSS feeds, emulate old video game systems, full versions of the Mac OS X operating system and even run World of Warcraft.  There’s also a bounty out sponsored by and FatWallet to get the Apple TV to recognize an external USB drive, though as of yet no solution as been found.

Of course, Apple could simply update the device’s system software and negate the hard work of a large community of tinkerers, but they’ve indicated they aren’t preparing to take action against the hackers anytime soon.


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