Apple TV plugin to play non-iTunes videos

by editor @ on March 29, 2007

ericIII, from the awesome AwkwardTV gang has constructed the first useful plugin (known as a ‘frapplication’) for the Apple TV.

It allows you to play video content stored on the AppleTV, but not inside the iTunes media file structure. This is a great first step towards integrating additional software features right into the Apple TV:

A couple plugins we would like to see are:

– A quit menu. We would like to be able access the other features that are being enabled for the Apple TV (alternative media players, 3rd party applications etc.) whilst keeping quick and easy access to the standard Apple TV GUI.

– A games menu. This would be a nice addition for people with kids, simple games that can be played using the remote.

– An RSS reader. Quickly and easily read news from your favourite websites on your TV, whilst eating cereal.

– A Record menu! This one would be a biggie, built right into the Apple TV, the option to record programs using a schedule.

What would you like from a plugin built right into the Apple TV?

Update: You can now download it here.

  • Joe


    Now I want to see this play my mythtv ring buffer!

    I’ll buy 4 of em tomorrow if they can be made into full fledged mythtv frontends. Of course they’ll need to support DVD playback via a USB DVD drive too.

    I am considering starting up a couple of bounties to achieve just those goals… DVD playback, and mythtv frontend integration. Would anyone else commit a few bucks?

  • Jim

    I would like to be able to serve music, video and photos to the ATV via TVersity, also directly from a NAS via FireFly server

  • osage


    I ould like a:

    • torrent-plugin. Search 4 movies. download en play.
    • podcast updater, downloads new podcasts directly 2 Apple TV (no sync or stream)
    • play DivX

  • osage 2Q


    I would like a:

    • torrent-plugin. Search 4 movies. download en play.
    • podcast updater, downloads new podcasts directly 2 Apple TV (no sync or stream)
    • play DivX

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  • ALM

    Widgets. Especially Weather.

  • Tom

    I too would like to use an AppleTV as a MythTV frontend. For years I’ve thought about building a microatx type frontend but I don’t think you could build anything nearly as beautiful for the same price/ease as just buying an AppleTV. I currently use my 17″ lamp iMac as a Mythfrontend so I can’t see why it shouldn’t be possible with an AppleTV.

  • Mikkel Falkenberg

    I would like an option to record content from a DVD directly to the internal HD.

    An other thing that would be nice is an interface to gamecontroller like the wii controller and a ping-pong game and spaceinvaders

  • Bartek

    Yes, RSS reader would be great but I’d love it to synchronize data with Google Reader so that once I read something on my Apple TV it will later be shown as read on my computer.

    Dashboard with Widgets would be awesome too. There are thousands of useful widgets already and if somebody could make them work on Apple TV, we would get all these features at once, “for free”.

  • Joe

    Playing Video_TS files would be awsome!

  • i would like a Lyrics screensaver, a RSS screensaver, a divx+subtitles function and a podcast updater…

  • I’m going nuts. Mine is now 1 state away from being delivered.

    Only one comment about RSS breakfast: I’d rather a fried egg sandwich with provolone and tomatoes. I tend to have cereal for lunch.

  • Roger

    I would like to see something that iTunes already does: Webradio.

    ITunes provides access to tons of Webradio stations. I would really like my AppleTV to be able to play that. Shouldn’t be too difficult.

  • Roger

    Being able to use iTunes Vizualizer plugins would be nice

  • mefkeys

    Play all video formats! We want a box that does stuff like .mkv playback. What XBMC does for the XBox, the AppleTV should do for the Mac 😉

    Oh and 5.1 sound through the optical out would be nice 😉 Ordered one, will join in asap and see how far we can stretch this!

  • matt

    I would love to see a eyetv support. Just plugin your usb dvb-t stick and whatch movies. record them, sync them over to your itunes… and so on…

  • Macmenco

    Just a me too for the mythtv frontend.

  • Tom

    Where are the widgets? I was half expecting Apple to integrate Widgets into the Apple TV somehow. It seems like a natural fit but I guess it would need a mouse/keyboard to be most useful….

  • Pat

    At this point, I am really wondering if it is worth buying an Apple TV instead of a Mac Mini. For sure, the Mac Mini is more expensive, but at least, you don’t need to open the box to replace the HD inside, you just buy an external HD if you need to.

    Frontrow is also present on the Mac mini, and it has a full blown OS X system running which means you can install any software you want to be able to play back any video format you want.

    Also, the Mac mini has a built-in DVD player (I don’t need it to burn, but one could easily imagine being in need of a burner when an extension shows up that allows to record TV). It also has the tiny remote control and DVI output that you can easily plug into via a DVI->HDMI cable in your TV. For the sound, simply get a cable and plug the output of the mini into the L/R inputs of you TV set.

    Also, the Mac mini runs iTunes, so we could buy TV shows from the TV set directly. It has wireless connectivity and a Gigabit ethernet card.

    I am really considering the option now. Also, there is no need to hack the OS in the Mini, since it is just a regular OS X, you can install any software you may want.

    Am I missing something about the Apple TV?

  • R2B2

    1. How cool would iChat AV be on this thing? Obviously not for text chatting, but if someone could get USB webcams with a built in mic working on this thing we could have a very cool video phone.

    2. I would also love to see iScrobbler on AppleTV to keep my page up to date.

    3. The ability to stream music from my AppleTV to my Airport Express.

    4. My last wish is for the AppleTV to stream video from any of my networked computers. With my Tivo, I like how I can specify a folder on my computer to host video files for later viewing on my Tivo. I hate that I have to re-encode all my videos for it though.

  • R2B2

    Ah yes, this would look nice on top of my TV =)

  • JP!

    I’d like to see eyeTV working for the appleTV!

  • Xibalba

    Wow, it is great to see how the AppleTV is becoming more and more useful than its limited intended retail purpose.

    I will actually consider buying one when it can finally behave similarly to what XBMC on the modded xbox can do – and only then because of its size for travel – until then XBMC does way way more…

  • john

    I’d love to see support for a DVD drive through the USB…

  • Jim

    How about a plugin for video game emulators?

  • Lou

    I would like to see support for DVArchive. I would love to have this hooked up to my replaytv.

  • TheByrdMan

    I would like to see the USB port enabled for an external expansion drive and printer (via a USB hub). And some method to share this drive with the rest of the computers in my house.

  • kyto

    MAME and C64s.

  • Nick

    1. Ability to play recordings from EyeTV without any recoding being necessary.
    2. Ability to plug in a DVB-T stick and view/record TV programs.
    3. Access to Internet Radio

  • I’d prefer to see the tvmax+ over the eyetv (yeah, they are basically the same manufacturer) but the tvmax also has the hardware encoder which would overcome some limitations of using a basic eyetv on the appletv.

  • steph

    I would love to see The Filter on my AppleTV – as it is at present I have to go to my Mac – make a shed load of playlists and then spend the rest of the day listening to them through my AppleTV.

    Would love to be able to do this directly from my TV without having to go upstairs.

  • Would it be possible to write a QuickTime plug-in to letterbox the output in real-time? It wouldn’t work for the GUI but at least would fix the aspect ratio of movies for old 4:3 televisions.

    Or does anyone know where the resolution settings are located? Since we can switch between 480p, 720p, 1080i and all, I’m guessing the horizontal values aren’t hard-coded and a file somewhere holds the resolution setting.

  • Paolo

    Since the file browser is up and USB now works….

    Console Emulators + Wireless Gamepad = Apple TV Virtual Console

    File Structure OK
    — Mario
    — Punch Out

    Super Nintendo
    — F-Zero
    — Joe and Mac

    Now we need people to make emulators run….

    Oh and a RSS Reader, Widgets…!!!

  • ian

    The two killer apps that would send me rushing to the store are:

    Safari – web browse from the sofa. Web on TV has sucked so far, but HD changes that.

    Apple Remote Desktop – I don’t REALLY want my computer in the lounge, but I’d love to check my mail, or just tinker when I’m watching the kids…


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  • Derek

    Definitely second the internet radio. This is a major strike against having it to replace the computer I have hooked up to my stereo. Even the $99 AirTunes can support internet radio (albeit by running from a computer rather than aTV’s interface.) I wonder why Apple didn’t include it.

  • Robert

    you can make playlists in itunes and drop radio stations in like you would tracks.

  • I’m sure its in here somewhere, but I would love to see a TV Tuner working with Apple TV. The ideal solution would mix an USB based TV Tuner (like the Elgato EyeTV Hybrid or EyeTV 250) and an onboard EPG on the AppleTV box.

    This would need two new main menu items:

    Watch TV – initiate live TV from the USB device and swap channels or watch recorded material.

    Record TV – initiate the EPG and “click to record this”.

    Oh baby…

  • Perry

    I can’t believe I’m the first to ask for this. I would love to see a fully integrated joost plugin. I haven’t been able to try out the service but it looks really exciting and if it was fully integrated into the Apple TV it could be a truly killer app.

  • Stuart

    Reply to: marcosmh.

    I think you’re getting the CFBundleName in the main menu because the plugin hasn’t been localised as yet, and I can see from your screenshots that you’ve got the the AppleTV set to non-English language. Checkout the ATVFiles page on AwkwardTV wiki:



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  • JJ

    I’d like to see the AppleTV able to see other Music shares on my home WiFi Net. I own an Olive Musica which all of the Macs in the house can see from iTunes…but not AppleTV. I’m sure it’s a simple “magic-bit” that needs to be a “1” rather than a “0”. And Amen on the iTunes Radio….when can we expect Apple to add that? 🙁

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  • Nik

    Would be more then perfect if it can stream flash video format…

  • marc

    Here’s an even better idea.

    What if you could mount a network drive on the appletv and then have a plugin that played those files. I completely works with front row, and it would solve all the problems with trying to sync content that’s not itunes friendly (xvid, divx, flv, etc…)

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  • Joakim Ek

    Totally agree with Mark

    The ability to mount a network drive, and then the ability to play DVD rips from dmg or iso files!

  • DJ

    I’d love to stream audio to my airport express base stations from WITHIN tv. What a nice interface to control multi-room music.

  • redsoxfandave

    I’d like to be able to stream my MLBTV or MLB Mosaic from my computer to Apple TV.

  • Michael

    I might have overlooked this feature, but the most obvious thing I would like to see from my Apple TV is to plug my ipod into the usb port and play music on the apple tv from my ipod music library. I’d also like a sleep timer and a wakeup timer so i can fall asleep with everything on and then wake up to some preselcted tunes on a playlist in the morning instead of shitty fm radio.

  • Tony

    I’d like a way to insert my elgato USB tv-tuner into the AppleTV and allow me to see live TV through the AppleTV and record shows on it. Also – an external BluRay or HD-DVD player in the same form factor as the AppleTV would be cool.

  • Joseph

    I hope it can play all format vedio, like rmvb, wma, avi, mpeg, Video_TS….everything that I download.

  • ATVLoader

    HOW I install ATVLoader. I’m new on MAC 😉

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