Whilst some interesting working is being done with plugins for the Apple TV, the number of new hacks as declined. While this is somewhat inevitable as certain milestones are achieved, we think there is still a lot to be done. Here are some of the current and possible future projects for the Apple TV.
Apple TV in your Car
AppleTVHacks is not aware of any teams currently attempting this, but we are sure it is only a matter of time. DVD players are becoming commonplace in cars, certainly in family vehicles where the kids can be kept entertained whilst travelling.
The Apple TV represents the next step in evolution for exactly this scenario, you can load up content for the kids, which they can choose between (fight over!) themselves while you concern yourself with experimenting with your cruise control. When the kids aren’t listening, you can use it to stream music through the car stereo, and everyone is happy.
Add the fact that your wireless probably reaches the Garage where the car is parked and updating the content becomes a breeze.
Until Apple deliver a functioning install of the iTunes Store that is integrated with the Apple TV operating system, anyone looking for automated downloading of their favourite shows ready for watching when they get home from work is stuck.
The Apple TV can already handle using other media players, and so all that is needed is another source of content. Enter torrents, which combned with RSS subscriptions could automatically obtain content as it appears. All that is needed is for these elements to be tied together, maybe wrapped up in a plugin and a microwave that does the popcorn on a timer.
Man in the Middle Upgrade
This could be the most important hack to date; it would allow hacking and upgrading the Apple TV without any need to open the case or download and apply patches using a USB drive. That is of course, if it is possible….
The Apple TV uses a built in Software Update mechanism which contacts Apple’s servers to check for updates. These updates will presumably allow Apple to fix and enhance the Apple TV’s built in features (no updates have been seen yet). You may be aware that these built in features are actually just plugins to the core application, which means the Software Update system would have the ability to access the plugins.
This hack would involve tweaking the settings on your wireless router to trick your Apple TV into asking for Software Updates from your computer. Your computer could then provide additional plugins of your choosing and you’d never have had to void your warranty in the process.
Linux on the Apple TV
Obviously, any hardcore geeks are keen to see Linux on any new electronic device, and the geeks over at AwkwardTV are working on exactly that.
Whilst we’ve already seen Mac OS X on Apple TV, there would be some benefits to having Linux running. Most notably that Linux is free and might unlock features of the Apple TV for those without an OS X install to apply.
Some initial success has been made, but there is a fair way to go yet before installing Linux on the Apple TV becomes useful to anyone who isn’t doing it just for the fun of it. One to keep an eye on.