Hacks

Get Apple TV to work with SCART

by editor @ AppleTVHacks.net on August 23, 2007

Component to SCART

Thomas Schmidt (Germany) got an Apple TV as a gift from his girlfriend but soon realized that it wouldn’t work with his non-HD television, which lacks component input. So he set out to build a converter to convert the component output from Apple TV to RGB (SCART) input.

Through trials and errors, he was able to build a prototype of the device. Not a pretty one but it does work. The schematics, photos and the PCB layout of his creation can be found here.

Thanks, Thomas. We hope you and your girlfriend are enjoying the Apple TV. Let’s hope that Apple finally sells TV shows and movies on iTunes Germany soon so you will get to enjoy it even more. And better start saving up for a new HDTV soon.

Oh, and US readers, you can pretty much ignore the whole post since SCART-equipped TVs are virtually non-existent in the US.

USB Patch: 2 days later

by editor @ AppleTVHacks.net on July 29, 2007

We are aware that the USB Patch released on Friday night was pretty restrictive on the requirements:  Intel-Mac, OS X files, Apple TV Software 1.0, etc.

Now that the source code is out in the wild,  we would like the community to investigate these issues and submit improvements over the existing code.

We feel that the highest priority is to make the patch work with Apple TV software 1.1.  Reverting back your Apple TV software to the previous version is just a step backward.  One shouldn’t have to be forced to do this.

Next priority is to make the install script work on other environments:  Windows, PPC OS X, etc. Correct me if I’m wrong but if all of compilation takes place on the Apple TV, (which runs the Intel version of OS X) then there shouldn’t be any restrictions on the computer that remotes into it, right?  Or you can just tell me that I’m full of it.

Of course, the ultimate goal is to wrap the geeky stuff in a nice GUI, then we’ll all be happy.  Volunteers?

So what are you waiting for?  Help us out.  All lines are opened, operators are standing by.

USB patch released. HALLELUJAH!

by editor @ AppleTVHacks.net on July 28, 2007

After numerous delays, we present you the USB patch that you guys have been waiting for. You can find the link to the patch at the bottom of this blog entry.

Just a recap for those who are not familiar with this. A few months back, AppleTVHacks.net and FatWallet set up a bounty looking for a way to use an external USB drive as a primary storage for the Apple TV. The patch must still allow the Apple TV to boot from its internal hard drive but only use the external USB drive as its primary storage.

First of all, our team would like to thank Patrick Walton of University of Chicago for sending us the original entry. We certainly appreciate his effort; it was a quite an achievement. Unfortunately, syncing did not work. By the time we realized the problem, Patrick was already too busy to fix his code.

Fortunately, Tom Anthony, our resident geek, was able to pick up where Patrick left off and fixed the syncing problem that the original patch had.

We would also like to thank Turbo for spending the time to test out the patch.

Instructions

The patch was written for and, therefore, tested on Apple TV software version 1.0. If you have 1.1, the patch might not work. Please let us know if you can get the patch to work on 1.1.

What you need:

  • An ssh-enabled Apple TV. If you don’t have that enabled yet, you can refer to this post to get it enabled. For instructions on how to enable ssh without opening the case, refer to this wiki page.
  • An Intel-Mac or Intel-based *nix. This is needed to run the script to patch the kernel on the Apple TV remotely. It maybe possible to run the install script under Windows using cygwin. However, we have not tried this.
  • An installed version of Mac OS X 10.4 Intel. Or a full copy of the contents of the “/System/Library/Extensions” folder from one.
  • An original, unmodified copy of the ‘mach_kernel.prelink’ file from the Apple TV. If the kernel on your Apple TV has not been modified yet, you can just tell the script to get it from there. Otherwise, you can obtain the file from Apple TV Software 1.1 update available here.
  • An external USB drive formatted using “Journaled HFS+” with the Apple Parition Map option (which is the default). This is the format the Apple TV expects.

The Procedure

  • Once you have all of the above, extract the zip file and READ THE README file. In it, you’ll find the instructions on how to run the script and what to do get the USB drive to work.
  • IMPORTANT: Please please please please back up the content of your Apple TV first before running the patch script. If there is one important step in performing the patch, it is BACKING UP your Apple TV.
  • Once you have your Apple TV backed up, run the script “install-atvrhd.sh” and follow the instructions. This process should take you less than 5 minutes. Once the kernel on your Apple TV is patched, the device will reboot.

Using it

  • Turn on the Apple TV without the USB drive inserted.
  • Wait for the intro sequence (flying TV screens, etc.) and insert the USB drive then.
  • Once inserted, the content of the internal hard drive will be copied to the external hard drive. This process can take a very long time. To remedy this, we recommend that you erase the content of your internal hard drive first so that there is no need to copy the content.
  • The Apple TV will restart automatically after the content is copied.
  • At this point, your Apple TV will use the external drive as its primary storage.

Uninstall

Under Unix or Intel Mac, use “uninstall-atvrhd.sh” to uninstall the patch. It should undo the changes – however, if you get really stuck, use the “Factory Restore” feature on your Apple TV.
Support

If you would like discuss about this patch (problems, praises, etc.), please use AppleTVSource.com’s Forums page for that.

And lastly

AppleTVHacks.net team would like to thank FatWallet for sponsoring this bounty and for their patience. Without them, this would not be possible.

We would also like to apologize to the community for delaying the release of this patch. We never thought that it would take this long. We know that many of you were dissatisfied (to put it lightly) with the progress. Many unforeseen events happened that resulted in the delay. Please accept our sincere apology.

Good luck experimenting with it. And, remember, BACKUP!

USB Patch

$1000 bounty still unclaimed; future bounty suggestions?

by editor @ AppleTVHacks.net on April 15, 2007

A week ago, in partnership with FatWallet.com, we announced a $1000 bounty for hacking an Apple TV to use an external USB drive for storage.

We’ve been monitoring the activity through the community, and whilst many parts of the overall hack have been achieved, nobody has managed to tick all the boxes yet. The $1000 bounty is proving to be the most elusive so far, but we think the work everyone is doing will be well worth it.

Future Bounties

We’ve been receiving suggestions for what we could offer future bounties for. What would you like to see your Apple TV do now which still hasn’t been provided by a hack?

$1000 Bounty for External USB Drive Hack

by editor @ AppleTVHacks.net on April 8, 2007

AppleTVHacks.net and FatWallet.com have teamed up to offer a $1000 bounty for the first team to get an Apple TV to use an external USB drive for storage.

The bounty will be won by the first team to submit a verified process and patch, within the rules:

  • Patch must allow a USB hard drive, plugged into the Apple TV’s USB port to act as the default and primary storage for the Apple TV.
  • The Apple TV must still boot from the internal drive and cannot use a complete replacement OS (the kernel may be patched, and additional kexts added).
  • Patch must allow the media to be accessed as it would be were the internal drive being used (i.e if you couldn’t see their was a USB drive attached you wouldn’t know).
  • Patch must be able to be applied without opening the case.
  • Patch must be able to be removed (and the Apple TV to original configuration) without opening the case.
  • No commercial files can be used asides from those found on the Apple TV or Mac OS X Intel. All others must be freely and legally distributable.
  • The process cannot have been previously published, or demonstrated / distributed publicly.
  • Judges decision is final.

As usual entries should be made to submissions@appletvhacks.net, with the subject “USB Bounty”. Questions in the comments, please.

To get started, take a look at the USB page over at the AwkwardTV Wiki, ask questions at the Hackint0sh forums or in IRC at #awkwardtv on irc.moofspeak.net.

FatWallet.com, sponsors of the bounty, offers Cash Back shopping and Coupons for many of the best online stores, and is home to one of the leading shopping forums on the web. Big thanks to them!

Hack the Apple TV without opening the case

by editor @ AppleTVHacks.net on April 3, 2007

Now that we can install full Mac OS X on the Apple TV, it really opens up the doors for making softmods to the Apple TV.

It appears the full version of Mac OS X will boot from an external USB drive, according to Turbo, the hacker who first managed to get the Apple TV to boot from USB.

Once booted, you can modify the Apple TV’s internal harddrive without needing to crack the case; and so you could enable SSH, Apache, or Apple Remote Desktop. You could even install 3rd party media centers, or just install some plugins.

Booting from USB requires booting the Apple TV as nromal then holding ‘menu’ and ‘-‘ keys on the remote to initiate a restore boot. From there it takes a bit of timing, Turbo explains, “If I hold down menu and – from poweron until the first screen flash, I believe that it does the equivalent of cmd-opt-p-r. I only got it to boot from USB by releasing it at that point, then hitting it again just before the screen flashes on the second reset.”

He went on to explain that after the initial boot in this fashion; the Apple TV now boots from his USB drive by default if it is attached.

Obviously, we expect to see a whole host of softmods crop up, allowing people to tinker with their Apple TV’s without having to void the warranty by cracking it open.

Update: Turbo has posted detailed instructions on this on his site

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