It was bound to happen sooner or later, and sure enough the Apple TV OS has been uploaded to the internet; and is starting to appear on Bittorrent sites.
It is certainly going to mean an increased number of people playing with the software to see what they can do. Maybe booting a regular Mac with the Apple TV software? We wait an see.
Credit for the original information used in making this how-to goes to TylerL82 over at the SomethingAwful.com forums. Written up here by Jonathan Bare.
So while you have your Apple TV open and you’re installing a new hard drive or just following along with the people over at SomethingAwful.com forums to get Xvid working, you might as well un-break SSH so you can access the Apple TV remotely.
Opening the Apple TV and connecting the hard drive to your Intel Mac are covered in the hard drive upgrade and elsewhere, so we’ll skip those steps and jump right to the point where you have the OSBoot and Media volumes mounted on your Mac.
This process assumes using an Intel Mac because the sshd binary may or may not be the same in the PowerPC version of Mac OS X; we haven’t checked. If someone would like to try using the PowerPC binary and let us know if it works, that would be great!
There are 2 ways to go about this; using the finder, or via the terminal. The finder method is probably best if you aren’t sure what is going on, whereas the Terminal method is quicker if you are confident.
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Jonathan Bare has peaked on the Apple TV harddrive (whilst replacing it with a larger one), and noticed the software running on Apple TV has been dubbed by Apple as “Backrow”:
The interface that runs Apple TV is, in part at least, apparently called BackRow and can be found in the OSBoot/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/BackRow.framework. All of the imagery and the Intro.mov startup movie for the Apple TV can be found in the Resources directory at that location.
You can also find the background logo for the boot at OSBoot/System/Library/BootLogo.png.
The members at somethingawful.com have kept tinkering with their Apple TV’s all day, and have made surprising progress. Amongst their achievements:
- They have the VLC player running on the box
- It has been noticed that components Apple Remote Desktop are installed, though no success in getting it working yet
- Some success getting SSH access up and running
- Where Finder.app would normally be is where the specialised interface app lives
Keep it up guys!
Update: Thanks to reader Epon, we now have a way to do this without requiring iPartition. So you can now do the upgrade for only the price of your new harddrive.
Here it is, a step by step tutorial on upgrading your Apple TV harddrive. With thanks to Jonathan Bare, the brave soul who worked this out!
It should be noted that this process will almost certainly void your Apple TV’s warranty and you are attempting this upgrade at your own risk.
You can do this via the terminal, or by using some applications (which add $100 to the cost of the process).
What you need:
2.5″ hard drive (we used a Western Digital 120 GB WD1200VE drive)
Wiebetech Forensic DriveDock (optional, but recommended) or any 2.5″ to Firewire bridge
Subrosasoft’s CopyCatX ($49), or be comfy with the terminal
Coriolis’s iPartition ($45), or use the Apple Factory Restore
This process was done on an Intel Mac Pro. Connecting the Apple TV drive to a Power PC Mac might damage the GUID partition, especially for anyone who hasn’t upgraded to Mac OS X 10.4.6 or newer.
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A tipster by the name of Jonathan Bare has upgraded the drive in an Apple TV from 40gb to 120gb. Gizmodo have a couple of photos of the upgrade, but no process yet.
Our $100 bounty is still up for grabs if someone can provide a documented process for this type of upgrade, before it is published elsewhere.
Update: The prize has been claimed, and the tutorial is available.