[mythtv-users] Apple TV FE with DVD Player?

Brian Phillips brian.phillips at gmx.net
Sun Jun 22 13:08:57 UTC 2008

From: Josh White
I'd recommend against the Apple TV.  Just this week, I started working with
one, and I've already decided to return it (assuming I can get Target to
take it back without charging me a restocking fee).  To begin with, you need
to do a fairly involved hack job just to get the thing to boot linux.  It
seems to me that you'd be better off with a Mac Mini or something more more
suited to installing linux without jumping through hoops.  I'm not saying
that the hack is difficult, but it just seems like starting off on the wrong
foot.  If you want something with a DVD drive, I'd suggest you find some
kind of micro-itx case that resembles a Mac Mini and build off of that.
Since an Apple TV is just on the cusp of being powerful enough right now,
investing in a setup for one which is a mahcine that is non-upgradable seems
like a bad idea too.  Of course, if you already have one, or of you want one
for other reasons, then it's a fine machine to work with, and I love the
idea of hacking most anything, but if you're buying hardware either way, I'd
suggest buying something else.  


While I can't argue with anything you've said here, I just want to give my
opinions on "the hack" you need to do to get linux running on the ATV.

Like you said, and I'd like to emphasize, you're not saying the hack is
difficult.  I'd call it very easy.  You don't have to modify any code or
anything like that.  All you have to do is partition a USB drive using a
patched version of parted and then copy some files to it.  Press 'Menu' and
'-' on the Apple remote and voila.  No big deal.

As for starting off on the wrong foot.  After getting linux up and running
on the ATV, I'm going to say it's actually not a bad foot to be starting off
on.  The only time you'll need to do something different between the ATV and
any other PC is the hack.  Once you are in the environment the hack gets you
into, it's like you are running any normal PC.

The hack is necessary because the ATV doesn't have a "Press [DEL] to
configure..." PC BIOS.  So the only difference between the ATV and any other
computer is that screen.

Like you say though, the ATV can only do 1080i using MPEG2 with XvMC and you
can forget about 1080p (From tests I've heard).  So if you are looking for
something that has a little more power and a DVD player in it, get a Mac
Mini.  I'd also give that recommendation.

Though the ATV is SUHWEET sitting under my TV, silent as a mouse.  They say
it has a fan in it...  I wouldn't know unless I cracked it open, it's _that_


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