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

Scott D. Davilla davilla at 4pi.com
Sun Jun 22 16:15:49 UTC 2008

>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.

"fairly involved hack job", ouch. If you think it is a hack job now, 
you should have seen it six months ago when you had to really hack 
the kernel itself to get boot ;)

I think I've done a pretty good job with atv-bootloader at removing 
the very nasty hacks to get Linux and MythTV installed and working 
smoothly. I've even spent an enormous amount of time creating guides 
that detail the steps required. Yes, one does require some knowledge 
of Linux to get say Mythbuntu running in a minimal amount of time.

Here's the bottom line for those thinking about an AppleTV as a 
MythTV frontend. Does it work -- Yes. Is it a one-click install -- 
No. Can you download a prebuilt disk image that contains everything 
-- Not yet. You are going to have to invest some effort and a minimal 
amount of learning to build it.

I see 10-20 downloads of the main component per day. That download 
rate has been holding steady for several months now. I also see very 
minimal postings on the atv-bootloader discussion group requesting 
(and getting) help. Most of the time, these posts are from users that 
have very minimal or no Linux experience. This tells me that the 
guides are pretty good.

So if time == money for you, then just spend three times the cost of 
an AppleTV and buy a MacMini and move on.


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