Sunday, March 25, 2007

Apple TV hacked in two days

The Apple TV has barely started shipping but it's already been hacked. First, Gizmodo reported being able to swap the ATV's hard drive for a much larger one, in this case 120 Gb. And then, using Walt Mossberg's claim that the ATV runs a stripped-down version of Mac OS X, Something Awful has posted instructions on how to make it play Xvid video files. For those of you that already have an Apple TV, the major steps are as follows:

1. Open it up (4 screws on the bottom, small Torx bit)
2. Put the 2.5" drive into a USB enclosure or whatever you want
3. Mount the HFS filesystem
4. Install Perian in /Library/Quicktime (as you normally would)
5. Install Dropbear (or enable SSH if you know how... we gave up and used Dropbear)
6. Add a startup script to disable the firewall or open up the ports you need for SSH
7. Put the drive back in and boot it, ssh login as frontrow, password frontrow (or add an ssh key for yourself)
8. Use a reference movie (use QT Pro to save a reference movie) to bootstrap your xvid file

But be sure to check out the full instructions at Something Awful's site so that you don't ruin your four day old Apple TV!

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