aTV Flash Unlocks your Apple TV

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Update: reader Michael Pantoja shares his experience with aTV Flash in the comments, worth a read.

The AppleTV is great for playing video from iTunes, but can’t play video from alternative sources like file-sharing networks. Now, a software update from Apple Core, called aTV Flash promises to unlock tons of great functionality for the Apple TV.

aTV Flash is essentially a bundling of open source hacks for AppleTV originally published at awkwardtv.org into a convenient flash based package that promises to take the guesswork out of applying the updates. aTV ships as a flash drive, that automatically updates your AppleTV as soon as it’s plugged in. The package claims a plug-n-play installation with 1 year of free updates.

Features include:

- Play most video formats (DivX, Xvid, AVI, WMV, RMVB + more)
– Play DVD files WITHOUT converting them
– Sync, organize and watch non-iTunes video files
– Browse the web with a Safari based web browser
– Rent & watch Hi-Def movies from Jaman.com
– Stream media from UPnP(v1) media servers
– View local weather forecasts
– View RSS Feeds
– Enable SSH access

As well as supporting just about all popular CODECs, the $60.00 flash update could greatly enhance your AppleTV experience.

Caveat

Applecore’s website asserts that when applying these patches you’re not voiding your warranty, that said you are hacking the OS of your AppleTV, and preventing it from updating itself in the future. While we researched the manual patching process at awkwardtv.org and it does seem to be reversible we do believe that one should enter into such endeavors eye’s wide open.

  • Michael Pantoja

    I just did a Factory Restore on my AppleTV after trying desperately to get aTV Flash to work as advertised.

    The site has some pretty serious omissions. This is a collection of disparate shareware apps on a flash drive. Many require additional downloads and Terminal skills. There is almost no documentation included and no online documentation on the Apple Core site. You will be directed to various wikis on each app’s developer pages.

    A few of aTV’s/AppleCore’s shortcomings:

    - You must perform a Factory Restore and update before installing aTV. Yup, you have to reinstall all of your media files (100GB for me). This would be forgivable if everything else worked.
    - Flash is installed, but requires copying OS 10.4 files from a Tiger install DVD or an Intel Mac running 10.4. Even then, Couch Surfer fails to display Flash and freezes AppleTV anytime it encounters Flash Video.
    - There are no previews for movies in nitoTV, Sapphire or Files unless they are commercial movies
    - There are references to features that are not documented (“Play DVD files WITHOUT converting them”, “DVD Import Location”).
    - Misleading statements about it’s ease of use (“just drag and drop your media files onto the Apple TV”, this required an SFTP client; “Sync, organize and watch non-iTunes video files”, there is no “sync” capability… that implies automated, two way communication rather than SFTP).

    This package is for tinkerers only. Ironically, it’s marketed as a plug and play solution (“The software installs automatically, and no modification or coding is required.”). Anybody that is willing to put this kind of time into tweaking their AppleTV can download the apps and use a spare flash drive to install them. You’re going to be visiting those site anyways to read the documentation.

    The support staff is polite and timely in their responses. Unfortunately, they couldn’t give me my time back.

  • leigh

    @Michael: Thanks for sharing your experiences with your fellow readers!

  • Owen Panton

    I wished somebody would create the same thing for front row.

  • CiscoTM

    You should check out ATV4Windows.com we sell a patchstick that blows away aTVFlash. we also offer a download were a user can put the files on his own USB Disk and have it same day for $15! We also provide a Website with updates, forums, weekly updates of our software, news. Our is also a better price!

    Watch our youtube video of install
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

    http://www.ATV4Windows.com

    You should make a post about this!

  • Ronbeerguy

    managed to install with the flash drive but only Jaman movies came up. No other apps. Couldn’t update apple tv to update. Very disappointed. Don’t waste your money.

  • Apple Core, LLC

    Apple Core now has a support forum dedicated to the aTV Flash software.

    http://www.applecorellc.com/fo

  • Nelson1240

    This product does not function, have made several attempts, different USB drive, even one they sent me and it does not load, total waste of time and money, stay away

About the author

Leigh McMullen

Leigh McMullen leads the Advisory Services & Strategy practices for the professional services arm of one of the Big-Five firms. He has written several books that would cure any insomnia you might have, and is an avid Mac junkie.

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Posted in AppleTV, Hardware Hacks |