New AppleTV Firmware Reveals Facetime and DVD Support

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As the AppleTV slides through mail slots throughout the country, enterprising hackers are already hard at work plumbing the secrets of the firmware. They’ve already confirmed that the new AppleTV runs on iOS, and even spotted secret reference to two previously unseen iPhone models, and now we have two more tidbits to ponder.

The first is reference within the AppleTV’s IPSW to the future possibility of Facetime support.

Theoretically, it would be no big trick: the AppleTV runs on the same A4 CPU as the Facetime-capable iPhone 4 and fourth generation iPod Touch, after all. All that would be required is an iSight for your HDTV. That may seem absurd, but keep in mind that several HDTV manufacturers are already teaming up with the likes of Skype to deliver in-television video chat and VoIP. Apple has big plans for Facetime, and it seems logical that they will eventually break it free of dependance on handsets as a video chat software platform… the only question is when.

The other interesting bit is reference to DVD support, specifically in .plist driver files for Sanyo, Sharp and Sony DVD players. Are these residual drivers for a previous AppleTV prototype equipped with the ability to rip DVDs? It seems hard to believe that it’s a sign of things to come: Apple’s not going to strip the AppleTV down to its bare components just to build it back up again with extraneous hardware.

[More info at 9to5Mac]