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  1. #1
    vma
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    Default Questions on ATV1

    Hi,

    I am newly registered, but have been following Hackintosh for years. I have a MacOS partition, I have an iPhone and iPad and hacking is my favorite hobby.

    As I am running out of current projects I was first keen on getting me an ATV2, but then thought that it's potential for hacking is not that great. I have to acd, that I already have seven Xboxes running XBMC and I also have a dedicated Atom based VDR+XBMC MiniPC, capable of HDTV.

    Anyway, I read all about the ATV1 and noticed that I can still purchase it where I live for 189. This got me quite excited, as it seems to have much mode hacking and modding potential per Euro than any other device...

    My questions:

    1) How usable is Mac OS X on Apple TV? Can it be used normally to surf with Safari, use email, Office, Frontrow, etc.? Can it run on 1920x1080? Does networking work properly? Is the GeForce supported by how, or does one get only unaccellerated 2D graphics?

    2) How well does it perform out of the box with version 3?

    3) Is it possible to dual boot the original firmware and XBMC? How well does XBMC perform on ATV, compared to the Xbox?

    4) Would you still but an ATV1 for 189 (about 250$ with taxes)? Or would you consider this to be an obsolete device by now?

    To be honest, what appeals me most is the idea of getting a device which looks pretty close to the Mac Mini and which runs Mac OS, but costs only 1/4.

    I could live with a little less performance than the cheapest Mac Mini, as long as it would be usable without getting annoyingly slow...

    Thanks in advance for your help and feedback!

    Cheers,
    vma



  2. #2
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    invest in a mac mini and run xbmc on it.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Array Olethros's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by vma View Post
    As I am running out of current projects I was first keen on getting me an ATV2, but then thought that it's potential for hacking is not that great. I have to acd, that I already have seven Xboxes running XBMC and I also have a dedicated Atom based VDR+XBMC MiniPC, capable of HDTV.

    Anyway, I read all about the ATV1 and noticed that I can still purchase it where I live for 189. This got me quite excited, as it seems to have much mode hacking and modding potential per Euro than any other device...

    My questions:

    1) How usable is Mac OS X on Apple TV? Can it be used normally to surf with Safari, use email, Office, Frontrow, etc.? Can it run on 1920x1080? Does networking work properly? Is the GeForce supported by how, or does one get only unaccellerated 2D graphics?
    Mac OS X support is not perfect, especially sound.
    You can get accellerated 2D graphics if you get the right combination of drivers and settings. No video decode acceleration.

    The ATV lacks SSE3 - a lot of apps are compiled to expect this. This is emulated by more recent hacked kernels but that is obviously slower than real SSE3 support.

    Memory is only 256MB, this is very little for a complete OS X environment.

    Ethernet works

    1920x1080 generally works (depends on TV)

    Frontrow would be a waste of time for videos with no hardware acceleration

    Quote Originally Posted by vma View Post
    2) How well does it perform out of the box with version 3?
    Quite ok, some things are slower but mostly it is faster than version 2

    Quote Originally Posted by vma View Post
    Is it possible to dual boot the original firmware and XBMC? How well does XBMC perform on ATV, compared to the Xbox?
    If you mean dual boot XBMC on Linux and ATV OS, yes. XBMC can also be launched from the ATV OS. It is also possible to have the ATV OS launch XBMC on startup instead of the finder/primary launcher - this doesn't work so well.

    Quote Originally Posted by vma View Post
    Would you still but an ATV1 for 189 (about 250$ with taxes)? Or would you consider this to be an obsolete device by now?
    I would see if I could find one cheaper on eBay

    Quote Originally Posted by vma View Post
    To be honest, what appeals me most is the idea of getting a device which looks pretty close to the Mac Mini and which runs Mac OS, but costs only 1/4.

    I could live with a little less performance than the cheapest Mac Mini, as long as it would be usable without getting annoyingly slow...
    It's a lot slower than todays Mac Mini. This device is more than three years old and was slower than the mac mini of the time.

    The Mac mini has gone up in price since then but has got a lot more useful features as well.
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  4. #4
    vma
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    Thanks for this usefull and detailed response.

    Again, I would like to tell you guy's that I am not looking for a PC, as I already have a PC (several, actually).

    What is nagging my mind is the possibility of having something similar to a Mac Mini for a very cheap price and SPECIALLY having some hours of fiddling around the device installing all the stuff. I would actually even consider desoldering the RAM chips and soldering bigger capacity ones. Thats the kind of stuff that keeps my mind happy and while 189 Euro is money in this times of economical crises, it is still a better investment for myself than 2-3 current PS3 games, if you know what I mean.

    I would not mind having a "slower" Mac OS, as long as it is usable. I.e. I had Mac OS installed on my Asus EeePC 1000H and it kind of was too slow to make me happy.

    What I forgot to ask: can an ATV1 be modded so that it streams videos from an SMB network share (i.e. without going through iTunes)? Most videos are AVI containers, encoded with DiVX.

    Regarding eBay: in Europe the ATV1 seem to be sold at 150 Euro on eBay. Add shipping and you might as well go and buy yourself a new one...

    Cheers,
    vma

    PS: My apologies if my questions sound too nerdish, but I confess that half the devices I own by now were purchased mainly for the fun of modding them, rather than giving them the normal use. Because with time one gets better at it, I try to look for more challenging/time consuming hacks. And well, it's more fun than trainspotting!

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    Super Moderator Array Olethros's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by vma View Post
    What I forgot to ask: can an ATV1 be modded so that it streams videos from an SMB network share (i.e. without going through iTunes)? Most videos are AVI containers, encoded with DiVX.
    Yes via XBMC or NitoTV
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  6. #6
    vma
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    Great then...

    I just am amazed why there is not more activity around this device.

    ATV2 seems kind of poor when compared to ATV1. Am I that strange a guy, or why are there still ATV1's on sale?

    Cheers,
    vma

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Array Olethros's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by vma View Post
    I just am amazed why there is not more activity around this device.

    ATV2 seems kind of poor when compared to ATV1. Am I that strange a guy, or why are there still ATV1's on sale?
    ATV 1 is not perfect, it is 3+ year old hardware. It's hardware video decode only offers partial decode assistance for h.264. The UI can be slow/lag at times.

    I use my ATV1 every day and am very glad to have purchased it. However I have extended it with the CrystalHD card and use primarily XBMC (both in ATV OS and in Linux) to play back video. Most video is streamed via UpnP and as I said played via XBMC.

    For music, I use the ATV UI and sync my music collection from iTunes.

    The new ATV2 is a very very different class of device that simply had the ATV1 UI ported to it. If you live in the US, and want to use ITMS for content - it works OK. In countries like Norway, the content simply isn't there in ITMS - so you need workarounds.

    It will be a while before the ATV2 can be hacked to support the level of workarounds that the ATV1 has (and maybe never enabling the same flexibility). The ATV1 has the advantage of resembling a conventional Mac allowing some Mac apps to be run within the ATV OS (XBMC, Boxee, Firefox etc).

    From my perspective, AirPlay is the only killer feature of the ATV2, the ability to redirect video or audio content from your iPad, iPhone (or hopefully eventually mac) and play it on the ATV2 is powerful.
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  8. #8
    vma
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    Thanks again for your comments.

    Cheers,
    vma

 

 

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