How to Install XBMC on Jailbroken Apple TV (also Remove)

Last week was the release by XBMC of the beta 3 of their next update – XBMC 13.0 Gotham was released in March, supporting 3D movies, ‘dramatic’ Audio Engine improvements, improved UPnP capabilities, and other visual changes to improve logic and usability – make sure you check out the complete list of changes. The following guide on installing XBMC Gotham on your Apple TV.

So, What Is XBMC?

You may not know this, but XBMC stands for ‘Xbox Media Centre’. Yes, it’s true – Xbox as in the game console by Microsoft. Originally XBMC was created for modded Xboxes enabling them to become media centers, however it’s now evolved into a cross-platform compatible media centre which is capable of running directly on top of almost anything – from Windows and Mac computers to the Raspberry Pi. The newest XBMC versions include support to functions as AirPlay receivers for both audio from iTunes and streaming video: using XBMC doesn’t mean you’ll lose those iOS designed features, however unlike Apple TV’s default software, it’s capable of flawlessly playing mkv files directly on the desktop or ATV, without any problems.

You should note that XBMC 13.0 only works on an Apple TV 2 that has been jailbroken – the latest jailbreakable Apple TV firmware is 5.3. If you own an Apple TV and really want XBMC, here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Install the newest stable version of XBMC – XBMC Frodo 12.3. If Frodo is already installed, go straight to Step 2.

  • Launch the ‘PuTTY’ or ‘Terminal’ application;
  • Make sure that your Apple TV and your computer are on the same network;
  • Using the following commands; connect to your Apple TV via SSH;

For example: ssh root@192.168.2.18
You’ll find this on your Apple TV’s main menu, under General/Network

If it comes up as ‘Authentication Error‘ the following command should be copied and pasted into the Terminal window: press Enter, then continue.

rm ~/.ssh/known_hosts

Next: agree to the security prompts by typing the word ‘yes’ (but without the quotations) – now press Enter.
When asked for the password, type ‘alpine’ (again, without the quotations) and press Enter.

Now copy and paste the following instructions into your PuTTY or Terminal application, and press the Enter key each time:

apt-get install wget
wget -O- http://apt.awkwardtv.org/awkwardtv.pub | apt-key add -
echo "deb http://apt.awkwardtv.org/ stable main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/awkwardtv.list
echo "deb http://mirrors.xbmc.org/apt/atv2 ./" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/xbmc.list
apt-get update
mkdir -p /Applications/AppleTV.app/Appliances
apt-get install org.xbmc.xbmc-atv2
mkdir -p /Applications/XBMC.frappliance
reboot

Make sure you wait for each one to complete before moving on to the next. You’ll know when each line is completed.

Step 2: Now install XBMC Gotham

  • Launch the ‘PuTTY or ‘Terminal application;
  • Using the following commands connect to your Apple TV via SSH;

When asked for the password, type ‘alpine’ (no quotation marks) and press Enter.
Next: copy and paste the following instructions:

rm -f *xbmc*.deb
wget http://mirrors.xbmc.org/apt/pre-release/atv2/deb/org.xbmc.xbmc-atv2_13.0-0~b3_iphoneos-arm.deb
dpkg -i *xbmc*.deb
rm *xbmc*.deb

All done! You now have the beta 3 of XBMC 13.0 Gotham installed on the Apple TV.

How to Uninstall XBMC from your Apple TV

Have you decided you want to uninstall XBMC? No problem at all: it’s a lot simpler to uninstall than it is to install. Using SSH login to the Apple TV:
ssh root@appletv-ip

Now use the apt-get packaging tool to uninstall XBMC:

apt-get remove org.xbmc.xbmc-atv2

Finally, reboot the ATV again:

reboot

Your Apple TV will reboot without XBMC.

Remember that just because you’ve uninstalled XBMC it doesn’t mean that you’ve undone the jailbreak on your Apple TV. Un-jailbreaking your Apple TV would mean connecting it to the latest version of iTunes running on a computer and using the ‘Restore’ feature to restore it to factory settings.