For the average home the Apple TV could well be the perfect media center. Tiny and powerful, but when it comes to streaming video unfortunately it’s almost useless.
Yes, you can hook into a computer running iTunes and play your favorite movie, and purchase TV shows and movies, but it’s useless if you’re wanting to play something that wasn’t bought via iTunes. If you decided to rent an HD movie from Apple for tonight’s viewing, it’s more than likely going to take three to four hours to download, so let’s hope you allowed for this. But, all is not lost. You can alter this little wonder and turn it into a video powerhouse, with just a small surgical procedure.
What is the Procedure?
You’ve more than likely heard of jailbreaking an iPhone. If not, then briefly it’s the process of getting root access to your Apple device in order to take control and have freedom over its operating system and firmware. But what you may not know is that you can jailbreak any iOS device. This goes for iPods, iPad, and the Apple TV. The Apple television is basically a small Unix computer with a very powerful graphics processor, and it’s capable of doing a lot of stuff. Without conversion, it’s capable of decoding and streaming a range of video formats, such as the well-known mkv. XBMC compatibility, probably the ideal media software for HTPCs. 3rd party applications are an option. At $99 it’s really cheap, and much better than other HTPCs at three times the cost; that is, once you’ve jailbroken it of course. Today it’s easier than ever before. Let’s discuss why you would be looking into jailbreaking your Apple TV before we discuss the actual process.
Why Jailbreaking Your Apple TV It’s Good Idea
Let’s have a look at some of the many benefits that come from jailbreaking your Apple TV.
1) For Customization
You’ll be able to add slideshows and weather to the main menu of your Apple TV, you can adjust screen saver settings, hide menus, and so much more.
2) Media Content
Seriously, the Apple TV is absolute KING when talking about media content. No joke, this is the wisest sub-$99 purchase you’ll make if you’re contemplating cutting the cable. Not only will you benefit from AirPlay and AirPlay mirroring if you own an iPhone or an iPad, you’ll also have access to default media from Netflix, iTunes, NHL, NBA, Vimeo, YouTube, and so much more. And this is only the beginning. You’ll really be opening up the media floodgates when you jailbreak your Apple TV. Easy! You now have access to Kodi, ESPN, Hulu, Last.fm, Amazon Prime, Pandora, A&E, PBS, CBS, ABC, MTV, NBA, and the list just goes on and on and on. We’re serious here – there’s not enough space in this article to name all the content providers that you will be able to access by jailbreaking your Apple TV.
It’s true that XBMC is the portal which gives you access to a lot of the above content, however it also includes really beautiful custom themes and lots of other plugins from a wide range of developers. XBMC has been ported to almost every platform you can name, therefore it’s simple to set up and install, and it’s simple to get support. XBMC is a fantastic portal to an enormous amount of content, making it an absolute must-have for a jailbroken Apple TV. If you want to change how your Apple TV feels and looks then you can also install some beautiful themes. If you’re feeling’ it, you can bypass Apple’s interface altogether and boot directly into XBMC.
4) aTV Flash (black)
It can be quite daunting setting up all the apps and plugins required to get the most from your jailbroken Apple TV; step in Firecore’s simple utility. Simply run a TV Flash (black) on the computer once your Apple TV has been jailbroken, and it will easily install the more common jailbreak apps onto your Apple TV. It costs $29.95, it’s well supported, making maintaining your device very simple. In addition, it comes with built-in backup utilities which will back-up your settings onto iCloud. There simply isn’t an easier jailbreak configuration than this.
5) Remote HD
It makes perfect sense that you would control your Apple TV with your iPad, iPhone or iPod, and the best way to do this is with Remote HD. This is a download from the App Store, and it works together with your jailbroken Apple TV for the perfect input experience. It’s much better than Apple’s own virtual remote app, and way more advanced than the stock Apple remote.
6) Web Browsing
The jailbreaking of your Apple TV permits the installation of a WebKit browser so that you’re able to see your favorite websites on your wall-hung 55″ television screen. We probably wouldn’t recommend that you use it for long periods of browsing, but it’s perfect if you’re doing a quick Google search. Anyway, who wouldn’t want to visit iDB from their cosy lounge-room couch?
Just Because You Can!
Honestly, isn’t this the real reason why most of you install different apps and tweaks on your iPhone? The fact that we have the ability to actually do these things is a good enough reason to have a go. And what fun to brag about your supercharged Apple TV to your family and friends.
So, What Do You Need to Jailbreak?
If you’re sold on the idea, this is what you need to perform a jailbreak:
- The latest iTunes installed on your computer;
- Using a laptop is the easiest because you can take it to your TV;
- An Apple television;
- As at the time of writing this article the Apple TV 3 jailbreak or Apple TV 4 has not been released – but it is coming;
- Software for jailbreaking;
- I recommend SeasOnPass – both mac and windows;
- Micro USB cable;
- And, the remote for the Apple TV;
The following are just a few reasons why your Apple TV should be jailbroken. At this present time the Apple TV has an untethered jailbreak on the last software version. What this means is that you get the best of both worlds. You get all the amazing stuff that comes from jailbreaking, plus you get the latest features like AirPlay mirroring from the iPhone 4S and the iPad2. Perhaps the best deal going at the moment is the Apple TV, priced at less than $99. So, if you haven’t done this already, what on earth is holding you back?