Apple TV is getting a refresh, the new and improved $99 version is due at the end of the month and the truth is it looks pretty cool.
Sadly, the older set-top box won't be getting any of the features such as Netflix streaming, 99-cent TV show rentals and movie releases on the day of. At least that's what it sounds like at the time of this writing.
It's a bummer, but not all is lost. You can still do some pretty impressive things with the old Apple TV. That's because we already know how to hack it.
As with any tutorial, use this at your own discretion. We always say, "If you have ANY doubts about whether you can do this, it may be best to wait." Just know that iSmashPhone assumes no responsibilities for anything you try to do with Apple TV. On the bright side, if you DO happen to mess up, it may give you an excuse to buy the $99 model.
Hit the jump to see the full tutorial.
1) Let's download the Apple TV USB Creator. From Here: http://code.google.com/p/atvusb-creator/
There is an OSX version and a Windows version. Download the one that pertains to your operating system. In our case, it's OSX.
2) Pop in a USB flash drive. And afterward, launch the USB creator. Make sure the USB drive doesn't have anything important, because the next step will format the stick (or drive). Also, you will need a minimum of 512MB. Most USB sticks are far beyond that.
3) Use the settings in the above image and hit the "Create Using – >" button. Software should begin downloading as seen below:
4) After several minutes, the drive will be renamed Patchstick. It should look something like the image below:
5) Make sure your Apple TV is powered off, (we had to put it in "Standby" then actually unplug it. Physically take the new "Patchstick" and plug it into the USB port of your Apple TV. Unfortunately, from this point on, we can't provide screenshots, because the rest of the tutorial involves the Apple TV itself.
6) Turn on Apple TV by plugging it back in.
7) You should see an onscreen image of the Linux penquin sitting on the Apple TV when you first power up. The USB stick should do it's thing. It takes about a minute or two.
8) The screen will show (in VERY small letters) that you can now power off your Apple TV by unplugging it. So let's unplug it.
9) Remove the patchstick and restart your Apple TV. It should boot again. The startup will look the same, but the menu has changed.
10) Now you can go to Launcher>Downloads and download each ot the applications (XBMC, Boxee and Launcher). Now it's time to download and stream TV Shows and movies. They are free, but ad-supported.
Quick Tip: If you haven't created a Boxee account, it's probably easiest to just do so on your computer. Anyone who has had to type something with their Apple TV remote will know EXACTLY what we are talking about.