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Old Feb 17, 2011, 09:29 AM   #1
dynaflash
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New AtvCloner 0.1.8 Released, Now XBMC Linux Capable for AppleTV 1

So, with the newest toy from apple, the AppleTV2 I decided to get one and play with it. Nice little device ... but no local storage etc etc. which is a deal breaker for me. Plus only 720p output. Yes, you can now jailbreak it and install xbmc .... but even though it will then decode 1080p, its limited by apple to only 720p display output. Huh?! Anyhow I decided to push forth on modding my AppleTV1 because I enjoy the local storage option, as well as more output capabilities. Yes, its now old and antiquated compared to the new sleek black box from Apple, but it can be modded. ... and as I found out in a pretty big way!

The good folks over at XBMC have been software modding this thing for some time. Previously I found no reason to look into it too much because simply, once apple pushed a new os update, bang, all mods were gone! Well, now that its no longer supported by apple in terms of any software updates ... I figure it was time to play. A quick check with davilla over at XBMC told me just about everything I needed to know. He has probably done more software hacks to the original Atv than anyone (and wrote most of them) including the driver for the Broadcom Crystal HD card. So for about $48 US. you can get what is really staggering performance from the AppleTV 1. Can you say decode raw decrypted blu ray ? Heard about it, but had to see it first.

Anyway, on the software side there are two routes to go:

  1. Install xbmc on the stock atv mac os via a patchstick. This makes xbmc basically an app on the original os.
  2. Install Linux on the mac with xbmc on it and have Linux boot right into xbmc.

I tried both and there are major performance differences. Both give the linux install a huge advantage. The linux version uses half the ram of the original atv mac os. Nice! The atv is limited to a soldered on paltry 256 mb of ram, so it swaps like crazy. Running xbmc on the mac os only leaves about 5 - 10 mb of free ram even when the system is just sitting idle. Running xbmc linux on the same atv leaves about 145 mb of ram free. The difference this alone makes in interface navigation is dramatic. Next xbmc linux installed on the atv has full 1080p display output. Both the original atv 1 os and the current atv 2 os (yes, even when jailbroken) can decode 1080p sources , but display them at 720p. What a waste!

The big caveat with installing and modifying linux and xbmc to run on the atv 1 ... it's at best a long, painful, and arduous process. Unless you really get off on running the terminal, etc for hours and hours ... its a huge pain.

Once I got it done and tweaked the way I like it however it occured to me that since xbmc linux was now its own partition .... and AtvCloner partitions the AppleTV drive .... time to mod AtvCloner! So now I can have my partition imaged for xbmc Linux and simply plug my atv drive into my mac, fire up atv cloner and go have a sandwich (or two). When its done, just as before stick the newly setup atv drive back in the atv, fire it up and watch it go. Done, no command line anything!

So, if anyone is interested the new atvcloner and two associated files needed, they can be found here.

Download Note: The new AtvCloner 0.1.8 is downloaded right from the server, but due to the large size of the modified recovery.dmg and the Linux image (3.65 GB) I am using bit torrent to offer them, otherwise it would kill my server. Yes, I have checked with xbmc and what not and they have no issue with me offering the xbmc linux image. In fact davilla from xbmc was a great help in getting the image to be as plug and play as it is.

Anyone with a bit of time and an AppleTV 1 they are looking to breathe new life into, feel free to give it a spin!

Note: Anyone familiar with the common patchstick method of doing a similar mod, this is different. No patchstick or anything. The atv will boot directly into the linux partition on the hard drive and boot right into xbmc. There will be no apple tv os on it. Of course as always AtvCloner can back up your stock partitions for safe keeping and the stock setup can be restored with a few clicks.

Also Note: The Crystal HD card is *not* required to run XBMC Linux on the appletv. This setup has the drivers which will look for the card at boot time. If its not there it will just be ignored. XBMC will work fine but you will not get the incredible video performance boost that the chd card brings. You can always install one later and just reboot the AppleTV.

Last edited by dynaflash; Feb 17, 2011 at 10:27 AM.
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Old Feb 18, 2011, 02:06 AM   #2
diminiko
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Dynaflash, the link to the files does not seem to work at the mo.

Was thinking about giving this a go.
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Old Feb 18, 2011, 07:01 AM   #3
dynaflash
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You mean the torrent ? Let me check.
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Old Feb 18, 2011, 10:50 AM   #4
dynaflash
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Fixed *I think* . Now more than one person seeding so should be moving a bit quicker.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 11:48 PM   #5
Dchurch813
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Hi Dynaflash - u seem to know more about this stuff than anyone else as far as I can tell. So I wanted to get some advice. I got atv3 for Christmas. The person that got it for me thought it could jailbroken. which was news to me because i had only ever heard of jailbreaking the iphone. after doing some searching though I dont think that is true just yet. Anyway, I read more and more and ended up buying an atv1 160 gb becaUse i read one of your posts about really "beefing" it up by installing linux, larger hard drive, etc. i cant seem to find a 'how to' guide for this stuff though. I see how to create the usb flash, install xbmc... But not linux or adding a larger hard drive. What is the benefit of the larger hdd? I would really love to pick your brain before I start trying to mod it. I already ordered a broadcom crystal hd card. Speaking of that, does it matter as long as the model is BCM970015? I see some that are HP, Dell.. Some say BCM970015REF1. Does that indicate refurb? Like I said I'd really like to pick your brain. Not sure if it is against the rules to email beyond the forums, but i'd really appreciate if you'd shoot me an email. I can be reached at dchurch813@yahoo. Thanks!!
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Old Jan 10, 2013, 05:18 PM   #6
Cave Man
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dchurch813 View Post
I read more and more and ended up buying an atv1 160 gb becaUse i read one of your posts about really "beefing" it up by installing linux, larger hard drive, etc. i cant seem to find a 'how to' guide for this stuff though. I see how to create the usb flash, install xbmc... But not linux or adding a larger hard drive. What is the benefit of the larger hdd?
The largest straight replacement drive is a 320 GB PATA 2.5" notebook drive that you can get from NewEgg if you're in the States. Larger than that requires a PATA to SATA adapter, and those seem to be finicky for the ATV1. Best to just use the drive you already have or up to the 320 GB PATA. A larger drive allows you to store more content on your ATV1. If you're connecting by ethernet (and it seems you are since you're getting the Broadcom card) this is probably unnecessary - just stay with the stock 160 GB that you have. It's easy to replace, but cloning the OS is the more challenging (although straight-forward) part.

For cloning, the best solution is to connect it to a Mac by USB enclosure (or Firewire) and use the cloning software that DF has provided to put the disk image onto your hard drive. It's pretty easy to do.

Quote:
I already ordered a broadcom crystal hd card. Speaking of that, does it matter as long as the model is BCM970015? I see some that are HP, Dell.. Some say BCM970015REF1. Does that indicate refurb?
I have the original so I am unfamiliar with the others.
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Old Jan 10, 2013, 05:27 PM   #7
dynaflash
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Hey Cave Man, nice to see your still alive
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Old Jan 11, 2013, 08:14 AM   #8
Cave Man
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Hey Cave Man, nice to see your still alive
Yeah, not getting out much these days. Too much to do at work.
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