Apple TV 1 or 2

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by sajr, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. sajr macrumors newbie


    Aug 11, 2011
    I have an Apple TV 2 which I use with a considerable iTunes library and am very happy with it. A friend of mine is selling both an Apple TV 1 (with ATV installed and a 40GB HD) and an Apple TV 2. He wants £45 for the Appkle TV 1 and £65 fotr the Apple TV 2. Can you guys think of any benefits one offers over the other ? and will I be able to stream my existing content to the Apple TV 1?
  2. mike457 macrumors 6502

    Sep 10, 2010
    The best feature of the 1 is that it has an internal hard drive, which means that your media source computer does not have to be on in order to view/listen to anything. On the drawbacks side, the 1 runs hot, does not fully support 720P, and is EOL; Apple will not be updating its software, so no Netflix or most of the other extra internet features. You may well find that if most of your media is 720P, some of it will not play on the ATV 1.
  3. Nightarchaon macrumors 65816


    Sep 1, 2010
    Get the 1, hack it to run Mac os X leapord/snow leapord and hang an external drive off the back of it (in my case a 4 bay Drobo with 4x2TB drives) to acts as a cheap ass iTunes server.

    then stick the 2s in bedrooms and stream away without needing a PC/MAC running 24/7 to feed the programs out.
  4. Bill.the.Cat macrumors member

    Feb 13, 2011
    I do exactly what Nightarchaon does with my first-gen. ATV1 is the perfect cheap, low-power home server running Leopard. Mine pulls about 14W at idle, about 20W during heavy file transfer, e.g., uploading new material to iTunes. Headless, it's completely accessible via VNC ("Share Screen" in Mac networking terms) once set up the first time.

    I'm even thinking of buying another one for my parents that I can remotely administer and upload movies to for them to stream to an ATV2.
  5. diminiko macrumors member

    Jun 30, 2010
    Are you referring to the framerate of the 720P material (max ATV1 slightly lower than ATV2)?

    I have not had a problem with any purchased 720P content nor material I have encoded with handbrake from my blurays using appropriate settings. These play exceptionally well from my ATV1 to my HDTV.

    The way I see it, the advantage of a non jailbroken ATV1 is local storage, the advantage of unjailbroken ATV2 is Netflix etc (where available) and interaction with other iOS devices such as iPad mirroring.

    Jailbroken, each has its advantages. ATV1 can run many apps locally and, with hardware modification, display 1080P if desired. ATV2 jailbroken can also run apps, but these are less polished as ATV1 has been around for longer. It also seems ATV2 will never be able to display 1080P (hardware limitation) although will play 1080P content at 720P with variable quality.
  6. mrzucker macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2011
    ATV1 as itunes server

    This sounds like a great idea. Can anyone share step-by-step instructions on how to do? Thanks in advance -- Adam
  7. diminiko macrumors member

    Jun 30, 2010
  8. Bill.the.Cat macrumors member

    Feb 13, 2011
    You will require several ingredients in addition to your ATV1:
    -A pre-built Leopard image
    -A set of small Torx drivers/bits. If you have a Harbor Freight nearby they usually have some cheap sets that work fine.
    -A Mac and a means of connecting a 2.5" PATA drive. I used an old external USB drive enclosure that had a 2.5" PATA drive inside.
    -An HDMI monitor; you only need it for initial setup so you can borrow one if needed
    -A USB Keyboard and mouse, with a hub if the keyboard doesn't include one. I just borrowed a Dell KB/Mouse from my wife's computer, the keyboard had 2 USB inputs so I didn't need a hub. The ATV1 only has one USB port.

    1. Acquire pre-built ATV1 Leopard image (Google is your friend).
    2. Remove HDD from ATV1 using your Torx drivers (8 screws, 2 sizes--one set of four for the case, another set of four for the drive-case connection).
    3. Connect ATV1 HDD to the Mac onto which you've stored the Leopard image is on.
    4. Format the ATV1 HDD using Disk Utility
    5. Use Carbon Copy Cloner to clone everything from the Leopard image to the ATV1 HDD.
    6. Replace HDD in ATV1 and plug it in. Make sure you have an HDMI monitor plugged in at boot.
    7. Attach USB KB/Mouse if you haven't yet. Configure your server as you see fit. I create a new account, enable file and screen sharing, set iTunes to autostart, enable Home Sharing, etc.
    8. (Needed if you want more than the ~140GB or ~20GB available on the internal drive) Attach external storage and set it as your default iTunes library location.

    At this point your ATV1 should be pretty much ready to go. You can unplug the monitor, keyboard, and mouse, then stick it in a closet or on top of a shelf. I wired my whole house with Cat6 so I prefer to use a wired connection, but wireless should function just as it would on a regular desktop Mac.

    Have fun!
  9. mrzucker macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2011
    ATV1 as itunes

    Besides using as iTunes server--which is great--would it then be possible to keep the ATV1 hooked up to the TV and actually use it as a computer to do basic things: view/manage photos in iphoto, use safari, or use DVD player to watch Video_TS files?
  10. Bill.the.Cat macrumors member

    Feb 13, 2011
    In theory, yes, it might be possible to do one of those things at a time, but expect it to be painfully slow; there would also be audio issues to confront with DVD player, though apparently the optical audio out can now be made to work with Leopard 10.5.8.

    I would guess that the ATV1 is very roughly equivalent to a first-gen Mac mini G4 but with RAM permanently fixed at 256MB. Because of this rather severe memory constraint the machine often relies on swap space (virtual memory using HDD space) and with an older PATA hard drive this makes things very very slow. You can still find 32GB PATA SSD's for around $40, which could use as a system drive to speed up swap access--not sure how much it would really help, though. At that point you might just get a used G4 mini which seem to go on eBay for roughly $125-150 last I looked.

    If it were me and I really wanted a machine that did all of that, I'd pony up the $470 for a refurb Mac mini and then not have to deal with any headaches. My personal solution is to use ATV2's in the bedroom and living room to stream from the ATV1-server, and then use my quad-core Hackintosh for everything else (manage photos, convert Blu-rays to m4v for iTunes library, web browsing, gaming, etc.) I used to have a Windows HTPC hooked up to the living room TV, thinking it would be cool to do all that stuff on a large 1080p display. It just never worked out all that well--managing photos and web browsing on the couch just wasn't all that comfortable.

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