Apple TV 1st Generation Usability

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by sanandreas1234, Feb 7, 2018.

  1. sanandreas1234 macrumors member

    Jul 30, 2010
    I recently got a really cheap Apple TV first generation which is coming in later this week. It is modded and has a crystal HD card installed in it and I was wondering just how usable it still is? I mainly picked it up due to it being modded and having the HD card in it along with the really cheap price.
  2. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    It'll be slow as hell. It uses an Intel Celeron CPU to process everything and the OS has slowed it to a crawl.

    Forgot to say they also can't sync with iTunes anymore and can't stream from iTunes after 12.7

    Lastly, no 1080p
  3. OllyW Moderator


    Staff Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    The Black Country, England
    They also kick out a lot of heat. Cats love them. :)
  4. MysticCow macrumors 6502a

    May 27, 2013
    The 1G can be easily hacked into and either jailbroken (which you can then install XBMC) or to install a lightweight Linux.

    And you would be WRONG. It used a Pentium M, not a Celery.
  5. HobeSoundDarryl, Feb 7, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2018

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    If the mods include an external hard drive, this can be a great all-in-one media player for a pretty good-sized library of video (last I saw that mod could make it up to 2TB of sync-able storage). Just load up that hard drive (using an old computer with a compatible version of iTunes) and then put it anywhere. It will play movies off that hard drive just fine- no current link to a computer (or broadband connection) required.

    If it comes with the 40GB internal, eBay used to have loads of (I think) 320GB replacements already formatted for that :apple:TV. If you don't want external (much larger) storage, that might still be an option to fatten it up on the inside. Here's the step-by-step guide with pics. At an average of about 7GB for a movie, 320GB will hold about 35-40 or so movies (leaving some room for other storage). A 2TB hack will sync about 250-75 or so movies (leaving some room for other storage).

    There are many other ways to accomplish much of the same these days but since you already have it, enjoy it. IMO: it has the most intuitive version of the UI, where your own movies will be in the "movies" tab, you own TV shows will be in the "TV Shows" tab, etc. If you've used the "Show" tag to group serialized movies like Star Wars and Harry Potter, it will show them as a single line item in the movie list menu; click into the "show" name to display the individual movies.

    The whole design of it seemed to revolve around a person's own content instead of being a gateway to drive iTunes rentals & purchases. The press to buy/rent/subscribe is not so in-your-face as it is in subsequent models. One could buy & rent from iTunes but that seemed secondary- an option instead of nearly essential to making good use of it.

    While I (have) own(ed) all of it's offspring, I still miss various features of that first one, jettisoned starting with the "2" and still not resurrected with the "5." Even the option to sync instead of stream was a terrific option- too bad the "2" & later did not make their USB ports more useful so that those wanting to sync could attach whatever size storage they wanted and/or leverage a NAS for "local" media storage. A desire to be able to turn off the computer still exists more than a decade later.

    Build a playlist of internet radio stations (any, not just the Apple-endorsed options) and it will play them. It's not so deeply entrenched in the Apple ecosystem- in some ways it has much more flexibility than the modern models (minus third party apps of course).

    And there's no joke about the heat. I believe a hidden feature of the first gen was the jiffy pop option. ;)

    OP says it already has the crystal HD card, so it can play 1080p.
  6. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    It actually is a Crofton based architecture based off Celeron back then. I believe it was switched to Pentium M. However, the favt remains that the 1GHz CPU is choking.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 7, 2018 ---
    Didn't see that one, thanks!
  7. m11rphy macrumors 6502


    Dec 26, 2009
    I would like to get one to install homebridge, homebridge can run on Linux so I hope its possible
  8. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

    Sep 23, 2014
    I damaged mine by leaving a DVD case on top of it accidentally.

    The ATV still works, but as it warms up, the GPU starts displaying artifacts on the picture.
  9. Tech198 macrumors G5

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth
    That's nostalgic. Not as nostalgic as my Amiga mags, but still.
  10. sanandreas1234 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 30, 2010
    I received it and seems to work great. Mainly been using it for streaming with Kodi. It also outputs and plays content in 1080 since it has the crystal HD card installed.
  11. Scott Davilla macrumors regular

    Scott Davilla

    Jan 5, 2016
    Wow, nice to see people still using them. I fondly remember finding out about the existence of the crystal HD card and working with Broadcom to open source the driver/userland source code for Linux and OSX. I still have a few crystal HD cards around including a rare PCI version that helped create the OSX kext driver.

    EDIT: It was always a Pentium M, I still have my original one. What they did do was increase the ram for the Nvidia GPU from 64M to 128M near the end of life.
  12. weezin macrumors regular

    Jul 20, 2012
    Bumping an old thread! Just got a 160GB 1st gen apple tv for a whopping $1.98 (plus shipping). I'm hoping to connect it up to my 20" cinema display and use it to display photos as sort of a digital photo frame.

    The question I have now is - how do I get photos on there? I see that I can't connect it up to iTunes any longer, so I'm not sure what to do.

    Since I'm constantly taking photos, I'd love for there to be a way to wirelessly add the photos to my Apple TV on an ongoing basis.

    Having said that, what is the best route to go here?
  13. JoeShades macrumors 6502a

    Sep 1, 2010
    Williamstown, NJ
  14. weezin macrumors regular

    Jul 20, 2012
    Good question! They don't support the resolution of the 20" ACD that I want to use unfortunately. I believe the 1st gen will.
  15. Nessdufrat macrumors regular


    Jul 19, 2015
    Between France and Switzerland
    Hey, since we’re talking ATV 1, I have one, in its original state, I only use it to store my music, I have an older iTunes on one of my macs to sync it from, and I’ve had a bunch of troubles with it...
    After a while, it will play a song and then, when the song is finished, it will keep “playing”in the void for a loooong time, and become unresponsive. Maybe ten minutes later, it will switch to the next song. The time laps will increase exponentially...
    I thought it was the HD, I changed it, formatted everything, reinstalled the OS, nothing.
    I finally bought a new one from eBay, got a dud, hdmi was half working, and after a few days, I woke up to find out it had erased all my content... so back to square one.
    I have no idea what it can be. I removed the rubber foot, put it on raised feet, so that it has air flowing underneath and doesn’t become too hot. I don’t have any artifacts on the screen. It’s only for music, so that shouldn’t put too much strain on it.
    I just love that little guy so much, but I don’t want to risk buying another one and getting another half dead device... :/

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14 February 7, 2018