Apple TV external drive UI experience?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by mychetboy, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. mychetboy macrumors newbie

    Jan 9, 2010
    Hi, I am considering getting an Apple TV and repurpose a 500 gig SATA drive into an external enclosure, enabling the USB port.

    The only concern with using an external drive on the ATV, is how does this affect the user experience and syching?

    For example, does the ATV just use the extra space and thus when navigating in the interface, ALL media shows up in various correct places automatically such as movies, tv shows, audio, slides? What I dont want, is to have to navigate to a directory structure onto the external drive to find the files and launch them, since it defeats the whole purpose of having the Apple TV interface.

    Can anyone confirm to me either way what the UI experience is for this solution, AND does the ATV synch properly to the external hard drive automatically, if I chose to turn on this feature?

    Thanks for your help!
  2. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    I just wanted to make sure you knew that you'd have to "hack" your AppleTV in order to "enable the USB port". Seems like a lot of folks think that the USB port works for external storage by default, which it doesn't.
  3. tamasvarga67 macrumors regular

    Sep 29, 2007
    Well the "turn on this feature" means you need to hack the ATV. There is a hack for using the attached external HDD as the default hard drive and in that case you will have the same user experience and the ATV will sync properly.
    Otherwise you can use the external drive for non iTunes store contents such as divx movies, mkv files, Video_TS folders and sync your music and pictures through iTunes. I have this setup and I am happy with it.
  4. mychetboy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 9, 2010
    Thanks for confirmations

    Yes, I am aware that using the USB port requires a hack. I guess it was not clear in my original post. I am glad to hear, if done properly, the hack does not cause 'broken' functionality such as synching and the ability to use the built-in navigation of the Apple TV menu system, since I would be using ATV 3.0.1.

    Now I need to determine if I will roll the dice and buy one this quarter or hold out for a hopeful refresh and revamp of the ATV.

    I cant imagine Apple's long term strategy (nor their content partners) of supporting only HD 720p when everyone is buying 1080p TVs, as well as cable/sat offering more and more 1080i/p services.

    I guess that is why I am hoping to hold out a bit longer and get an "improved" ATV. I would think with the Boxee Box and Popbox being announced, Apple would want to update its hardware to at least hold on to their iTunes module which has been very good for their revenues.
  5. tom1971 macrumors 6502a

    May 15, 2007
    The only issue that may arise is if you update the firmware of your appleTV device without reverting to "standard" before.

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