Apple TV, External Hard Drive, ATV Flash & NAS

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by simontduke, Mar 11, 2010.

  1. simontduke macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2010
    Hi Guys

    I am about to purchase an apple TV. I will download ATV Flash as I will need the storage extension. I thought I would probably buy a 1TB external Hard drive and use this to store all the media on - Lets call this Hard Drive A.

    I want to backup Hard Drive A to a second location in case of disc failure. I also want the media to be available to a macbook and a PC in the house (on iTunes) via Wifi.

    Can I make the second hard drive a NAS drive and keep it in sync with Hard Drive A via Wifi. If I could do this, I would have media available to Apple TV and the same media (albeit on different drives) available to macbook and PC via itunes.

    If this cant be done, can you suggest an alternative that would fulfil the below criteria:

    1) External storage for Apple TV
    2) Above storage backed up in case of disc failure
    3) Media available to both Apple TV and PC/Mac via Itunes.
  2. simontduke thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2010
    one more thing

    I should have said, I don't want to have to have the computer with attached NAS turned on when I watch Apple TV. I appreciate that for sync to work however both devices will need to be turned on. I think...
  3. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603


    Jan 10, 2006
    All that pissing about just because Apple wont put a larger hard drive in the ATV. :mad: So much for it "freeing you from your computer".

    I cant answer your question. I've given up trying to find a way of having large storage without having problems. The best way I found was to put my library on my 1TB TimeCapsule and have an iTunes alias on the TimeCapsule and then drag that alias to my dock so whenever I click on the icon in the dock it wakes up my TC, launches iTunes and then the ATV can see the library. However I think this means the file is streamed twice over the network and even on wireless N the results were often very poor (and infuriating). Plus the computer still had to be on. Then I found out that TCs were all dying around 18 months and so quickly got my library off there and now use my £300 TC only as a wireless N router :mad:

    Now my iTunes library resides on another 1TB firewire external that I have to take my MBP over to to connect if I want to watch anything on my ATV. Its really beyond a joke now. It's ridiculous.

    If you use ATVFlash and use the external storage option you still need to have the initial library stored somewhere to then be able to sync it to the ATV so that also requires the external to be hooked up to your mac to be able to sync stuff to the ATV.

    All Apple have to do is put a 1TB ****ing drive in the ATV and the biggest let down of the ATV will become its friggin main asset.

    I sent an email to SJ a few weeks back describing all the problems I have with the ATV and the hoops you have to jump through to use it. I also slated the ATV iTS. Where have the 'All Comedy/action/romance etc sections gone? Its impossible to browse the entire iTunes store movie library on the ATV unless you can remember every film thats listed and then run a search. Its ridiculous.

    Sorry rant over. The ATV could be so brilliant but they let it just infuriate people so they will eventually go elsewhere and Apple will struggle to get those customers back when and if they decide to make the ATV more than a frickin' hobby!

    Stamp collecting is a (lame) hobby. Making people want to rip out their hair is not!
  4. matt_randal macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2005
    New Zealand
    Last week I finally bit the bullet and bought an Apple TV. I had been going backwards and forwards between an Apple TV and a Mac Mini. I went for the Apple TV because of lack-of-funds and got one second hand for about 150USD.

    I have a similar kind of needs/setup to you. So here is my setup.
    • I have my Apple TV setup wirelessly. I have no content stored on it (apart from the OS obviously ;-) ).
    • It has been hacked (not using ATV flash - but just a free program)
    • Using NitoTV I have enabled the Apple TV's USB port for Hard Drive use.
    • Using NitoTV I have enabled AFP sharing (important for nice external USB HD integration on my home network).
    • I have a powered USB Hub attached to the Apple TV.
    • Attached to the USB Hub are two hard drives.
    • Hard Drive A (1.5TB) has two partitions - One partition has all my media on it, the other is a time machine partition (which is for wireless backups for my macbook).
    • Hard Drive B (640GB)is a clone of Hard Drive A's media partition (just for backups sake only).

    It all works brilliantly. I use XBMC on the Apple TV to display Video content. With AFP setup on the Apple TV, Hard Drive A (both partitions) and Hard Drive B show up in my MacBook as network drives, so I can watch content on my Macbook (using PLEX and iTunes) seamlessly

    Apple TV does everything I want it to and more, and all for only 150USD!!!

    if you need further assistance I can help you out, as I kept a log of everything as I did it.

    Good luck!
  5. Maks macrumors member

    Feb 26, 2009
    There are several different answers to your question depending on what you want to do. The best (IMHO) is a NAS that is Time Machine friendly, such as a Synology. If you get something like the 209 or 210, you can put 2 1TB drives in there and have them in a RAID configuration for redundancy. You can backup your PCs and Macs to it. You can put all your media on the NAS and have all your PCs and Macs/ATV access it via AFP or SMB from the windows side.
  6. simontduke thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2010
    Mat - interested to see how you did that.

    Ideally I am trying to fulfil three aims:

    1. All media available via apple tv on my TV
    2. All media being backed up in case drive attached to apple tv fails
    3. All media available to apple tv also available on home network (which has not yet been created)

    I'm not particularly techie so anyone who can explain in the most simple language possible would be my hero.

  7. matt_randal macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2005
    New Zealand
    Im at work at the will post with details later on.

    But the criteria outlined above sounds exactly like my setup.

    It can be a little complicated. But I will try and post some meaningful instructions later on :)
  8. matt_randal macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2005
    New Zealand
    You will need a USB Flash Drive (512MB should be enough I think) that you will reformat (so make sure there is no data on it that you need ;-) )

    This is all assuming your Apple TV has the latest software and is connected to your home network.

    Enabling SSH

    1. On your Mac download ATV USB Creator from - Choose Intel/PPC OSX version.
    2. Plug in a USB flash drive to your Mac.
    3. Go to the folder where you downloaded ATVUSB-Creator and run atvusb-creator.
    4. Leave everything at the default values apart from the USB Target device - select your USB flash drive.
    5. Then click "Create Using ->" to create a ATV USB Drive
    6. Once the USB is created unplug the Apple TV's power cord, plug in the USB Drive and then plug back in the power cord (This will enable SSH).

    SSHing into your Apple TV using CyberDuck

    1. On your Mac download CyberDuck from
    2. Open CyberDuck and click on Open Connection.
    3. Choose SFTP. In the Server field enter in "appletv.local". In the username and passwords fields enter "frontrow" for both. Select "Add to keychain" and then click Connect.
    4. Cyberduck will now SSH you into your AppleTV. Make sure you are in the \mnt\Scratch\Users\frontrow\ directory.

    Installing NitoTV

    1. Go to and download the latest NitoTV version (0.8.7 at the moment).
    2. Using Cyberduck on your Mac copy the Nito Take Three folder to the Apple TV's \mnt\Scratch\Users\frontrow\ folder.
    3. Go to your Apple TV and find out what IP Address your Apple TV is using on the Network (Its under Settings – General - Network)
    4. On your Mac open Terminal and type
    ssh -1 frontrow@EnterYourAppleTVsIPAddressHere
    e.g. ssh -1 frontrow@​
    5. The Password is “frontrow”
    6. In Terminal enter the following commands and press Enter after each line…If prompted for a password enter “frontrow”/
    cd "nitotv take three"
    chmod 755 installme
    sudo ./installme​

    Enabling USB Drive Access

    1. Restart your Apple TV and go to the new NitoTV directory – Settings – Install Software – Smart Installer

    Enabling AFP for nice Network Drive sharing

    1. You will need to download a copy of the original “Apple TV 1.0 OS.dmg”. I cant post a link to it on these forums, so you will need to do a wee search.
    2. Open Terminal and SSH into your Apple TV by entering
    ssh -1 frontrow@EnterYourAppleTVsIPAddressHere
    e.g. ssh -1 frontrow@ ​
    3. Open CyberDuck (refer to instructions above for connecting to your Apple TV) and in your \mnt\Scratch\Users\frontrow\ directory there is now a copy of your recovery2.dmg. Drag this disc image to your desktop.
    4. Mount the disc image and delete the OS.dmg. Rename the downloaded 1.0OS.dmg to OS.dmg and then copy it onto the Recovery2.dmg.
    5. Copy the recovery2.dmg on to your apple tvs \mnt\Scratch\Users\frontrow\documents directory and rename the disc image as recovery.dmg
    6. On your Apple TV navigate to nitoTV – Settings – Install Software – SmartInstaller
    7. You should now have AFP access enabled. To check on your Apple TV go to nitoTV – Utilities – Services and make sure that AFP is enabled.
    8. In your mac you should now be able to go to Finder – Go – Connect to Server – afp://appletv.local – Connect to connect to your Apple TV and connected Hard Drives.

    Time Machine

    1. I use this excellent guide from James Shore’s Blog for setting up time machine with network drives

    Hope that helps, any questions let me know
  9. hardkoreprawn macrumors newbie

    Mar 31, 2010
  10. merrittislandmi macrumors newbie

    May 2, 2010
    Almost There...


    It all worked great except the AFP, I did not see a "recovery2.dmg". Any ideas why? I followed everything exactly, which by the way worked great and I appreciate the step by step instructions.


  11. Monstrositor macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2010
    External drive to ATV

    I'm running a more simplistic approach by plugging the external drive into the ATV (after ATV flash and the likes were installed) and streaming directly from that but I am running into a problem. No issue finding the drive, no problem viewing the contents but with Nito TV , the content gets about 10 minutes in to a movie or show and then freezes. Cant get back to the main menu or anything unless I turn off the external drive.
    Do I have something incorrect in my settings that would cause this?
    Sapphire, XBMC, Boxee wont even fire up the media I wish to watch where Nito at least gets me started. Really getting frustrated. Suggestions would be most appreciated.
  12. bennyluke macrumors newbie

    Jul 4, 2010
    I can get everything working but can not get Time Machine to back up to a USB hdd attached to my atv's usb port. I can view and copy files to it fine but just cant seem to find detailed instructions for getting TM to work on atv attached usb drive. Many instances of usb drive attached to AEBS but not atv.
  13. Gaijin de Moscu macrumors regular

    Sep 25, 2006
    Let me try. I have been able to achieve most of your goals quite easily:

    • Hacked my Apple TV with the ATV Flash
    • Attached USB storage to the Apple TV (in my case, an old 2 TB Western Digital, which is sadly quite noisy when it spins up) and pointed to it within the ATV Flash program as the main storage
    • Stored all movies & music on my iMac, backed up to the Time Capsule and to the Mozy internet storage (took 8 months for the first Mozy backup, though :) )

    Works quite well normally, as I don't need to have my iMac on to watch the movies.

    Sometimes the setup crushes. Here are my watch-outs:
    • Instruct your women not to clean the dust around it. The USB cable seems to be too sensitive in my case, and every time someone mops the dust I need to restart.
    • Not all external USB drives may work. I bought a noiseless Toshiba drive for this purpose, but my aTV couldn't boot from it. It would spin up and shut down. But several other drives worked OK.
    • Disable the automatic updates. Once, my small daughter accidentally accepted a software update, which killed my whole setup and wiped all the synced content for good measure.

    I'm thinking to just buy a large internal HD and stick into the Apple TV, to stop messing about with hacks, updates, external storages, and what not. Or maybe set up a Mini instead.
  14. LoXoS macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2010
    How do you clone Hard Drive A to Hard Drive B? Is is automatic? Which software do you use to do this?

  15. knobtwiddler macrumors regular


    Feb 4, 2002
    Carbondale, IL
    I had the same problem as this guy. Can't get the recovery2.dmg to show up in cyberduck. Help! Help! so close!

  16. Jack Hogoboom macrumors newbie

    Sep 26, 2010
    Me too. No recovery.dmg. Can somebody help us out here? I have the correct files, but can't make it work.
  17. StingerT125 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 3, 2008
    Dutchess County New York

    Thanks for this write up, it is very helpful.
  18. ManAboutTown macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2010
    Now where are the movies?!?

    Ok that was super freaking rad and the best explanation I have found so far... but now that I have NitoTV up and running, and the smart installer installed.... how do I actually access the videos on my USB drive?

    I don't know where to go to find the drive itself...
  19. robcarlo macrumors newbie

    Nov 14, 2010
    Thanks Matt, but where is my hardrive

    having the same issue. followed all the prompts but unable to find my hardrive.. also when i go to intunes it says the apple tv is still 143gig versus the 1TB WD USB Drive i attached..

    have i done something wrong?
  20. matt_randal, Nov 14, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2010

    matt_randal macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2005
    New Zealand
  21. matt_randal macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2005
    New Zealand
    Sorry for the late replies, I should've subscribed to this thread.

    hhhmmmm - that is really odd you guys cannot see the recovery2.dmg. Are you running the latest version of AppleTV?

    I also found this great forum
  22. robcarlo macrumors newbie

    Nov 14, 2010
    so so close. help please

    okay i have reset my ATV to factory settings and followed all the prompts to a T. one small (maybe major) issue. i get lost here.

    3. Open CyberDuck (refer to instructions above for connecting to your Apple TV) and in your \mnt\Scratch\Users\frontrow\ directory there is now a copy of your recovery2.dmg. Drag this disc image to your desktop.
    4. Mount the disc image and delete the OS.dmg. Rename the downloaded 1.0OS.dmg to OS.dmg and then copy it onto the Recovery2.dmg.
    5. Copy the recovery2.dmg on to your apple tvs \mnt\Scratch\Users\frontrow\documents directory and rename the disc image as recovery.dmg

    i get tis error from cyber duck:
    SSH Error: Download failed
    Permission denied (SSH_FX_PERMISSION_DENIED: The user does not have sufficient permissions to perform the operation.)

    but i have enabled terminal through cyber duck (under the Go drop down).

    have i done something wrong?

    so close now i can taste it.
  23. robcarlo macrumors newbie

    Nov 14, 2010
    dmg not mounting

    Been on this for a while and finally got the recovery2.dmg file.
    Realised you needed to pull the cord out of the ATV and do a full reboot.

    Now my issue is the recovery2.dmg does not mount. It weighs 36.3 meg. Does this sound right to anyone? Should it be a bigger file?

    Any help would be great.
  24. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    I have all my ATV (original model) content on a 4TB external HDD connected via FW800 to my iMac. That way, it is accessible from the ATV and it's accessible on the iMac. Only downside is the iMac needs to be on in case what I want to watch is not on the ATV's HDD, but I don't find that to be much of a problem.

    I have a second 4TB FW800 HDD which I use as a cloned backup via Carbon Copy Cloner.

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