Apple TV How to enable Hulu on Apple TV

Discussion in 'Jailbreaks and iOS Hacks' started by dgalvan123, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. dgalvan123, Jan 8, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013

    dgalvan123 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 16, 2008
    UPDATED/REVISED February 24, 2013:
    Below is a set of step-by-step instructions to go from an out-of-the-box Apple TV 2 to a jailbroken one with XBMC and several useful plugins installed (Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Free Cable).

    I have done this successfully for my two ATV2s running firmware version 5.2.

    The process no longer requires use of the command line at all (no need for Terminal!). Jailbreaking an ATV2 is as simple as it has ever been.

    "Hulu" plugin enables free Hulu (or Hulu Plus if you are a subscriber) WITHOUT COMMERCIALS via XBMC. It also enables access to all the Hulu content you can get on a PC/Mac. (Note the built-in Hulu Plus feature for Apple TV (green icon) and Roku does not include some content which IS available on PC/Mac, and IS available using this XBMC plugin.)

    "Amazon" plugin allows you to watch Amazon instant streaming content if you are an Amazon Prime subscriber.

    "Free Cable" lets you watch current-run shows posted at the network websites (including CBS, which does not put its shows on Hulu). The plugin just accesses the network web stream and brings it to your Apple TV running XBMC.

    1. Download and install the untethered “Seasonpass” – Latest Version – from This is the software that will “jailbreak” your ATV, so that you can install non-Apple software on it.

    2. Run Seasonpass on your computer and follow instructions at
    If you successfully jailbreak your ATV2 here (which you will know by a temporary Firecore icon on your Apple TV "Settings" icon when you hook it back up to your TV), move on to step 3.

    I ran into two problems in this part. If you have either of these problems, see my notes below. (I think they are caused by bugs in SeasonPass. Perhaps an updated version of SeasonPass will eschew these problems sometime soon.)

    *Note A: If you have a problem where Seasonpass fails to create the .ipsw file, saying "Filesystem patches failed", then visit this URL for a solution.

    **Note B: Another problem I ran into: After creating the .ipsw file, when the ATV2 was in DFU mode, Seasonpass said that iTunes would restore the ATV2 using the custom-built .ipsw firmware. Seasonpass said I should just wait for iTunes to do it, but iTunes never did anything. It saw the plugged-in Apple TV 2, but didn't automatically restore it.
    The solution: after Seasonpass says that "iTunes will now restore your Apple TV. . .", you should manually go into iTunes and "option + click" on the "Restore" button. This will give you a dialog box. Navigate to your home directory, then Library --> Application Support --> Seas0nPass --> Firmware. Choose the file that looks like: "AppleTV2,1_5.2_xxxxxx_SP_Restore.ipsw" (where xxxxxx is some combination of characters that may be unique). The "SP" stands for seasonpass, which distinguishes it from Apple's official .ipsw firmware.
    iTunes will then "restore" your ATV2 using the jailbroken firmware created by SeasonPass. For me, after iTunes was done, SeasonPass was still stuck on the "please wait for iTunes to finish" message. But that's ok. As soon as iTunes finishes restoring, your ATV2 is jailbroken, and you can just unplug the ATV2 and go hook it back up to your TV. You can even click cancel on SeasonPass (I had to to close that program).

    Your ATV2 is now jailbroken. (Don’t worry, if you decide you want to go back to the original factory settings, you can always go to “Restore” in the Settings section of your Apple TV.)

    3. Hook your ATV back up to your TV and make sure it can successfully connect to the internet and your network via either ethernet or wi-fi. You should see a temporary Firecore emblem on your "Settings" icon, indicating the unit was successfully jailbroken.

    4. Now you want to install some software on your jailbroken ATV2. This used to be the "hard" part, as it required the Terminal application and a series of text commands. This is no longer necessary, thanks to an extremely simple GUI called "Nito installer".

    (If you do prefer to install XBMC using the command line instead of the GUI approach, simply follow the instructions provided here:
    ... and then just use NitoInstaller to install the "popular" plugins as described in Step 5, then continue to Step 6.)

    If you prefer to use the GUI, download Nito Installer to your mac from here:
    More on this:

    (Thanks very much to Tinmania (comment #214 in this thread) for making me aware of this super-simple solution!)

    5. Run Nito Installer on your mac and select your Apple TV (connected to your network via wifi or ethernet) using the center pull-down menu. Then click "Install Nito TV". When that's done and you get a green checkmark, click "Install XBMC". When that's done, click "Install Popular". This last click will transfer some popular XBMC plugin repositories onto your Apple TV 2, including the bluecop repository containing the Hulu, Amazon, and Free Cable plugins we are interested in. These plugins are contained in a .zip file which has now been transferred to your Apple TV's filesystem. However the plugins in that .zip file have not yet been installed in XBMC.

    6. Go over to your Apple TV 2. You should now have an XBMC icon somewhere in your 2nd or 3rd row. Select that icon to enter XBMC.

    7. Now you have XBMC running on your ATV2. All that's left is to install the Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Free Cable plugins. To do this you must install from Bluecop's repository.
    Go to System --> Settings --> Add-ons --> Install from zip file.
    This will open up a dialog box which lets you navigate through your Apple TV's file system. From here, go to Home Folder --> Applications.
    Here you will see zip files from many different authors. These are the "popular" plugins that Nito Installer transferred to your Apple TV in step 5. Go to "" and hit select.
    You should see a little "add-on enabled" message pop up in the lower right.

    8. Now go to "Get Add-ons" --> "bluecop Add-on Repository". Inside, you should see several add-on categories (if you don't see anything in this directory, see my note below).

    ***Note C: When I entered the "bluecop Add-on Repository", there was nothing visible in the directory at all. I googled around and found that this is a common problem and may be a result of a bug in the latest version of XBMC (version 12, Frodo). Anyway, the solution is simple enough. Just back out one level so that your cursor is on "bluecop Add-on Repository", then hold the Menu button on your remote until a contextual menu pops up. Choose "Force Refresh". Then exit all the way out of XBMC by going back to the main menu and selecting the restart/power symbol in the lower left. XBMC crashed on me at this point and caused my Apple TV to hang. I just pulled out the power cable and plugged it back in. Then re-entered XBMC and returned to System --> Settings --> Add-ons --> Get Add-ons --> bluecop Add-on Repository. If the repository STILL looks empty, do Step 7 again (installing from zip file). For me, this is what finally solved it. Now when you go to "get add-ons" and enter the installed repository, there should be several items listed inside, including Add-on repository, Music add-ons, Program add-ons, and Video add-ons.

    9. Choose "Video add-ons". Then select and install "Hulu", "Amazon", and "Free Cable". It will take a minute or two after you have clicked "install" for each of these plugins to finish downloading and get installed. You will see a little message pop up to tell you when each one has been enabled.

    10. Once these are enabled, you are done! You can back out to the main XBMC menu, and access Hulu (or Amazon Prime, or Free Cable), by going to Video --> Add-ons. Enjoy!

    Optional tips:

    -When browsing through the TV shows provided by these plugins, you can hold the Menu button down on a show you like and select "Add to favourites". This will put a shortcut to this show on a favorites list, which is accessible at the XBMC main menu by simply pressing the Menu button. Makes it much quicker to access new episodes of shows you like.

    -To disable commercials in Hulu, go to System --> Add-ons --> Enabled Add-ons --> Video Add-ons --> --> Hulu --> Configure. Then go to the "Streaming" tab. Uncheck Network Pre-Roll, and set Pre-roll Ads and Trailing Ads to zero. This way, when you start a show, it will start playing right away and you'll never have to watch an ad again!

    -If you would like an alternate method of getting the bluecop repository onto your Apple TV2, you can do it from within XBMC by following these instructions:
    It is not as simple/easy as using Nito Installer. But it's always good to know more than one way to do something.
  2. marc11 macrumors 68000

    Mar 30, 2011
    NY USA
    If this works I will send you a case of virtual beer!!!!
  3. marc11 macrumors 68000

    Mar 30, 2011
    NY USA
    Any idea how to add login credentials for Hulu plus?
  4. chaseg22 macrumors newbie

    Nov 5, 2011
  5. Rddl macrumors newbie

    Jan 1, 2012
    Excellent, thank you for this. Just what I was looking for, as I'm new to the XBMC scene.
  6. dgalvan123 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 16, 2008
    Once you have XBMC and the Hulu plugin installed (per the instructions) do the following:

    Go to XBMC --> System --> Add-ons --> get add-ons --> bluecop add-on repository -->Hulu --> Configure --> switch to the Hulu Login tab

    From there just select "enable login" and enter your Hulu Plus (or regular Hulu) username and password.

    Then, from the main menu, just go to Video add-ons --> Hulu and when it loads up you will see your subscriptions and so forth for your Hulu account.

    (Full disclosure: I only use free Hulu, not Hulu plus, but I've heard from others that Hulu Plus works fine and I don't see why it wouldn't.)
  7. marc11 macrumors 68000

    Mar 30, 2011
    NY USA
  8. theepsyche macrumors newbie

    May 7, 2010
    Having some problems. I get all the way to changing directories on atv and I don't think it's letting me change. this is what terminal says

    sftp> cd /private/var/mobile/Media
    sftp> put
    stat No such file or directory
  9. dgalvan123 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 16, 2008
    Looks like sftp can't find that zip file in your local directory on your computer. This suggests you are not in the correct directory on your local machine before running sftp. Or (equivalently) the zip file is not where you think it is on your local machine.

    Remember, you have to first change directory on your local computer to same the directory where the zip file resides, THEN run sftp to connect to your ATV, and THEN cd to /private/var/mobile/Media on the ATV. When you use the "put" command, sftp is going to look for the file you are "put"ing in the local directory from which you ran sftp.

    You can do the following to help troubleshoot: while connected to the ATV using sftp, use "pwd" to see which ATV directory you are in, and you can use "lpwd" to see which local computer directory you are in. You can also use "ls" to see files listed in the remote (ATV) directory, and "lls" to see files listed in your local (computer) directory. You can also "lcd" to change your local directory while connected using sftp.

    Here is the man page for sftp.

    (Alternately, you could use a graphical ftp program like cyberduck or fugu to connect to the Apple TV, if that ends up being easier.)
  10. theepsyche macrumors newbie

    May 7, 2010
    Thanks for reply, got it to work with Cyberduck.
  11. ajohansson macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2011
    wow thats a lot of stuff to do. glad I just used playOn.
  12. dgalvan123, Jan 10, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2012

    dgalvan123 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 16, 2008
    PlayOn costs money. Hulu via XBMC on the ATV is free.

    Also PlayOn must be running on a Windows machine in order to stream to the Xbox 360, PS3, iPad, or other device (it doesn't support ATV). If you don't have a Windows machine, you can't use it. Also the only way to get it working so that it streams (from your Windows computer) to your ATV is to jailbreak your ATV and install XBMC. So to get it running on your ATV, you'd have to do pretty much the same amount of work as setting up the bluecop repository since you still have to jailbreak and install XBMC in either case. At that point the difference is that PlayOn requires you be running an application on another computer, while the bluecop Hulu plugin does not. Oh, and the bluecop plugin is free while PlayOn is not.

    So, if you have a windows machine and some other device like a Wii or Xbox or PS3 or something, then yes, running PlayOn might be less "stuff to do". But even then you'd be paying for something you could otherwise get for free.

    To each their own.
  13. ajohansson macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2011
    Yup PlayOn costs 50 bucks for a lifetime...
    Jailbreaking an ATV2 is free.
    XBMC is free if you terminal or $29 if you want to use ATV Flash black
    I run a virtual machine on my mac which isn't free (unless your friend has a copy of VmWare or Paralles and windows software)

    To each their own...thanks for the post
  14. phillipjfry macrumors 6502a


    Dec 12, 2006
    Peace in Plainfield
    Anyone else experiencing an issue or two with the repository?
    I got all the way up to finding the Hulu plugin, clicked to install it and it's stuck at Downloading 0% and never changes

    The Hulu icon shows up but it's obviously not working. I don't have the error in front of me at this point but wanted to run this by everyone.

    All the other bluecop add-ons show the same thing when trying to install reddit videos or amazon addon
  15. dgalvan123, Jan 11, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2012

    dgalvan123 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 16, 2008
    Is it possible you have an incomplete download of the zip file itself? That could explain why all the add-ons are having trouble installing.
    You could try deleting the zip file, then re-downloading it and trying again?

    Here is another place to download the latest version of the repository:
  16. zachlegomaniac macrumors 6502a


    Sep 20, 2008
    I'm getting this:

    ssh -I root 192.168.x.x
    no support for PKCS#11.
    xxxx@192.168.x.x's password:

    and then it won't let me type in a password. I'm just getting a gray block where the cursor should be. It let me type a password once, but "alpine" didn't work (although I've never changed the pw to my knowledge).

    Any ideas?

    Thank you!
  17. dgalvan123 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 16, 2008
    it looks from your text like you are typing:
    "ssh -I root 192.168.x.x"

    you should be typing:
    "ssh -l root 192.168.x.x"

    That is a lowercase letter L, NOT an uppercase letter I.
    That may be part of the problem. -I tag means you'll be using a special identity file (which you do not want to do), whereas -l means you will be using the particular login name "root" (which you DO want to do).

    Also note: usually when you enter a password at the unix command line, the cursor does not move along or advance as you enter the password, it just stays in one place so you cannot tell how many characters you have entered. That's ok, you can still enter the password. Just type "alpine" and hit return.
  18. zachlegomaniac macrumors 6502a


    Sep 20, 2008
    clearly not much of a tech guy here! that worked. thanks so much for your help.
  19. jetlife2 macrumors regular


    Apr 18, 2004
    Cincinnati, Oh
    ATV post-JB?


    A few questions...I am very familiar with terminal and Macs, but I have never jailbroken any device:

    1. After JB per the above process, what is the user interface going to be? Is it the same as the standard ATV but with more options that permit Hulu access? Or is it going to be different software entirely?

    1b. Related question, will I still have Airplay functionality, stream from Itunes, Netflix, etc...or is this now through some other front end...

    2. If it all goes south, is there a hard reset that can be done to restore the OEM software? Is there a risk of bricking the device?

  20. zachlegomaniac macrumors 6502a


    Sep 20, 2008
    After going through the process this is my experience:

    1. The user interface is the same with more options (this was important to me, as well).

    1b. I still have all of the aforementioned functionality.

    2. A hard reset restores the OEM software without any problems.
  21. dgalvan123 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 16, 2008
    1. User interface is the same as before, but now you will have two additional options in the Apple TV main menu bar. In addition to "Movies", "Internet", and "Computers" (etc.) you will now have "NitoTV" and "XBMC". NitoTV uses the regular Apple TV interface to list other apps you can install. XBMC, when selected, takes you into the XBMC interface which is different from the Apple TV interface. Inside of that you can access network hard drives, install XBMC "plugins" (like the Hulu plugin), and so forth. To exit XBMC, you select the "power" or "restart" symbolic button on the XBMC main menu, which will make your screen flash and then return you to the Apple TV main menu.

    1b. This process only adds features. It doesn't take anything away, and all your existing features will be accessed in the same way as they were before.

    2. Yes you can "Restore" your ATV from the ATV settings menu if you have the ability to do that and it will restore to factory defaults, then update to the latest ATV software. Or, if your ATV isn't responding, you can connect it to your computer/iTunes with the microUSB cable and Restore it from there. I have not had to do this, and I've not heard about confirmed cases of "bricking" the ATV. At this point the jailbreak software is pretty reliable, and the risk is quite low. Of course, any time you muck about in the ATV file system with terminal there is the potential to do some damage, but if you're familiar with terminal and follow the instructions you should be fine.

    One thing:
    The only down side to jailbreaking I've experienced is that you won't be able to update to the next Apple-issued Apple TV software update without losing your jailbreak, that is until Firecore puts out a newer version of SeasonPass that works with the new Apple update. So if, for example, Apple's next software update adds some fancy new feature you want, you will have to decide whether you want to update your ATV right then and there, losing your jailbreak and hence losing your XBMC and Hulu access while gaining the fancy new Apple feature OR you can wait until SeasonPass gets updated. Usually SeasonPass gets updated within a few weeks after an Apple update, but often it's the "tethered" version of Seasonpass that gets updated first, meaning that if you ever need to reboot your Apple TV, you have to connect it to your computer with a cable. The version I link to in my original post is an "untethered" version, so it doesn't have that requirement. But usually the untethered version of Seasonpass gets updated later than the tethered version. Last time, when Apple TV version 4.4 came out (October 12, 2011), the tethered jailbreak was available within a week (October 18). But the untethered jailbreak wasn't available until December 31. I didn't want to hassle with having to "tether" if I needed to reboot my ATV, so rather than lose my Hulu access I decided to wait until the untethered jailbreak came out before I updated. This means I didn't have PhotoStream, WSJ, and iPad 2 mirroring for about 2.5 months after the Apple update was released. (If I had REALLY wanted those features right away, I could have simply updated, and then jailbroke later, or used the tethered jailbreak.)

    To avoid automatically updating your Apple TV (and losing your jailbreak) by accident, install "updatebegone" from NitoTV (step #10 in my original post). (You can always update manually under the Settings menu. This just stops it from updating automatically.)
  22. CocoaPuffs, Jan 17, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2012

    CocoaPuffs macrumors 68010

    Aug 23, 2008
    By the way, between the various plugins developed by the community of XBMC and the fact that none of the original ATV functions is altered, jailbreaking ATV2 is an absolute must!

    FYI, there is an alternative to the long list of steps and typing in all that command lines.

    (OP, please let me know if you rather have me list the alternative elsewhere.)

    The first two steps are required to jailbreak your ATV2 before the following steps:

    1. Purchase and download aTV Flash:

    2. Run the self-installing .dmg file that will upload and install necessary files that enable a new menu on your ATV2 called "Maintenance."

    3. Under Maintenance, installing nitoTV and XBMC (plus several other apps) is as easy as click-and-go.

    Next - Add bluecop repository to XBMC. Instead of command lines through Terminal, you can follow the alternative steps below:

    4. Download a copy of free FTP software called FileZilla.

    5. Load up FileZilla, select Site Manager under File, and add a New Site.

    6. Enter the LAN IP address in Host, select SFTP as Servertype, enter "root" as user and "alpine" as password, and connect.

    7. Copy and paste: /private/var/mobile/Media into "Remote site:" box, press enter and it will take you directly to the necessary folder.

    8. Drag and drop the bluecop repository from "Local site" into the folder.

    Then follow directions from 17 and onward.
  23. jetlife2 macrumors regular


    Apr 18, 2004
    Cincinnati, Oh
    Thanks David

    Thanks David for taking the time to put this together all in one place. And thanks for answering my questions directly and seriously, you have made this corner of the online world a better place today. So refreshing. Thanks.
  24. cheapa55 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2007
    Thank you!!! My apple tv has been sitting there collecting dust. Now I might be more inclined to cancel cable.

    Is this way getting the same features as what's on atvflash (black)? How does the new 1.2 update affect this?

    and does this work with icefilms or things of that sort? I just read about it yesterday and really have no clue what I can do with the apple TV.

    I have the old aTV and the new one. I assume they work very differently correct?
  25. CocoaPuffs macrumors 68010

    Aug 23, 2008
    Yes, Icefilms indeed works. Just make sure you don't run 720HD movies from it, because divx decoder runs sluggish on ATV2 and crashes often.

    Once you installed nitoTV and XBMC, both can be installed through command lines, then you won't need aTV Flash.

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