USB Hack - External HD Choice

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Dapness, Jul 2, 2009.

  1. Dapness macrumors member

    Jan 8, 2008
    I was just curious which external hard drive everyone chose after they did the USB hack. I'm looking to get a 500gb drive at minimum and am wondering about the power on/off function of the external drive. It doesn't seem like the ATV ever powers down, at least mine doesn't so if I hook up and external drive will it remain on all the time??
  2. TRAG macrumors 6502


    Jan 6, 2009
    Louisiana, USA
    I do not use an Apple TV, so I can't really help with that front. However, I do use an external HD for for DVD rips. I use a SimpleTech (by Hitachi) Signature Mini. It has been going strong for a year.

    I've read some people using Drobos, which are a good way to expand your media if you ever need to. aTV Flash is a hack to use that utilizes the USB port.

    If you don't already have an Apple TV, I'd say wait to see if they'll be updated in September. I'd wait until the beginning of October. If not, I'd go for a Mac mini. If you already have one, oh well. It's still a good buy. Just needs some hacking to make it better.
  3. tom1971 macrumors 6502a

    May 15, 2007
    My external drive is a LaCie 500 GB and it spins down automatically. Works perfectly with this hack
  4. Tweeksy macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2008
    Tom, couple of questions if you are doing this:

    1. Does the external HD just replace the internal one? i.e. the ATV interface is the same, just with loads of storage rather than 40/160GB?

    2. Did you have to pay for this functionality with

    Thanks for any help.
  5. tom1971 macrumors 6502a

    May 15, 2007
    1.) Yes, you can do that.
    You could also use the external hd as additional hd space and not synchronize via itunes, but just copy your files to the external drive.
    So you have both possibilities. I still use the primary one as the boot hd and just attached my external on. I play my files using ATVfiles.

    2) You can either use the patch and install the USB support with one click of the remote control, or you could use nitoTV. however you have to download other files and it is more cumbersome. If you are good with terminal / Unix, then it is not a problem
  6. Dapness thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 8, 2008
    Great, thanks tom1971 this is exactly what I was looking for.

    1) So does the LaCie power up when accessed without any problems??

    2) Can you use the internal as the boot HD and still keep it synced to itunes with media content (some movies, music, pictures) and utilize the external for additional media (pretty much just movies and tv shows)? For example I would like to keep my kid's movies on the internal since I' watching Toy Story 1 & 2, Cars, Finding Nemo, Shrek, Wall-E, etc, 20 times a week and use the external for other movies.

    I was unaware of the ATVfiles hack (due to the 2 year old and newborn mentioned above ... minimal time for this kind of stuff anymore) but it seems like a solid alternative.

    I'm pretty sure you answered this in your post but I'm just double checking to make sure this will all fly before I make the purchase.
  7. tom1971 macrumors 6502a

    May 15, 2007
    Yes, it works without any problems.
    Yes, you can do it.
  8. Tweeksy macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2008
    This is something that really puts people off buying the ATV (and me buying other Apple products) the level of control they insist on having. It is clear that it would be simple of apple to offer the upgrade of storage for the ATV with a USB drive, and yet I am stuck with the choices:

    1. Have a relatively tiny media selection of 40Gb (that's the atv i have)
    2. not sync everything, but go and turn my pc on, wait for it to boot, then load iTunes, then wait for it to sync with the ATV, a 5 min procedure, so I can watch a tv show & I have to put up with any reliability or network issues when using this method.
    3. Hack the ATV to enable the USB port to use a drive so that steps 1 and 2 are no longer necessary, making my ATV far more reliable, practicle and actually worth the £115 I paid for it!

    I can't get my head around Apples thinking on this one! how hard would a patch to enable the USB drive and a little utility that configures/formats it?

    Spleen vented!
  9. Tweeksy macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2008
    Even more annoying, paid for, paid for the USB enable script and it doesn't bloody work!!!!

    Would not bother with this solution as it seems to have a lot of problems, keep saying that it just works, I have a feeling that it may be because I had FW 2.4.

    The solution is certainly not living up to the hype as couchsurfer couldn't just be installed via a script and had a few manual steps and flash won't install because they need me to extract some files from an intel mac running OSX 10.4 (which I don't have!)
  10. TuckBodi macrumors 6502

    Jan 10, 2007
    Why do people buy these things ( and ATVFlash) when there's a free and better alternative out there called ATVUSB Creator which is made by the developer who created the bootloader all patchsticks use and is one of the primary dev's on the Mac/ATV XBMC port?! Oh yeah, it has a GUI AND is blessed by all the ATV plugin dev's. I just don't get it.
  11. Scooterpig macrumors newbie

    Jul 12, 2008
    Wonder if I add to this question as am also trying to work out how to get an external hdd going properly just so I can add movies to it.

    What format or type does the external hdd need to be formatted in and once formatted does it need any additional files/structures added to be accessible?

    Once accessible and working how is it accessed via the Apple TV and is it then possible to add meta data for movies etc?

  12. Tweeksy macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2008
    Fair question, I am asking myself the same thing! I suppose I perceived the route to be easier and less risky. Now thinking that I am an idiot and should have gone the free route to!
  13. tom1971 macrumors 6502a

    May 15, 2007
    Hm, ever heard about something called "copyright" and "license" ?
  14. tom1971 macrumors 6502a

    May 15, 2007
    You can use FAT or HFS as a valid format.
    You can use e.g. ATVFiles to access your files. You can also add metadata.
  15. Tweeksy macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2008
    Yep, and I understand that there are legal issues around it. Would have been nice of those issues were made clear before buying, all I saw was an 'install flash' script!
  16. Tweeksy macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2008
    Now the USB script is finally working I have tried out my drive, it's 1TB and the power up/down with the ATV is working perfectly:

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