What to do with old, possibly broken AppleTV

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by jhkaplan, Nov 2, 2009.

  1. jhkaplan macrumors regular

    Jan 29, 2008
    I have an AppleTV that I purchased last year that is currently dead. When I plug it in, I get no video out of it and the light on the front just flashes Amber. I'm pretty sure that this means the HDD inside is toast. It's out of warranty as of a few weeks ago, and since I hacked it at one point to install Boxee, there was no use in me taking it to Apple to get it repaired/replaced.

    So, now I'm looking for a new home theater solution. The Apple TV was nice, but never fully worked as a full Home Theater solution for me.

    Here are my options now for a home theater set up:

    1. Buya Mac Mini and using it with Plex/Boxee/XBMC for my home theater/DVD playing/ripping, and just use my TV w/ tuner for OTA tv (No DVR)
    2. Buy a small PC, install Windows 7, and use Windows Media center for movies/music/ota tv w/ DVR.
    3. ??

    Does anyone know if there's a chance I can replace the HDD in my ATV myself and install some software on there to essentially just run Boxee or XBMC so I don't have to buy a Mac Mini? Anyone have any suggestions on the best way to do this whole thing?

    Ideally, I'd like a Blu-Ray drive, but unless I build a PC, that's not going to happen. I have a 42" Samsung plasma that I'd be hooking this up to via HDMI. Any suggestions/cheap methods of doing this?

  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    If you really want to try the ATV hard drive repair/replace you can follow these instructions. I found them doing a MR search fwiw.

    If not, I'd go the Mac Mini route. That is because I have all Macs in my house so having a windows 7 machine for my HTPC seems silly. You could be different though.

    Moving from an ATV to a mini was the wisest decision ever made for me.
  3. TheSpaz macrumors 604


    Jun 20, 2005
    I've taken the hard drive out of my Apple TV. It's a piece of cake.

    Just replace the hard drive.
  4. gerabbi macrumors regular

    Feb 8, 2009
    Hold down the menu and down button the remote and it will reset your atv, if there's still life. Also a HD replacement is very easy if you should need that.
  5. jhkaplan thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 29, 2008
    I've tried the menu/down hold down, and the thing is dead. It's so dead the case turned from white to blue. just kidding, kinda.

    So if I do replace the HD, am I looking at any greater functionality out of just getting a MacMini or Media Center PC? I would prefer to only use the Apple TV only if it has Boxee/XBMC/Plex installed. I can't stand the Apple TV closed system and bought it for Boxee. As far as I know, the ATV can't handle OTA tv, while the MacMini might be able to with a antenna USB adapter.

    Also, I'm currently running Boxee of of my MacBook Pro onto my Samsung TV via the Boxee and Air Mouse iPhone apps. This wouldnt be possible with the ATV, but would be with the MacMini, right?

    Thanks everyone for your help and input. I figured I might as well do this right if I'm going to re-do it.
  6. jhkaplan thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 29, 2008
    So now I'm still torn between a few options:

    I'm trying to decide if I should replace the HD on the ATV and see if I can repair it enough to run boxee, or if I should just buy a Mac Mini/Acer Aspire Revo/ASRock ION and just set the HTPC up that way instead.

    If I do fix the AppleTV, is it set up yet to play Hulu or stream Netflix? I haven't seen a straight answer on this yet and have been checking.

    How is the Hulu playback on the Mini/ASRock/Acer? Ideally, I'll play HD movies through boxee, stream from Hulu, and possibly run handbrake in the background for DVD ripping. Anyone have a definitive answer on what I should do? I'm still so unsure.


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