If you are the owner of a disappointing little black box called the Apple TV, this article contains some of the best news you will read today. You can do more with your little black box. Much more. All it takes is about 10 minutes, or less if you move quickly and are familiar with the terminal, and a program called Seas0npass. This article is about the benefits of jailbreaking your Apple TV 2 and not a tutorial, so since there are already resources abound about jailbreaking the second generation Apple TV there is no need to go over that here. Just follow this link and jailbreak.
Some of the burning questions presented when jailbreaking an Apple TV are:
Why should I jailbreak my Apple TV when it works perfectly as it is?
What extra features will jailbreaking give me?
Is jailbreaking the Apple TV hard?
Will I break my Apple TV when I jailbreak it?
These answers to these questions are easy ones to come across. Jailbreaking your Apple TV opens up a whole new world of customization while leaving the old functionality of your Apple TV in 100% working order. You can still watch Netflix, baseball, basketball, rent movies from the iTunes store and listen to the radio stations that come with iTunes. But it also adds new features like being able to install custom software onto it such as XBMC or Nito TV. XBMC, which stands for Xbox Media Center, was a custom installation for the original Xbox and has since been improved and reworked to run on basically any system. Through XBMC you open up all sorts of new video channels such as G4TV, Revision3, National Geographic, and even your Google Reader account to name a few. XBMC can be installed after jailbreaking by following this tutorial.
Installing NitoTV will give you much more customization options along with the ability to install XMBC right from the menu. NitoTV offers a whole slew of plugins you can use at your disposal for things like enabling ftp into your AppleTV for easy file transfers from your computer to the AppleTV. One of the main attractions of NitoTV, aside from installing XMBC and other media plugins, is the weather plugin. Sounds silly, but it’s quite convenient to not have to check a computer, phone, or switch back to cable to check the weather. There is even an option to put it on the main screen of the Apple TV. For installing NitoTV check out the wiki page.
Another great feature of the Apple TV is the ability to install Plex. Plex is a port of XBMC with some slight differences. Plex is only for mac, but allows you to watch Hulu; something that XBMC has had an on again off again romance with. Don’t get too excited yet, because Hulu is limited to the computer. For Now. Who knows what we may see in the near future when more developers start working on Plex plugins. One thing that plex is great for is a media server. If your mac has a whole bunch of media on it that you don’t want to convert into iTunes, this is a great option for you to stream your computer’s media to your Apple TV. For a tutorial on installing Plex and an in depth view at what it can and can’t do visit this site.
Last, but certainly not least, is a program called Remote HD. This may be reason enough alone to jailbreak your Apple TV. If you have an iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch then you need to jailbreak your Apple TV and get this app on your iDevice of choice. With Remote HD, you’ll be able to control your Apple TV even if your Television is off. It brings up a display of your Apple TV’s “desktop” and you control your Apple TV in real time from your device. If you’re stuck in a traffic jam or out on a romantic date and want to have a movie rental queued up when you get home, just open up Remote HD on your device (assuming you have internet) and select the show or movie you want ready. You can’t watch your movie or tv show over your device, but you can stream audio. Not sure how well audio playback would be because it will have to stream from your computer to your ATV and then from ATV to your device. Over 3g it may be a little choppy, but it’s still pretty darn cool. For more on this visit this tutorial to install and be able to control your Apple TV from work, school, or anywhere really.
These are all great reasons to jailbreak your Apple TV 2, but if you’re still not convinced, here are the negatives to jailbreaking. If you currently have the latest iOS on your Apple TV (4.2 which is really iOS 4.3) then you need to do something called a tethered boot. Tethered boot means that every time your Apple TV boots up it needs to be connected to your computer for a short time in order for the custom software to run. Not really a big deal though because powering off means unplugging, not putting the Apple TV to sleep, which rarely happens. Most people just put the Apple TV to sleep since all you need to do is press any button on the remote and it wakes up.
Downside number two of jailbreaking is that it isn’t perfect. Apple’s products and software are usually highly polished and work flawlessly. Jailbroken Apple TVs have been known to be a little buggy, sometimes restarting the desktop while you’re navigating a menu or in XBMC sometimes it will quit while looking for things to watch. That’s also not really all that big of a deal either considering all the extra features you get from jailbreaking, a couple random quits in a few weeks of heavy use seems like ants on a molehill…because the molehill is bigger than an ant hill so the ants seem tiny…and it’s a tiny issue in comparison with the great benefits…forget it.
After reading this article I hope you are more inclined to go out and jailbreak your Apple TV because it will greatly improve its functionality. If you’re perfectly happy with your Apple TV and like what it does as it is then fine, but if you’d like a little, or a lot, more than what you’re currently getting then this option is for you.