Tiny Deathstars of Foulness

AppleTVs automatically update. They do so using a process similar to how iOS updates, but instead of looking at the feed I posted in, they look at

The AppleTV feed is similar to that available for iOS updates, with each dictionary having roughly the same data:

<string>Apple Inc.</string>
To construct a URL to a zip, you would then simply merge the _BaseURL and the _RelativePath to the asset from the feed for a given model, in the above example, ending up with the following URL to manually download tvOS 9.2 for AppleTV 5,3:
BTW, Applednld is load balanced between and, both within Apple’s Class C.
You don’t need two / characters in the path, but if you take the same process from my earlier post, you end up with

April 27th, 2016

Posted In: Apple TV, Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server, Mac Security

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My daughter is always finding features I’d never heard of. I’m sitting there, watching the Katy Perry movie with her. She hits some random buttons on the Apple TV remote and a screen comes up and then disappears as quickly as it appeared. A screen I’ve never noticed…

Flash forward to later in the day and suddenly the subtitles for Lillyhammer are in Spanish. Now, my Spanish just isn’t as good as it used to be. So here I’m wanting to switch it to English. But, where’s the setting? I finally found it by browsing to Settings, then Audio & Video. Then browse to Closed Captioning and switch it to English, or just Off if you’re only looking to see captions when something is in another language.
This caused me to start trying every possible key combination (with only 6 keys it didn’t really take that long) until I held down the Play button for a few seconds while inside Netflix and streaming a movie to my Apple TV. This brought up a menu allowing me to select the Closed Captioning language.

Fun stuff. Good luck!

January 26th, 2014

Posted In: Home Automation

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In what in my opinion is likely to be a preamble to hacking what an eventual Apple TV would look like, enterprising hax0rs have put together windowing managers and are now running iOS apps using a custom springboard for the Apple TV. Pretty awesome stuff IMHO!

December 16th, 2011

Posted In: iPhone

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Sometimes it can be really useful to have an SSH connection into your AppleTV. If I need to explain why then you probably won’t want to do it. Unless of course, you’re just after getting something like Boxee running, which we’ll look at as well. Before we get into doing anything to your AppleTV, when we’re done I do not know how Apple will feel about your warranty moving forward, so do this stuff at your own risk (but that’s pretty much true for many articles on this site)…

So first up, let’s install SSH. To get started, plug in a jump drive you don’t mind reformatting. Then run the df command and look at which filesystem that the jump drive was mounted as. In most cases this should be /dev/disk1s1 or /dev/disk2s1 or something like that. Note this location and while you’re at it, double-check that the data is trivial to you and that you really don’t mind reformatting the jump drive.

Next, let’s download atvusb-creator, a little utility that will generate a new patchstick based on that jump drive (a patchstick being the term applied to usb sticks that will hax0r an AppleTV). Once downloaded, run the tool. Select ATV-Patchstick in the Choose an Installation dialog, and then select the version of the AppleTV OS you have (if you’re fully software updated then as of the date of this writing that would be 3.x). Next, choose ssh tools from the 3rd field in the Installation Options section, making sure that the box is checked. If you are just trying to get XBMC or Boxee running then you can check the boxes for those as well at this point.

ATV USB Creator Screenshot

ATV USB Creator

Next, set the USB Target Device field to be the filesystem you selected earlier and then click the Create Using button and wait for the process to finish. Once the patchstick has been created, plug it into your AppleTV and reboot the unit. You’ll see a bunch of code, similar to starting Mac OS X into verbose mode. When the screen tells you that you’re done, unplug the patchstick and reboot the device. Upon reboot it will be running SSH with a username and password of frontrow. If you’re not using a static IP address then if you open iTunes and connect to the device you’ll have an entry in your arp table for it. You can run arp and find the IP fairly easily. Once found, use the SSH command to connect to the device. For example, if mine is on an IP address of then I would use the following command to connect to it:

ssh frontrow@

Now you have an AppleTV running SSH. Even though this article isn’t meant to be about Boxee or XBMC, you can then install those by going to the new Launcher menu and then to Downloads and downloading those applications (otherwise if you try to access them you’ll get an error that the .app bundle can’t be found). Once those are in place it should open pretty easily.

Now that you’re running SSH, let’s look at one of the uses. I want a web browser on the AppleTV (even though typing a URL in it is pretty painful unless you install a keyboard too). For this instance, I’m going to use CouchServer, ’cause I like the way the keyboard works and because there’s a silverlight that kinda’ sorta’ works with it. First, download the files for CouchSurfer here. Then copy the files that were downloaded up to the device (assuming the filename is CouchSurfer-Lite.tar) from your client computer:

scp ~/Desktop/CouchSurfer-Lite.tar frontrow@

Next, SSH into the AppleTV and extract the tar file:

tar -xvpf CouchSurfer-Lite.tar

Then move the extracted data into the PlugIns directory (which will display the appliance similar to how Launcher would be displayed at this point:

sudo mv CouchSurfer.frappliance /System/Library/CoreServices/

(your password will be frontrow in case you have hard core add and have forgotten it already)

We’re gonna’ give ownership to wheel:

sudo chown -R root:wheel /System/Library/CoreServices/

Then reboot the AppleTV. Upon reboot, you will then have a shiny new web browser making your AppleTV even more like a full fledged Mac with Front Row. Now you’re in pretty good shape. You’ve pretty much put more stuff on your AppleTV than you can possibly use, but you still probably just want NetFlix to work on it. For that, you’ll need to get Silverlight working with CouchSurfer and just browse to the movies in the web browser at as the Boxee implementation for AppleTV doesn’t yet work with NetFlix and there aren’t any native Plug-Ins that work with it yet either (that I’m aware of). Also, if you’re going to use any of the 3rd party media browsers, keep in mind that they’re sitting on top of the OS layer and that their resource utilization seems pretty poor compared to the native media browser on the device (given the abstraction there, it seems logical it would be so no complaints).

BTW, another fun little app (to help make your AppleTV more like your iPad):

And the most intriguing one that I haven’t actually gotten to work yet (haven’t had time to get past the second or third step – busy) is:

What I’d like to see – the ability to run my AppleTV as a Zwave controller… Or iPad… Or Newton… 🙂

April 23rd, 2010

Posted In: Home Automation, Mac OS X

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