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Hardware Hacking Television Apple Build

AppleTV Runs iOS, Already Jailbroken 299

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the pick-the-locks dept.
Wired has noted that "Soon, thanks to the tireless efforts of the iPhone Dev Team, you will be able to install apps on your AppleTV. An upcoming Jailbreak tool, called SHAtter, has already been used to unlock the new Apple TV's firmware." The units are supposedly now shipping. I have a lot of questions about the device (like how will it handle the photo screen saver if your local machines are offline) but hacking it might make the thing more usable (divx please, and how about letting my screen share my desktop to my TV?).
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AppleTV Runs iOS, Already Jailbroken

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  • by dmitrygr (736758)
    does it run ARM?
  • Gluttons for abuse (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Microlith (54737) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @12:16PM (#33723688)

    hacking it might make the thing more usable

    Tragic, of course, that people would buy something so crippled and locked down they must "jailbreak" it to make it more useful.

    Certainly this is effort better spent improving solutions that are more open from the get-go?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Separate demographics.

      Demographic 1 is my parents. I'd easily get them one of these. Just like I got them a MacMini and put it in SimpleFinder or an iPod nano (1G) and Shuffle (2G). Say what you want about "Windows and Linux are just as easy", but I have never gotten a support call about anything. Heck my mom (technophobic) figured out her iPod all by herself. I had to walk my GF through Lucid's install. She was patient, but it's something my parents wouldn't have stood for.

      They replace their BlockBuster/Re

      • Say what you want about "Windows and Linux are just as easy", but I have never gotten a support call about anything.

        I never got a support call from my grandpa about Ubuntu on his desktop either, and it's been there for years. He's the kind of user that scratches his head when you tell him to open a web browser. He stares at you blankly when you ask him to type something in the address bar. His eyes glaze over noticeably when you tell him to Google for something. If he can use Linux comfortably for years without issue, your parents most likely can too.

        This threadjacking is now over. We will now return you to your regularl

        • Did you install it for him? Does his printing work (My GF had a Dell printer which didn't?)

          • by jedidiah (1196)

            > Did you install it for him? Does his printing work (My GF had a Dell printer which didn't?)

            Is this supposed to be an attempt to claim that a Mac does printing better than Linux?

            If so then all you've done is just demonstrated a clear lack of understanding of how MacOS is put together.

    • by tzhuge (1031302) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @12:48PM (#33724224)

      That's a straw-man.

      'People' do not buy something 'they must jailbreak'. The vast majority buy a product that they want because it does enough of what they want for it to be worth the price. The jailbreakers do what they do because they find some enjoyment in doing it. The people who use the product jailbroken are often just messing around. They use jailbreak because the can. Those that buy a product that does not meet their need, then use jailbreak to make the product meet their need are mythical, except perhaps when there are in fact no alternatives at all.

      Frankly what's really tragic is that so many people insist on whining about products they clearly don't want instead of just buying and enjoying what they do want. It's also tragic that so many keep rationalizing their 'superior' choice by denigrating others.

      • by Microlith (54737) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @12:50PM (#33724262)

        what's really tragic is that so many people insist on whining about products they clearly don't want

        I'm more concerned about people encouraging and supporting Apple's attitude of lock down and customer control.

        • by recoiledsnake (879048) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @01:32PM (#33725018)

          I don't understand why Apple gets a free pass on everything from many otherwise intelligent people on here whereas MS gets demonized regardless of what they do.

        • by tzhuge (1031302)

          Why? Setting aside this notion that anybody actually takes the position of 'I support lock down and customer control'. Why are you concerned?

          Apple's approach doesn't preclude alternatives right? And open is better than closed right? So what's the concern? Whatever additional factors such as marketing, or fashion, anybody conveniently wants to blame for Apple's success, are these things unavailable to open products?

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Microlith (54737)

            Why are you concerned?

            Because if you hadn't noticed, pretty much every other vendor seems to be following Apple's lead. Both in hardware design and in the belief that lock down is good. That diminishes my ability to avoid lock down.

            I wouldn't give a damn if vendors offered the ability to easily unlock their devices in a fashion similar to the Nexus One (or better yet, the N900) but not a single one does. They either force you to find a hole and exploit it or make it nigh upon impossible (Motorola loves this

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by C10H14N2 (640033)

          It's funny, because the problem is the same on both sides: Ego. Steve Jobs' planetoid ego permeates everything about Apple. However, having screamed and nearly smashed my jailbroken iPhone as it melted into a mess of cobbled-together crap in dependency chaos, it strikes me that the collective egos of the Jailbreakers are just as bad. They assume free is better in all cases, no matter if that means completely obliterating the actual intended purpose of the item in question or making the continued use of it s

      • by sjonke (457707)

        Well, yes I agree... except that for those of use who've gone and jailbroken their iphones... now we (or at least many of us) find it hard to live without the jailbreak. I wish Apple would be forced (I can't reasonably expect them to choose) to allow Cydia in the App Store. But... I'm not disagreeing with you, because I love my iPhone even without the jailbreak and I bought it with no expectation of jailbreaking it. I just love it now even more with the Jailbreak... and so I anxiously await the release of a

      • by lophophore (4087)

        Uhh. No.

        A friend had one of the original Apple TV boxes. He jailbroke it to run XBMC on it, which he said made it much more useful. He told me he only ran the Apple TV apps when he wanted to access content from the iTunes store. Everything else, he used XBMC.

        I jailbroke my XBOX to run XBMC. I had no interested in playing games, but the XBOX makes a decent media player with XBMC.

      • by guspasho (941623)

        FWIW, I bought the Xbox 1 because it was such a powerful media center after it was jailbroken, and that's the only reason I am now considering AppleTV. I can't wait for XBMC to get ported to it!

    • by Abcd1234 (188840)

      No kidding!

      So I can only assume you've never bought a videogame console, right? Or a handheld videogame system... or a cell phone... or a PMP.. or a PDA...

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Microlith (54737)

        or a cell phone

        N900. Not locked down from the start.

        or a PMP

        Lockdown on the iPods was added eventually, but the first one I bought I loaded iPodLinux on. No battle for control against Apple.

        or a PDA

        iPaq. Again, no lockdown. No battle against the vendor for control.

        Seriously, how did everyone become convinced that lock down was the default state for all things? Surely we have not been fooled so badly?

        • by tepples (727027)

          N900. Not locked down from the start.

          Back in May, I went to three cell phone stores in my home town in the midwestern United States and none had an N900 for me to try.

          or a PMP

          Lockdown on the iPods was added eventually, but the first one I bought I loaded iPodLinux on.

          No longer available for sale.

          or a PDA

          iPaq

          Those are still in stock [hp.com], but the $299 model appears to have only 0.25 GB of flash compared to 8 GB of flash for the $229 iPod touch. And are there enough like-minded WM6 PDA owners to make developing software for WM6 PDAs viable?

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        > So I can only assume you've never bought a videogame console, right? Or a handheld videogame system... or a cell phone... or a PMP.. or a PDA...

        Actually, my PMP is open in all of the ways that an Apple PMP isn't.

        That is why it is the most used PMP in my family despite the fact that we have multiple generations of iDevices.

        It beats out multiple iphones and the ipad in actually being used by end users.

    • Tragic, of course, that people would buy something so crippled and locked down they must "jailbreak" it to make it more useful.

      You're mistaking opinion for fact.

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        >> Tragic, of course, that people would buy something so crippled and locked down they must "jailbreak" it to make it more useful.
        >
        > You're mistaking opinion for fact.

        Well? Can it play my DNLA shares? My AFS shares? My SMB shares? My BD rips? My DVD rips? My cable TV recordings? My OTA recordings? Grandmas vacation video?

        It's good that the ATV is cheap because you need another box to handle what it won't.

    • by westlake (615356)

      Tragic, of course, that people would buy something so crippled and locked down they must "jailbreak" it to make it more useful.

      The iOS device - like the PS3 or Wii - is pefectly tuned for success in its core markets - and there the jailbreak doesn't happen because no one gives a damn about the OtherOS - or whatever else it is that the geek is pining for.

      Unless, of course, that what the geek is pining for is a free copy of Fallout: New Vegas or the Blu-Ray screener of Iron Man 3.

      The geek buys into the walle

      • by Microlith (54737) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @01:00PM (#33724482)

        The iOS device - like the PS3 or Wii - is pefectly tuned for success in its core markets

        The iOS device is not tuned like the PS3 or Wii, Apple is directly targeting iOS devices for general purpose mobile computing and home computing.

        and there the jailbreak doesn't happen because no one gives a damn about the OtherOS - or whatever else it is that the geek is pining for.

        Indeed, but this does not justify heavy lock down.

        Unless, of course, that what the geek is pining for is a free copy of Fallout: New Vegas or the Blu-Ray screener of Iron Man 3.

        You insult everyone who appreciates not having lock down, and everyone who has argued against DRM with that bullshit pro-MPAA/pro-RIAA style argument.

    • Personally I would like to see someone make it a MythTV frontend. To build your own frontend with similar specs would run into the hundreds of dollars and wouldn't be this small.
    • I have a friend who thinks just like you do, and I will offer two rebuttals:

      1. A lot of products are more useful if you use them not as intended. It doesn't mean the original use case is worthless, just that it can be made more worthwhile. I'm not supposed to use bittorrent to download copyrighted materials, doesn't mean it's worthless for distributing linux distros.

      2. "Unofficial" uses give manufactures protection against legal attacks. Sure, giving an Apple product access to the App store isn't exactly st

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Sure! You could buy a pay-per-view box from your cable provider. Oh, wait....

  • I knew this thing was going to be a cool hacking toy.
    • I knew this thing was going to be a cool hacking toy.
      --
      Have you ever tried simply turning off the TV, sitting down with your children and hitting them?

      To hit your kids nowadays, you need to turn on the TV and put a fighting game into your console. Hacking gets the emulator to run so that you can play the fighting game.

  • Honest question (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @12:20PM (#33723772) Homepage

    Does it bother anyone else that Apple products are so quickly hacked? I don't mean from a security standpoint, I mean because people feel the need to hack them so they can do what they want.

    Doesn't that mean they should just buy something that isn't so limited in the first place? Or is this one of those "we buy a locked device because we want to hack it" sort of things...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by js3 (319268)

      Hackers target the audience, and that means whatever is popular. Apple is popular so it gets hacked earlier. Bragging rights etc

      • Re:Honest question (Score:4, Insightful)

        by mini me (132455) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @12:30PM (#33723936)

        Apache is popular, but IIS gets hacked earlier.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by VGPowerlord (621254)

        Hackers target the audience, and that means whatever is popular. Apple is popular so it gets hacked earlier. Bragging rights etc

        This logic falls down when you consider the PS3 is/was fairly popular and yet took 4 years to hack.

        • by PRMan (959735)
          Actually, no. Have you seen PS3 sales charts? Everybody I know that has one only bought it to watch Blu-Ray.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by EnglishTim (9662)

            Worldwide sales:

            PS3 ~ 38 million units
            Xbox 360 ~ 41 million units
            iPhone ~ 51 million units
            Wii ~ 71 million units

            The iPhone only has a third more sales than the PS3.

    • by al0ha (1262684)
      >> we buy a locked device because we want to hack

      Pretty close, but more along the lines of we buy a locked device because it is a challenge
      • by slim (1652)

        Pretty close, but more along the lines of we buy a locked device because it is a challenge

        That explains the hackers who crack the system in the first place.

        It doesn't explain the hordes who go "now it's been hacked, I'll buy one".

    • by slim (1652)

      Does it bother anyone else that Apple products are so quickly hacked? I don't mean from a security standpoint, I mean because people feel the need to hack them so they can do what they want.

      Doesn't that mean they should just buy something that isn't so limited in the first place? Or is this one of those "we buy a locked device because we want to hack it" sort of things...

      Two angles on this. I had a colleague a while ago who chipped Playstations, and had hundreds of pirated games on CDR. He never played any of them: he just got satisfaction from getting one over on The Man, I suppose.

      The other angle is that sometimes -- maybe not in the case of Apple TV -- but sometimes, the closed platform is cheaper to buy than the equivalent open system. I use a chipped Xbox as a video player, because it would cost me much more (either money or time/effort) to buy/build something similar

      • I use a chipped Xbox as a video player, because it would cost me much more (either money or time/effort) to buy/build something similar with TV out.

        That might have been more convincing before 2007, or for lower-income families that replace broken TVs with thrift-store specials. But since 2007, virtually all new TVs that I've seen in Walmart* and Best Buy stores have had PC inputs, both VGA (for a PC's VGA out) and HDMI (for a PC's DVI-D out). Your complaint might be that apart from Acer's Aspire Revo and Apple's Mac mini, small-form-factor PCs aren't often sold in big-box PC stores or local PC stores.

        • by slim (1652)

          My reasonably new Toshiba TV has a VGA in, alright -- but I can't persuade my Dell laptop to give it a signal that'll fill the screen with no overscan and no aspect ratio distortion.

          So the component video from the Xbox is far preferable.

          Yeah if I put Linux on I could mess about with X modelines, but life's too short, and the Xbox just works.

          Yeah, a new PC would have HDMI, but it wouldn't be cheaper than a Xbox, would it? (Talking an Xbox here, not a 360)

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        What is this TV out you speak of? Here in 2010 we plug into the TV via VGA or DVI or HDMI. Just about every computer has one of those outputs.

    • by Terrasque (796014)

      they can be cool, AND they can actually make it do something useful. Win-win ;)

    • by tepples (727027)

      Doesn't that mean they should just buy something that isn't so limited in the first place?

      What set-top media player is not locked? Next to nobody has a home theater PC if other people's comments [slashdot.org] are to be believed.

      • by fyngyrz (762201)

        I use a Mac Mini [flickr.com] in my home theater [flickr.com].

        Apple TV is as close to having a direct channel from your bank account to Apple as anything I've seen yet. But a full on computer lets you watch all manner of free stuff. I don't see the appeal of Apple TV at all.

        • by tepples (727027)

          I use a Mac Mini in my home theater

          For the price of a Mac mini for one TV, I could buy appliances for six TVs.

          a full on computer lets you watch all manner of free stuff.

          Consumers in the United States tend not to assess the total cost of ownership; instead, they get sticker shock at the $599 price tag of a Mac mini compared to the appliances in the next aisle. Best Buy stores don't even carry Mac mini. Besides, consumers ask "what free stuff?" If you want to watch notable feature films made since 1923, it's still $9/mo for Netflix no matter whether you use it with a Mac mini or with an appliance.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by vwjeff (709903)
      A small percentage of users will hack their device. Apple knows this and has procedures in place for denying support for modified devices. Ultimately this is free R&D for Apple. Let the hackers see what the device can do and include that capability in a future release.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Does it bother anyone else that Apple products are so quickly hacked? I don't mean from a security standpoint, I mean because people feel the need to hack them so they can do what they want.

      Doesn't that mean they should just buy something that isn't so limited in the first place? Or is this one of those "we buy a locked device because we want to hack it" sort of things...

      Frankly, the "security" standpoint is the only one that bothers me.

      I suppose jailbreakers who buy Apple stuff fall into three categories

      1. People who think that the jailbroken device meets their needs better than alternatives, even though those don't require jailbreaking
      2. People who jailbreak because they enjoy a challenge, want to "stick it to the Man", or are just curious
      3. People who didn't do their research, bought the product, and only afterward realized that the product didn't meet their needs withou

      • by kuzb (724081)
        4. People who don't want to pay for any app. I think this is the biggest lure.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Sort of like installing Tomato on Linksys routers? Oh, wait, we like that.
      • by mlts (1038732) *

        Big difference. Linksys does not care what you install on their routers. In fact, they sell some with larger flash space just for OSS based firmware distributions.

        Apple does care, and takes active steps to patch JBs.

    • Re:Honest question (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @12:48PM (#33724214)

      Does it bother anyone else that Apple products are so quickly hacked? I don't mean from a security standpoint, I mean because people feel the need to hack them so they can do what they want.

      Doesn't that mean they should just buy something that isn't so limited in the first place? Or is this one of those "we buy a locked device because we want to hack it" sort of things...

      The AppleTV isn't "limited" to most people out there, only to geeks who poo-poo any devices that do anything less than their custom Linux HTPC. I've said this before: Apple doesn't implement features unless it can make them easy to use and understand and nicely designed. They don't start with a feature list and then make crappy implementations of them so they can add a bullet point to the list. They also look forward not backward and simplify where possible (eg. mandating use of h.264 instead of divx and hundreds of other formats.) If you find this approach philosophically abhorrent then use something else please and accept there are those of us that like it that way.

      I don't think that's the reason people hack them anyway, they hack them because they can and for bragging rights.

      • eg. mandating use of h.264 instead of divx and hundreds of other formats

        Also known as forcing new purchases, or taking a hit to quality from conversion.

        Apple doesn't implement features unless it can make them easy to use and understand and nicely designed.

        I don't like how moving files in OSX via UI requires two finder views open. Or how you can't put folders on top by sorting. Or blah blah, a million things. They don't think these things through, they do them the way Steve wants.

        • Also known as forcing new purchases, or taking a hit to quality from conversion.

          That's bull. H.264 is the standard these days, except for pirate content or patent encumbered formats like MS' video formats. I can rip my DVD's into H264 quite handily without noticeable loss of quality.

          I don't like how moving files in OSX via UI requires two finder views open. Or how you can't put folders on top by sorting. Or blah blah, a million things. They don't think these things through, they do them the way Steve wants.

          All platforms have issues, it just happens that OSX is for me the best choice available. It's not perfect, just the best fit. You can strive for perfection but if you can't accept anything less than perfection you will lead a very unhappy life. And some of these things are subjective, like the man said: "Yo

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kuzb (724081)

      Actually, it bothers me from both standpoints.

      It bothers me that the device has to be hacked to do what people want, and it bothers me that they're insecure enough that they can be jailbroken and forced to run arbitrary code with as little as a webpage view (ala jailbreakme.com).

      Because people want to use these devices to do whatever they want, enormous effort is spent on jailbreaking them. This means that people with potential malicious intent could start exploiting the holes to do very bad things.

      • by Yvan256 (722131)

        It bothers me that the device has to be hacked to do what hackers want

        FTFY. Seriously, people who read Slashdot are not regular people. We usually expect more, though some of us can still buy things understanding their limitations. I didn't buy a Mac mini thinking I could run Starcraft II on Ultra video settings and I didn't buy a Wii thinking I could play Halo Reach.

        • by tepples (727027)

          I didn't buy a Mac mini thinking I could run Starcraft II on Ultra video settings and I didn't buy a Wii thinking I could play Halo Reach.

          What set-top device should I buy thinking I can develop and distribute my own video games for it?

    • by DannyO152 (544940)

      No, it doesn't bother me. Apple has been in two businesses in recent times. They make computers and they use their interface, operating system, and hardware experience in order to make specialized consumer devices that are adapted computers. Apple does not operate in a vacuum and Apple, like everyone else, prefers to sell things profitably which may lead to other profitable sales. As a result, license and contract terms and their own understanding of their business model mean some entertainment formats or s

    • by Hellasboy (120979)

      They're hacked quickly because of 2 reasons. They're really popular (ego) and have capabilities suppressed on purpose (do more with them). It doesn't bother me that they're so quickly hacked - it's more of an annoyance to the people who fall into 1 of those 2 reasons and doesn't really effect those who don't.
      So yeah, I agree with you.

      But look at it on the flipside. SE's X10 is looking damn near impossible to hack and the need is there. To paraphrase your question; Does it bother anyone else that SE's X10 is

    • by ebuck (585470)

      Hack a Dell and nobody cares. Dell gets less than 1% of the news articles, I'll bet.

      Hack an Apple, and you're already feeding into the just under 20% of the daily news articles. If you want to make a name for yourself, Apple is the way to go. If you do it for fun, odds are you won't be heard until you're working on an Apple product.

    • by mlts (1038732) *

      I'd say they are pretty tough to hack. The iPhone 4 took almost 2 months to JB, even with the Dev Team having betas of the OS. Nobody else came close with a method to do this. 4.1 is still secure and most likely it won't be jailbroken until 4.2 comes out at the earliest.

      So, Apple is getting their devices pretty well locked down as time goes on.

    • Does it bother anyone else that Apple products are so quickly hacked?

      Not especially as it means that Apple really isn't worried that much about people hacking them. I'm sure they could make it much harder to hack if they really wanted to.

  • So what? (Score:3, Informative)

    by daveschroeder (516195) * on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @12:21PM (#33723776)

    It's only "already jailbroken" because the same iOS 4.1 issue used with the iOS 4.1 jailbreak that has already been developed works on this device, which is also running iOS 4.1.

    • by Abcd1234 (188840)

      It's only "already jailbroken" because the same iOS 4.1 issue used with the iOS 4.1 jailbreak that has already been developed works on this device, which is also running iOS 4.1.

      Not quite. The jailbreak currently being worked on is actually based on a bootloader hole. So this thing is already jailbroken presumably because it uses the same firmware as the iPhone, iPad, and Touch.

  • i have it set up with the photo screen saver and when local sources are offline it displays a black screen with small white text in the middle explaining the source is not available.
  • like how will it handle the photo screen saver if your local machines are offline

    Sigh, how do people this stupid even function? Yes that's right, the Apple TV has no storage whatsoever just because they removed the hard drive. Flash memory doesn't exist, certainly it's never been used before in an iOS device. I've seen similar bleatings all over the internet "BUT NETWORKS AREN'T FAST ENOUGH TO STREAM VIDEO SMOOTHLY WITHOUT A BUFFER, OMG APPLETV FAIL". Kill me now.

  • by dwightk (415372) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @01:09PM (#33724646) Homepage Journal

    How much space is there for installing apps?

  • by adisakp (705706) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @01:10PM (#33724670) Journal
    If you really want full control and open source, why not just get a cheap NetTop ? I just got a barebones dual core Atom 330 (looks like 4 threads) with NVidia ION GPU for $159 at NewEgg. It have DVI out, HDMI out, SATA, expandable memory, USB2.0, 802.11n (miniPCIe), etc. Fully configurable and very compact. If you get an AppleTV, you aren't going to get storage or tune / record capability (which you can do with a cheap USB tuner on a nettop).
  • DivX? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Yvan256 (722131)

    What next, RealMedia and VQF support?

    There's basically zero legal sources for DivX files, so why would Apple support that old format? H.264/AAC is the standard and has been for a few years already.

    Even Handbrake dropped DivX support, for crying out loud.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TrancePhreak (576593)
      Blizzard released some things in DivX. There may have been others.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by tweak13 (1171627)
      So when I ripped a good portion of my DVD collection to Xvid awhile back, that was illegal? I sure as hell don't think so.

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