Since the US Copyright office has officially declared jailbreaking legal and FireCore has introduced aTV Flash for the new AppleTV, I decided it was time to try it myself. So I pre-ordered the aTV Flash package for just $ 19.95 and installed the beta on my black box.
aTV Flash (black) is a user-friendly software package that supercharges your new black AppleTV, unleashing a plethora of new functionality. Don’t worry about the technical details – aTV Flash (black) is simple to use and safe for your AppleTV. Installation is a snap and doesn’t require any physical changes to the AppleTV.
Source: “aTV Flasch (black)” FireCore
In order to install the software package the AppleTV has to be jailbroken. This can be done in various ways, I tried SeasOnPass which was recommended in the aTV Flash support forum. The app downloads the latest AppleTV firmware, patches it and installs the custom firmware via iTunes. A micro USB cable is needed to do the jailbreaking. Compared to previous jailbreaking procedures on the iPhone and other devices this process is quite easy. With the current version of the jailbreak the AppleTV requires a “tethered boot” which means you have to connect the AppleTV via USB during startup. I hope this will get fixed over time.
After jailbreaking the aTV Flash software can be installed over the air. It just takes a few seconds and the AppleTV is good to go. So far the software comes with apps like Last.fm, NitoTV, CouchSurfer Pro and most importantly PLEX. The main reason for me trying the aTV Flash is the connection to my PLEX Server and the advertised ability to play additional media formats such as .MKV.
It is just a alpha version but in my brief tests it works nicely already. I hope to see a quick development to empower my AppleTV to be the best media center solution I can imagine.
CouchSurfer Pro is a browser providing a rich and interactive web experience and supports HTML5. The handling of the browser with the Apple remote is not very promising. I don’t see me browsing the web on my AppleTV.
If you are interested in getting more out of your tiny black box, I can highly recommend thinking about the aTV Flash.