Hi guys! I want to talk a little bit about using Boxee on the AppleTV.
- stream your movies, TV shows, music and photos to your AppleTV from computers in your home – no more storage limitations!
- supports tons of formats (.avi, .vob, .mpg, and many others that AppleTV “doesn’t support”)
- enjoy bunches and bunches of internet content (Hulu, Netflix, CBS, Comedy Central, Last.fm, Flickr and more)
There are two steps to getting all of this up and running on your AppleTV. The first step is to install Boxee on your AppleTV. The second step is to configure your Mac to stream the files you want to your Boxee-enabled AppleTV. The whole process might take an afternoon, or at least an hour or so if you’re very experienced with Macs and nothing goes wrong (it went wrong for me, so don’t feel bad – it took me 4 tries and almost a full day to get it going, which is why I’m writing this article in hopes that it goes smoother for you!)
Step 1. Install Boxee on AppleTV
- You need a USB thumb drive. Unfortunately not all of them are going to work. The minimum required size is 512MB, although I have heard that most new large-capacity thumb drives (2GB or larger) will not work. In some cases I’ve heard that a 1 GB SD card plugged into a USB card reader works. 1GB Kingston or Sandisk drives work good. If the drive you tried does not work, try another one. NOTE: all data on the thumb drive will be erased so make sure there’s nothing you need on there!
- Download the atvusb-creator here – http://code.google.com/p/atvusb-creator/downloads/list (when I wrote this tutorial the file you wanted is called atvusb-creator-1.0.b10.zip. It may change when you read this, but just make sure to grab the latest package for MacOS X)
- Eject and unplug ALL USB DRIVES – this is important because the atvusb-creator will ask you which drive to format and you do not want to choose the wrong one!
- Insert the USB thumb drive and open the atvusb-creator application.
- Change the installation type to ATV-Patchstick and select the Boxee for Mac option (from the popup menu that has the green check and “ssh tools” selected by default).
- Select the USB target device – if your thumb drive is the only USB drive mounted it should be the only option. You really, really want to be sure your selecting the right drive because you will be completely formatting this USB drive!
- You can select the Choose a DMG button if you have downloaded the AppleTV update image already. Otherwise the application will download it for you. The file is 2Z694-5428-3.dmg.
- Click on the “Create Using ->” button to begin the process. If you need to download the update image it will take a some time to finish, especially if you have a slow internet connection. Also, writing the image to the USB will take some time. Grab a snack or do some cartwheels or something.
- Once the application is done making your patchstick, you need to unplug your AppleTV (just the little white power cord) and plug in your USB thumb drive. Then, plug the AppleTV back in and watch the fun.
- If all goes well, you will see a bunch of text scroll past your screen. Don’t be alarmed, this is normal, and should look something like this:
- When the patchstick is done, unplug the USB thumb drive, pull the plug on your AppleTV and plug it back in again. You’ll know when the patchstick is done because the text will stop scrolling and you should even see a message at the bottom letting you know it’s complete. This process should only take a minute or 2, not very long.
- Now your AppleTV will boot up as it normally does, but when it’s finished you will see two new options: Boxee and XBMC. I have not played around with XBMC, so for now we will ignore that and just do the Boxee stuff. Select Boxee and install the Alpha. YOU’RE DONE WITH STEP ONE!
That wasn’t so hard was it? Now onto the fun part.
Step 2. Setting Up and Using Boxee
- Set up an account on the Boxee home page. Here is the link: http://www.boxee.tv/index.php?join
- Login on your AppleTV by clicking the Boxee app and keying in your username/password
- You should now see the Boxee interface. Push Left on your remote and the sidebar should open. Scroll down to Options and select Appearance, then find the Video Calibration settings and configure the application to look good on your TV screen.
- Now, Boxee is only programmed to work under Windows networks (WINS, Workgroups, etc). Fortunately for us Mac users this is not an issue. Simply go to System Preferences, click on the Network pane, and in the lower-right corner click the Advanced… button.
- Click the WINS tab in the resulting sheet window and give yourself a NetBIOS name and a workgroup name. I used these settings:
- Finally, go back to your main System Preferences window and open the Sharing pane. Be sure File Sharing is ON, and under the Shared Folders list add the folders/drives you want to be able to see from your AppleTV.
- Finally, click on Options… in the lower-right hand corner and be sure that “Share files and folders using SMB” is checked.
- Repeat these networking setup steps on all other computers you plan to share media from, and then get comfy in front of your AppleTV. You’re almost done!
- Bring up the left-hand menu again on your AppleTV and select the Video option at the top. Move down to the bottom option called Sources. Finally, click on Network. You should see WORKGROUP appear, or whatever the name of your Workgroup is. Click on this and viola! You can now watch all of your media streaming from your computer right on AppleTV.
- Boxee can do other cool things, and I would recommend visiting their website blog.boxee.tv to learn more.
Congratulations! You have just turned your AppleTV into a whole new beast. Now go get busy watching all your favorite shows!!! 😀