Apple TV will play any type of content you want. ISO, CUE, BIN, MKV, AVI, OGG, whatever format, codec, container you want. It will also be able to access most streaming media from places like CNN, BBC, CNET, Rev3, Last.fm, and more. Before the end of the year you’ll be watching Hulu via your AppleTV…

How?

…with a social media center called Boxee. Scott Davilla, head of the ATV bootloader project this morning announced that he’s hacked the AppleTV and made it possible to install both XBMC and Boxee onto your AppleTV via a simple USB flash drive. You can find out more about XBMC here (http://www.xbmc.org) but it was originally an open source hack for the Xbox to turn it into a media center back in 2002. Boxee is based off of the XBMC code and aims to bring social networking features and streaming content to the platform as well as a more visual and intuitive interface.

Boxee is still in an invite-only Alpha. The developers promise to do their best to accommodate MacDailyNews readers and get them invites as quickly as possible, but they’d also like to encourage users to share invites with each other. Alpha users can invite other users by logging into http://www.boxee.tv and then using the “email boxee to a friend” box on the left side of the page. This will also automatically make them friends, enabling them to share information about what they’re watching and/or listening to with each other.

The process for updating an AppleTV with boxee/XBMC the steps are as follows:

Step 1 – Download the ATVUSB-Creator from http://code.google.com/p/atvusb-creator/ (NEW URL!)
– this is a different link than the Bootloader (http://code.google.com/p/atv-bootloader/)
– this ATVUSB-Creator site will go live at 8am ET Wednesday morning.
Step 2 – Insert a “bootable” USB drive into your Mac
Step 3 – Run the ATVUSB-Creator
– select which plug-ins you’d like to install
– this list will grow over time, but currently includes SSH, boxee, XBMC, and some binary utilities
Step 4 – Remove the USB drive and plug it into your AppleTV
Step 5 – Power on your AppleTV and the patchstick will run the ATV bootloader
– previously the patchstick program was unavailable
– people had to manually format their USB drive to be bootable and install the ATV bootloader.
Step 6 – After the bootloader finishes, remove it from your AppleTV
Step 7 – Restart your AppleTV
Step 8 – It now has options for Boxee / Xbmc on the main menu
Step 9 – Click on boxee, then select update (this will download boxee from the Internet)
Step 10 – Once boxee is done installing, restart your AppleTV
Step 11 – Click “boxee”, then select “boxee” in the sub-menu to start boxee.

Boxee in action:

http://blip.tv/file/1194588

More info here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Andrew” for the heads up.]