Xvid fully functional on Apple TV

Apple Store“We just got xvid working on the Apple TV,” Awkward reports over in The Something Awful Forums.

“Hey, Sabretooth and I just officially got xvid/everything else supported by Perian working on the Apple TV,” Awkward reports.

Awkward reports, “We’re doing a writeup, but the short of it is…

1. Open it up (4 screws on the bottom, small Torx bit)
2. Put the 2.5″ drive into a USB enclosure or whatever you want
3. Mount the HFS filesystem
4. Install Perian in /Library/Quicktime (as you normally would)
5. Install Dropbear (or enable SSH if you know how… we gave up and used Dropbear)
6. Add a startup script to disable the firewall or open up the ports you need for SSH
7. Put the drive back in and boot it, ssh login as frontrow, password frontrow (or add an ssh key for yourself)
8. Use a reference movie (use QT Pro to save a reference movie) to bootstrap your xvid file


A writeup is promised for later today.

Full forum discussion here.

MacDailyNews Note: Xvid is a video codec for PC, whereas codec is an abbreviation for [co]der/[dec]oder, hence describes a program to encode and decode digital video. The purpose of encoding video data is to reduce redundancies – that means to make it smaller for faster transmission over computer networks or for more efficient storage on computer disks. More info: http://www.xvid.org/

Related articles:
Apple TV does not require Widescreen TV or HDTV, works with standard TVs – March 23, 2007
CBS looks at Apple TV on ‘The Early Show’ (with video) – March 23, 2007
Scoble: ‘Apple TV rocks’ – March 23, 2007
Apple TV hard drive upgrade works – March 23, 2007
Apple TV dissection photos – March 22, 2007
Apple posts Apple TV User’s Guide online – March 22, 2007
Enderle: ‘Apple’s attractive and well packaged Apple TV likely to set the pace’ – March 22, 2007
David Pogue demos Apple TV in humorous NY Times’ video – March 22, 2007
PC Magazine review gives Apple TV 4 out of 5 stars – March 22, 2007
NY Times’ Pogue: ‘Apple TV offers a gracious, elegant, effortless, delightful experience’ – March 21, 2007
Mossberg hands-on with Apple TV: ‘beautiful design, easy-to-use, classic Apple: simple and elegant’ – March 21, 2007


  1. Wow! It’s that simple?! Why, that’s as easy as neurosurgery, or quantum physics! A child could do it (provided the child’s a superhuman prodigy)! I’m running out and buying an AppleTV today!


  2. I’m just glad to see the hacks come rolling in…
    That’s one of the surest signs of success! Apple tightly controls the experience for the general users but the power users can still find ways to beef up the unit!!

  3. theres an easier way to do this. All you need is quicktime pro, then just download the divx plug in for apple. Open your avi file in quicktime, then just select export and there will be a selection to export to apple tv. Did it yesterday and was watching ghost rider on my projector with apple tv.

  4. “This is not sarcastic, but why bother?”

    My point exactly. I made a decision to recode all my content for iTunes/iPod and, wonder of wonders, it plays perfectly on Apple TV.

    Some people don’t want it easy, they want to be Scotty McGuyver fixing the warp core with bubblegum and spent dilithium dust KNOWING that they’re in stardock and they could just get a new crystal. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

    If I had a second Apple TV, I might be tempted to play with it, but I don’t want to be one of those who have to wonder if they should upgrade or not because their tweak might become detweaked!

  5. By Monday, my TV will be a Wii controller running Debian with a visual garage door funtion menu haxie while streaming data to a distributed computing network via Xgrid to a RAID of Mac minis. I have to say I’ve really been enjoying a high def CLI. Tetris in the terminal is gorgeous. Do I smell smoke?

  6. Let’s say I have an Xvid movie on my Mac. I open it up in QuickTime, save as a self-contained movie. Now, I may still need the above hack to install the for Perian, Flip4Mac, DivX,and whatever other codecs you may need to have installed. But at least then I can use iTunes to load the movie and I don’t need to enable SSH to transfer my movies.

    Of greater interest is: Let’s say I swap out the HD in my Apple TV with one that has a full-blown OS X load on it and I plug a keyboard and mouse into that USB port. Do I then have a Mac Mini Mini?

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