Whats this XBMC for Mac running on the AppleTV?

Posted By: Team XBMC on Oct 01, 2008 in Site News

Yes sir, that’s correct. XBMC for Mac runs on the AppleTV and get this, it’s under the native AppleTV OS that you can launch right from FrontRow. Pretty cool. I do have give great thanks to Stephan Diederich for his absolutely brilliant work on the AppleTV plugin XBMC Launcher with install/update capabilities.

XBMC Launcher was one part of the puzzle, the other part was something that I’ve been working on and off for several months and that part was ATVUSB-Creator. This utility lets one easily create a USB flash drive of the special flavor that the AppleTV requires for USB booting. Couple that with ATV-Bootloader ( another creation of mine) and presto, a python/QT4 application that runs under OSX/Linux/Windows (only OSX right now) which is a GUI driven AppleTV patchstick creator. And 100 percent legal too.

The third part was enabling XBMC for Mac to run on OSX 10.4 as well as 10.5. This turned out to be pretty simple too because I am also an Apple Select Developer who has used XCode since the beginning of time. and Most of the time was spent getting the internal/external libs building correctly and documenting the build process.

So now you can enjoy XBMC for Mac on all three Apple flavors, 10.5, 10.4 and the AppleTV.

Installing XBMC for Mac is an easy three step operation;

1) Use ATVUSB-Creator to create a USB flash drive (remember to select XBMC for Mac)

2) Boot the AppleTV using this USB flash drive and it will automatically install the selected items

3) ReBoot the AppleTV and now there is an XBMC menu entry, select update and pick beta1 and let it install.

Select XBMC from the right hand menu, it will launch XBMC for Mac and enjoy.

Discussion - 20 Comments

  • Gamester17 Oct 01, 2008 

    XBMC for Mac on Apple TV HOW-TO installation guide:

    and the XBMC Community Forum for support/help:

    Thanks Scott!

  • Matt Oct 01, 2008 

    Great job!

    Some questions:

    1) can the apple tv play 1080p content output at 720p resolution? (say video is encoded as h.264 @ 8 Mbps with AC3 audio in an MKV container)
    2) can you have the Apple TV boot directly into XBMC without going into Front Row?
    3) can you run XBMC from the USB drive without modifying your Apple TV?


  • davilla Oct 01, 2008 

    1) If you are running an HDMI video connection and a 2.x version, yes. 8Mbps h.264, maybe if low profile.

    2) Yes but you need a special app that prevents a watchdog processes from rebooting the AppleTV thinking FrontRow has died.

    3) Yes, XBMC Live can run but needs GPT formatted partitions. ATVUSB-Creator will be abled to makes these soon. Until then see the atv-bootloader project on googlecode.

  • hazeh Oct 03, 2008 

    Great work davilla

  • nome Oct 03, 2008 

    I would love this if I can play downloaded MKV’s
    so which types of MKV’s do work?

  • Gamester17 Oct 03, 2008 

    Video about XBMC on Apple TV by Scott Davilla himself:


    [blip.tv ?posts_id=1321974&dest=-1]

  • NotAPro Oct 04, 2008 

    Two Questions from a newbie to AppleTV (I only got it to run XBMC)

    1. What’s the expected release date for the Windows version?
    2. You mention a special app to have the aTV boot directly into XBMC. What is the app, where can I get it and how do I install it.

  • davilla Oct 04, 2008 

    5) -> currently low profile mkv seems to play fine

    6) -> within a week or so, the app does not exist yet but I know what needs to be done. Linux and Windows flavors of atvusb-creator come first.;)

  • pete01 Oct 05, 2008 

    Yes, excellent work.

    I hope the other platforms of the atv-creator are completed soon as well! :)

  • nome Oct 06, 2008 

    8) what do you mean with low profile mkv?

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  • JerkyChew Oct 06, 2008 

    Davilla, between this and your work with MythTV, you’re an animal! Keep up the awesome work!

  • Paul Oct 06, 2008 

    Very excited to try this out… but I’m already running FW 2.2 on my Apple TV. Any guesses on when the latest firmware will be supported?

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  • Espen Oct 07, 2008 

    Paul, I just installed Boxee (which I think is based on XBMC) with FW 2.2 and it kind of works. But it’s much slower than it was with FW 2.1

    Can’t wait for the next version.

  • Su Wang Oct 08, 2008 

    Hope to only have XBMC or a changeable server site in the NEW AppleTV. Can you add this function in the USBcreator.

  • Gringott Oct 11, 2008 

    Great stuff. After having used various “hacked” patchsticks that were dodgy to say the least; Davilla comes through with this wonderstick. Thank you for all your work. This is how a patchstick should work. I am running it on FW 2.2, using XBMC, I haven’t tried Boxee as I don’t have a login yet. Anyway, thanks for the great work.

  • J Michael Pinc Oct 13, 2008 

    Thank you very much for this! Your timing couldn’t be better! I was very disappointed when the ATv 2.2 update came and wiped out all my ATv files functionality, but XBMC made the whole thing better than before the update. Again, major thanks.

  • Hobart George Oct 18, 2008 

    This is totally awesome! I’ve been looking into getting a media PC to upgrade my xbox (running xbmc of course) for ages but the cost was prohibative and i hated windows media centre. I resolved to wait until xbmc was available as a complete linux distrobution until reading this.

    One question, will xbmc running on a 40gb Apple TV be capable of playing h.264 @ 1080p?

  • davilla Oct 18, 2008 

    I assume you really mean decoding h.264 at 1080p and not just displaying at 1080p. Decoding h.264 @ 1080p is way too much for the cpu in the AppleTV to handle. A MacMini is much better for 1080p h.264 video content.

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