General Question

warpling's avatar

Files —> tv?

Asked by warpling (849points) February 21st, 2009

So, the apple tv: when I first bought it I was excited by the prospect of throwing files up to my tv, maybe finding a linux implement somewhere down the line to stream my computer screen to the tv, streaming movies to, etc. I’ve been quite disappointed, especially as part of a family of people and their own macs. There is no solution to Syncing multiple accounts all with their own music and photos (even though I see many ways to do this). Next is the issue where, I wanted to be able to rip a DVD, copy the files over, and watch them on my tv and be able to call them up in a DVR fashion. I can almost do this, but not really.

In my situation I have to go to my dad’s computer, copy the large files over by some means (after converting them to m4v). Then I have to sync them to the tv, and if I delete them from the computer and sync they are deleted from the tv.

I’ve tried installing boxee, which is great, but too hard to use with the inept IR remote (see Why does the tv remote suck so much) and to switch between systems. My question is, how can I (with all the tools that get loaded after hacking the tv) ssh in, see a directory of somesort, drop in files and watch them. Is there a way, even if they have to still be converted to m4v I’d love anyone with any clue or ideas so my large media center is not a useless white box.
Thank you and sorry for the short novel!

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11 Answers

TaoSan's avatar

Try XBMC Media Center for Apple.

It’s a media center you can navigate with the Apple remote very easily, pretty too.

Install Perian on your ATV.

Using FTP, access AppleTV.local create a directory of your liking.

FTP your movies in there, with Perian, you can even use high-res *.mkv

In the XBMC settings, add the directory to your “Sources”.

Woops, all you need to do in the future is FTP your movies to that directory.

This is a screenshot of the menu.

anonyjelly16's avatar

As @TaoSan said, XBMC is a great way to go.

I like Boxee because it is pretty easy to install and includes XBMC. The nice thing about Boxee is that in addition to files that you can play off your network drive, you can also get streaming video from other (internet) sources such as CNN, Comedy Central, etc. on there. (They had but it’s been taken off recently—I do expect it to be back).

So, basically, Boxee was the best thing I ever found for my AppleTV. The downside however is that you have to wait to receive a Beta Invitation. Not sure what the usual wait time is right now.

Hope this helps.

warpling's avatar

@TaoSan Thank you so much. That sounds perfect! I will try it as soon as I can, and hearing that I can use mkv is great.
@atharkhan I have Installed Boxee so I do have XBMC, but did not know I could use it like that. And I love that boxee had hulu, so I’m sad to hear it’s gone. If you need an invite let me know!
Thanks again!

warpling's avatar

@TaoSan Is there a way to speed up my local sftp connection? Right now I’m uploading 350mb @ around 100k >_<

TaoSan's avatar


Hard to say, could be anything router, sluggish client.

What do you use, hardware and software – wise?

Oh wait, you said sftp, are you going in via Terminal??? If you use terminal try using a standard FTP client like Cyberduck or Transmit.

warpling's avatar

I am using cyberduck over sftp. I’m going from MacBook > TimeCapsule > AppleTv. Would port forwarding or anything help speed this up? Can I copy files from a flash dive to XBMC

TaoSan's avatar


the proper address is


Now, since you mentioned you’re familiar with *.mkv, I take it you have Transmission or BitTorrent running, yes?

To isolate the problem, you’d first have to shut down all other network traffic. Make sure everything is off. It’s always a good idea to restart the TimeCapsule, just to be sure your routing tables aren’t overflowing.

Basically, shut everything off physically, the restart clean, and make sure nothing is running in the background, we’ll then go from there. Other than that, are you logged in frontrow/frontrow ?

warpling's avatar

I was connecting sftp://AppleTV.local
I’ll regular ‘ol ftp.
I did not have bit torrent running when I was copying files over, but I’ll try restarting everything. Thanks!

warpling's avatar

connection attempt to ftp://AppleTV.local:21 failed :/

warpling's avatar

Currently copying files at around 120kb, I can’t plug in a USB stick and copy over from that? I’ll try it this afternoon when I get home.

TaoSan's avatar

oy that’s weird.

I’ll play around a bit with it this afternoon. I got a TimeCapsule too and usually have a transfer rate of about 4MB/s using Cyperduck.

Weird, really

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