ATV Bootloader Adds XBMC & Boxee Functionality to Apple TV

atv usb creator configuration screenshot

Big news today for all the Apple product hack lovers. Andrew Kippen at Stage Two Consulting (Boxee’s marketing partner) has tipped me off that as of this morning ATV Bootloader has added the XBMC and Boxee plugin to ATV USB Creator. So what does this mean to the average joe? Andrew says: “AppleTV 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,, and more.  Before the end of the year you’ll be watching Hulu via your AppleTV…” It should be mentioned that all these new fantastic capabilities will not be enabled through the Apple TV interface, but via separate platforms. In essence, you’ll be launching OS X ports of XBMC / Boxee as stand alone applications from a USB flash drive (see attached video demos below to see them in action).



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

Step 1 – Download the ATVUSB-Creator from (NEW URL!)
- this is a different link than the Bootloader (
- this ATVUSB-Creator site will go live at 8am ET Wednesday morning (10/1/2008).
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.

– Instructions provided by Andrew Kippen at Stage Two Consulting

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Filed in: Software, Streaming Media Devices

  • Andreas

    FYI; both XBMC and Boxee run nativly on Apple TV as Mac OS X applications. This is not running Linux on the Apple TV, it really is native Mac OS X applications (Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger to be precise).

  • Alexander Grundner

    Correction made. Thanks for the clarification.

  • Michael

    So, if XBMC and Boxee can be run natively on the Apple TV what is an advantage of ATV Bootloader approach? IMHO it’d be more useful to simulation PXE boot, for example, to use Apple TV/Mac Mini as media client for LinuxMCE :)

  • GregW

    I’m going to try this! I wonder if it’s possible to revert back to normal, though.

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  • wimbers

    is it also possible to have boxee run as the default app on startup?

  • chrisw

    The apple tv is always on. Like TIVO. I guess it sleeps but if you just leave in boxee or xbmc it will stay there when you turn your tv off/on.

  • Cris

    Thanks for doing this.

    I used this and chose “ATV-Bootloader”, I’m trying to make a linux install. No AppleTV. The linux (Ubuntu 8.04) install take forever (runs out of memory?). What would you recommend for the next steps for attempting a linux install after creating the ATV-Bootloader and booting up?