Plex Hack Runs Apple TV Without A Jailbreak

Apple has been keeping a tight leash on the third generation of their Apple TV hardware. Not only has it stood up to every attempt at a Jailbreak, but they don’t allow 3rd party applications through the app store like the other iOS hardware does. The second generation hardware was a popular platform for XBMC. It required a jailbreak to load the home media software which is why it can’t be done on the newest box. But here’s an alternative. This hack uses DNS redirects to make Apple TV 3 a Plex frontend.

Instead of putting new software on the Apple TV this uses a separate computer to intercept its web traffic. You aim your Apple TV DNS at the computer running the script, then use the native Movie Trailer app, which will be populated with movies and TV shows from your Plex backend. All other functionality will be retained, making for a near-perfect solution. For more info on the system check out this forum.

[via Gigaom via Reddit]

28 thoughts on “Plex Hack Runs Apple TV Without A Jailbreak

  1. Uhm, I have to put a pc to feed this device, why don’t I just connect the pc to the tv? I throw a small foxconn pc to the back of our tv’s in our conference rooms and my home and I am done.

    1. It might end up useful to do this if you have multiple apple tv devices in the house. If you control the DHCP settings (or use static settings) then you could use these guys as long range clients for the pc to use.

    2. So let me get this straight.
      You want me to take my 12u rackmount file server with 72 drives and 20 massive fans out of the air conditioned room in the basement, and bring it upstairs to connect to the TV, where it will proceed to drown out all the sound from said TV?

      All that work and damage simply because you can’t admit other people have a different setup to yours?

      Epic fail on your “solution” :P

      1. No not al all, because that’s what I have too… But I use a mini pc slapped to the back of the tv to view the content from the file server. And really a pissing contest about the size of your file server, lol

        1. My current front ends are a Shuttle PC, an android wase board, and lastly a rasp-pi which I’m looking to replace due to performance.
          All run xbmc mainly, but the wase board also has a plex interface, which hasn’t at all been bad.

          I just don’t see the reason for all the hate in trying new options, especially so when you don’t feel the current options being used are close to perfect.
          That includes trying an apple TV box, as they have quite a list of upsides to them, along with their downsides to work around (such as this)

        1. Probably not as much space as you think.They are most likely retired production drives in a SAN so probably 250G or less each.250 X 72 = 18T raw storage, probably around 15T usable. Then take out for Raid level, Snapshots… and by default your down to around 8T. Most home users would just use three 3T drives for this. Of course he has enough iOPS to run several servers and stream lots of data…

      2. @Dissy I know you probably got the gear when it was retired from production, but you would probably be better served by building a 2U or 4U system that utilizes higher capacity 2.5″ SATA drives rather than the lower capacity 3.5″ SAS drives. Your electric bill would probably be cut in half. There is no way you need the IOPS of your current system (though it sure looks impressive doesn’t it.) ;^)

        Not that I am any better with a 72 U rack in my ‘server room’ Filled with gear (mostly turned off unless I start doing video editing or…)

        1. You are definitely correct. It’s a retired Sun RSM disk array with a StorEdge controller fitted with SAS drives, 250gb each at 10krpm.
          It only really provides me with roughly 9tb available storage due to the raid setup for redundancy (they are fairly old drives, by HD standards anyway)

          The company was going to dispose of it, since our Sun contract expired along with Sun microsystems.
          When I first laid eyes on it I only really wanted the rack enclosure, but the others didn’t seem keen on letting me gut it and leave them with the remaining parts, and seemed much happier with me taking the whole unit off their hands.

          I don’t need the IOPS it provides by far. You’re likely right about the power bill too.
          At least it isn’t running on 3 phase anymore!

          Building a new file server has been on my todo list for a good three years now… But with only two disk failures in five years, that project tends to stay hovering towards the bottom of the list :/

  2. plex always required a server app on a backend computer. the benefit of plex is it allows one server for multiple clients and clients can be on many different platforms:iOS, Android, PC, Roku, appleTV. Additionally, most PCs have fans that are annoying when trying to watch TV or listen to music. Plex allows me to aggregate all my media and to even share my media with others across the network. in short, it kicks ass.

      1. “Better” is subjective. The Pi is cheaper (even with a case and wifi adapter), but doesn’t come with a remote which increases the cost. That said, throw an IR receiver on a GPIO pin and you can use a much more fully featured remote than the ATV2’s.

        It definitely helps to have a Rev 2 Pi though; I tried Raspbmc on the first gen board I got in the initial rush, and it never worked right. The newer board works amazingly well with the proper RAM split, and it doesn’t even have to be overclocked. The fact that I can take it to work and use composite cables to hook it up to our ancient CRT TV and either watch downloaded content via USB, or stream from my home DVR, makes it a phenomenal solution. (Before you ask, we sometimes get several hours of downtime at work, especially on weekends, and there is nothing to do but watch TV or read. My co-worker is a TV fiend so that’s what we do with our spare time).

        Still, at home I prefer the Roku to the Pi. No need to tinker, and built in support for Netflix, Plex, Crackle and the other services we use just makes it that much more awesome.

  3. been a mac user for well over 12 years now, but recently switched my phone to android since apple started winning the jailbreak war. Apple used to go on about how ‘cool’ & ‘indivdual’ they were, but now they make gear you can’t modify to suit your individual purposes. It’s sad to see such beautiful hardware not play nicely with the hacker types.

    so i think i’ll give the next apple TV a miss as well & run xbmc on a RPI. sorry steve.

    1. Couldnt agree more Mark, had an iPhone since the original and made the switch to an S4 and probably won’t look back because I can more or less do what I want.

      Have an old ATV2 thats jailbroken where I use XBMC which I prefer over plex more or less because I’m used to it.

      Regardless this hack is a start and should help a lot of people waiting (for something that probably wont happen) for an ATV jailbreak.

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