Print 36 comment(s) - last by macthemechanic.. on Oct 8 at 11:09 PM

Apple TV has been freed of Apple's restrictions, thanks to the hard work of the jailbreaking community.  (Source: pod2g)
The new set-top box can now support apps

Much to Apple's chagrin, the Library of Congress recently legalized jailbreaking of electronic devices in a clarification to 1998's Digital Millenium Copyright Act.  The move puts Apple in an unpleasant spot as the company has long reveled in locking its consumers out of its devices' built in functionality, and yet has proven utterly inept at developing sufficient protections to prevent firmware savvy software enthusiasts from breaking these locks. 

Apple has perpetually expressed its dismay at this state of affairs, saying that jailbreaking destroys the "magical" experience of its devices.  Apple also claims jailbreaking supports a sickening slew of crime, including terrorism, drug-dealing, and organized crime.

It didn't take long for the new Apple TV set-top box to be jailbroken.  Why the need for the jailbreak? The new, much smaller box -- which lacks a hard drive -- runs a full version of iOS (versus the modified version of OS X 10.4 or OS X 10.5 that Apple's first generation models ran).  Yet Apple has locked users out of using apps on the device.

The jailbreak uses SHAtter jailbreaking tool, developed by @pod2g.  SHAtter is a jailbreak for iOS that Apple is literally powerless to fix, as it exploits the boot ROM.  The tool can be used to trick Apple TV into removing the current iOS firmware image and installing a jailbroken image created by the Apple Dev Team's Pwnage tool.

Like the recent iPhone iOS 4.1 jailbreak, the new jailbreak is extremely impressive, given how quick its turnaround was.  The new second gen Apple TV hasn't even widely shipped yet.  Apple has been quiet about when exactly it will ship.  Initially it indicated that it would ship in September, but customers are now reporting that the ship date may have been bumped as late as October 18.  Apple may be having some supply issues, given the long shipping delay.  Apple TVs are currently available at some Apple stores, though.

Despite the promise of the jailbreak, there are some definite limitations.  While the Apple TV's Apple A4 ARM processor and 256 MB should be beefy enough for most apps, the 8 GB of flash memory doesn't leave much room for such apps.  Further, than memory is used for cache, so there's no telling how installing third party apps might muck with performance. 

The jailbreak is not widely available yet in easy to digest form, but then again neither is the Apple TV.  Video of it in action can be found here.

Despite exposing vehemence towards the jailbreaking community, Apple has begrudgingly accepted some measures pushed by jailbreakers -- such as apps on the original iPhone.  Likewise some believe that jailbreakers may force Apple to release an official App Store for the Apple TV.  In this way the jailbreak may not only benefit those who use it, but may benefit Apple TV owners in general.

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By Gungel on 10/1/2010 11:33:31 AM , Rating: 3
Why jail brake a product that most likely won't sell? There are many other media players on the market that do what they are made for and actually play all media formats, cost less and come with much better specs.

RE: Why?
By Gio6518 on 10/1/2010 11:35:45 AM , Rating: 5
Why jail brake a product that most likely won't sell?

because they can.

Apple is obviously in capable of securing their own products, no matter how hard they try.

RE: Why?
By Lerianis on 10/2/2010 5:23:58 AM , Rating: 4
ANY product that has a computer chip in it is going to be able to be 'jailbroken' at some point. They tried it with PS3: jailbroken.
They tried it with XBox360: jailbroken.

Need I keep going on? It might be time for the manufacturers to realize that people do NOT want the device manufacturers to limit their ability to do things or to back up their legally bought products with DRM (cough.... console games!). They also don't want systems to make them have to keep easily scratched discs in disc drives, when the game is ALREADY installed to the hard drive in the machine.

Until the device manufacturers realize that "The customer rules!" these things will keep on going on!

Personally, I have NEVER bought or downloaded a pirated console game that wasn't the 'last generation' or more ago and wasn't sold anymore anyway.

That is why I get pissed by being treated as a criminal by Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo by actually wanting to be able to PROTECT MY INVESTMENT.

Well, I got a little off the subject here, but this is related to the article in question a bit.

RE: Why?
By chick0n on 10/2/10, Rating: -1
RE: Why?
By Alexstarfire on 10/2/2010 8:30:57 AM , Rating: 2
True, but didn't it take them like 2-3 years to crack the PS3? Also, didn't they crack iOS 4.1, or was it 4.2, before it even came out publicly? The difference is always the length of time it takes.

RE: Why?
By Samus on 10/2/2010 5:57:25 PM , Rating: 5
Sony has always been amazingly competent with securing their game consoles. It is always a few years before you see modchips surface. They also have the advantage of being uniquely proprietary and on the bleeding edge of technology.

The PS1 was basically the first wide-spread CD-ROM game console, before most people had a CD burner. It had excellent copy protection and they constantly revised newer models (over 10 revisions were made, excluding the PSone) that made older chips incompatible.

Previous CD-ROM consoles, such as the Sega CD, had no copy protection whatsoever. The Sega Saturn had pretty good protection but a simple swap trick with good timing always got a burned copy to boot.

PS2, the first DVD console, was released with the same inherated benifits of the PS1. Nobody had a DVD burner when it was released. When DVD burners became mainstream, the Messiah modchip was released. The PS2 had 7 revisions, excluding the PStwo. They generally made older modchips incompatible, but sometimes people found alternate soldering points. It took years for decent PS2 modchips to surface.

PS3, like the PS1 and PS2, had the same distint media advantage, a BD-ROM drive. As almost nobody has had BD-R burners until recently, there was simply no demand for a modchip. The security, however, is similar to the PS2 where a negative sector (inner) data ring is used to verify the disc. No known DVD or BR burners can reproduce this ring as the laser in the PS2 and PS3 has longer actuation than normal drive lasers. Also, there is no media available that has a burnable sector in this location. So, a modchip was required to emulate this ring, which was different for DVD and CD-based games (much like the PS3 has different security for BR and DVD-based games.)

The only software hack to grace the PS2 was released as a linux bootloader a few years ago. McBoot or something like that. It took the scene seven years to finally soft-hack the PS2.

That is world-class security if you ask me. Even Sega with its proprietary GD-ROM discs didn't last a year before somebody figured out how to dump the discs to CD-ROM, as most games were <700MB or could have video's recompressed to fit. Sega was naive and thought their proprietary format would protect them, and left out even the most basic copy protection. That, I believe, killed the Dreamcast. I remember a guy in my school 10 years ago who sold DC games for $3 bucks out of his backpack. The piracy was super wide-spread.

RE: Why?
By Alexstarfire on 10/3/2010 7:19:39 AM , Rating: 1
Ummm, I think you're forgetting about Nintendo. Other than the DS, and now the Wii I believe, their consoles are practically unpirated. Of course, everything before the N64, DC, and DS era is available to emulate at will.

RE: Why?
By drumhellar on 10/3/2010 4:49:46 PM , Rating: 2
ROM copiers were extremely widespread in Asia for a long, long time, so piracy was rampant for at least NES and SNES.

I used to own a Dr. N64, which was a little box that sat on top of an N64. You could load up Zip disks with ROMS and play them.

I think the main issue with GameCube pirating was just the size of the disks. the smaller-diameter DVDs aren't very common. For a while, though, it was possible to play GC games that were stored on your computer, and loaded via serial/ethernet. This wasn't widespread, though.

I must say, I feel sorry for Sega. The copy protection was so easily bypassed. It didn't need any sort of mod, just a properly made boot CD, and later just a properly made disk image. Their reliance on a propriety disc format didn't mean anything when you could just drop the bitrate of videos and audio to make them fit on a 700MB cd. I'm sure the rampant piracy helped to cause their exit of the console market.

RE: Why?
By azcoyote on 10/1/10, Rating: 0
RE: Why?
By Gio6518 on 10/1/2010 11:45:11 AM , Rating: 2
What is out there to compete?

hmmmmmmmmmmm. on demand from cable and satellite providers, netflix and blockbuster streaming,DVD / BD rentals from store or from netflix and google tv.

you can pay a montly subscription to netflix to get discs and get free streaming.

RE: Why?
By Gungel on 10/1/2010 11:56:56 AM , Rating: 5
What "seems great" about Apple TV's hardware? can't play 1080p, no internal storage for movies, no DLNA support etc.

RE: Why?
By MGSsancho on 10/1/2010 4:44:24 PM , Rating: 2
no full MKV support (multi-track audio + multi-language subtitles) and for me I want it to be able to place not just the main profile for H164 but the high profile as well (BD uses this one)

RE: Why?
By nafhan on 10/1/2010 12:04:39 PM , Rating: 4
It's less functional and $40 more than the Roku box. That sounds like competition to me.
Many blu-ray players, all modern game consoles, and HTPC's are more expensive, but much more capable. So, I would consider them to be competitors.
Apple's iTV wins in marketing and (maybe/arguably) ease of use.

RE: Why?
By macthemechanic on 10/1/2010 11:25:49 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, what's the point. Just because we can, is not always a reason to do something. Who cares if we can or not? I've got an old toaster if anyone's interested or bored enough to try to hack it. Gawd, people. Get a life.

RE: Why?
By kmmatney on 10/8/2010 12:14:09 AM , Rating: 2

Because it has the same processor as the iPad and iPhone 4 - that's why! It can potentially run Apps that those devices run, possibly even using a Wiimote. (They already have emulated gaming on the iPhone.iPad that uses a Wiimote.

There are pletny of other possibilities with such a proccessor - this has may more potential that any other media player, especially at it's price point. (And just to clarify, I own a WD Live).

RE: Why?
By macthemechanic on 10/8/2010 11:09:47 PM , Rating: 2
Why do so, when it's most likely coming very soon anyway?

By Ammohunt on 10/1/10, Rating: 0
RE: Ordered
By MDGeek on 10/1/10, Rating: -1
RE: Ordered
By Tony Swash on 10/2/10, Rating: 0
RE: Ordered
By acer905 on 10/2/2010 11:58:01 AM , Rating: 2
You get voted down simply for posting, regardless of what you say, which is mostly because of your religious views towards a corporation. I understand usability, and experience. I have tried iPods throughout the ages, and found the interface to be awkward. That is why i got a Sansa instead, it had a better interface (not to mention i despise the touch wheel on the iPod line, it's nice in theory but i like wearing gloves in the winter, which capacitive touch technology does not approve of)

I am not afraid of Apple, i just hate their business practices the same way i hate Sony. Overuse of proprietary formats/technology linked to other products made exclusively by themselves. I like choice, options, and most important to me, cost to benefits. I am the type who looks at the cost/GB ratio on a HDD and will not get one if it is too high. I understand that i am by far not one of the masses, and i enjoy that. I like tinkering with things, customizing the experience to exactly how i want it, and I cannot do that using Apple products.

There are many people i know with iPods or iPhones who have them simply because they did not know there were any alternatives. To me, that is Apple's biggest asset, their ability to market products. However, with many of them I simply showed them competing products, like my Sansa, and they liked them. Not being locked to iTunes was a big seller to them. The experience was better not using the iPod.

What's truely sad is when Apple fanatics, not simply users but the ones who preach the glory of Apple, feel that they have a higher understanding of the world than everyone else. They go around with their mantra that Apple has "the experience," never stopping to think that maybe, just maybe there is an experience other than Apple out there. People cling to what they know, it's simply a fact of life. People also resist doing difficult things. For many this means that in the early part of the past decade, they got an iPod, because it was the only digital music player they knew of (much like how in the 80's everyone got a Walkman, nobody had ever heard of anything else). They purchased all their music in Apple's proprietary M4a format. Then, when Apple releases new solidly integrated products (the iPhone) they get it, and can use all the music they already have. And the kicker, if they wanted to switch, they would have to ask a techie how they can keep all their music.

This to me is why i don't like Apple. And by the way, the Galaxy Tab is not marketed toward actual techies. We couldn't care less about such a limited tablet. I've used tablet PC's since 2004, and i am looking forward to the day when we have a tablet form factor device running a full OS, with bluetooth integration for mouse & keyboard. That would be a useful thing, not a toy.

RE: Ordered
By Tony Swash on 10/2/10, Rating: 0
RE: Ordered
By Alexstarfire on 10/3/2010 7:56:52 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, being tied to iTunes is so very open. Apple might be great if you're already tied into their own ecosystem, but if you're not then there isn't much reason to get into it. Just because you get locked into their devices in other ways doesn't mean that you aren't. Most people get locked into certain devices anyway. Buy apps for Android and you're less likely to switch, same for iOS, MacOS, DS, Wii, and pretty much every other device. Running multiple devices is always an option, but full out replacement gets harder and harder and less and less compelling.

Lol at you saying Apple saved the planet. That's a good laugh.

RE: Ordered
By Tony Swash on 10/3/2010 2:50:20 PM , Rating: 2
Lol at you saying Apple saved the planet. That's a good laugh

Living on planet Microsoft with your media controlled by Play for Sure would have been a real Laugh.

RE: Ordered
By acer905 on 10/3/2010 4:51:27 PM , Rating: 2
Controlled by a certification which ensured that hardware from multiple vendors would all work seamlessly with software from multiple different companies? Really? Now you're just stretching.

RE: Ordered
By Alexstarfire on 10/3/2010 5:19:34 PM , Rating: 2
IDK about Play for Sure, but if you have an evil you don't trade it for another evil. You don't replace Hilter with Ho Chi Minh just because you hate Hilter. I'm not saying Apple is evil but hopefully you get the analogy.

RE: Ordered
By drumhellar on 10/3/2010 5:31:02 PM , Rating: 2
Apple, for example, created web kit and then made it open source and then continued to support it.

Apple didn't create WebKit and opensource it.

They forked KHTML (from the KDE project), which is GPL licensed. Apple would have been violating the terms of the GPL by not open sourcing WebKit.

RE: Ordered
By drumhellar on 10/3/2010 5:32:53 PM , Rating: 2
Oops. KHTML/WebKit are LGPL, not GPL.

RE: Ordered
By Tony Swash on 10/4/2010 4:36:07 AM , Rating: 1
Apple didn't create WebKit and opensource it.

They forked KHTML (from the KDE project), which is GPL licensed. Apple would have been violating the terms of the GPL by not open sourcing WebKit.

Apple chose KHTML even though it was GPL licensed, they didn't have to, they chose to. Apple is big enough and technically proficient enough to come up with a purely proprietary rendering system for their browser and keep the whole thing closed. They chose not to.

Webkit is an Apple creation. Saying web kit is just a forked KHTML is technically true but so is saying that Android is just a fork of Linux and therefore Google didn't create Android. Get real. Criticise Apple for stuff they really do (or really don't) but don't peddle distortions - it undermines your arguments.

RE: Ordered
By Ammohunt on 10/4/2010 2:56:17 PM , Rating: 3
I was wondering the same thing! My Apple fainboiness consists of iTunes use and old g4 Titatnium laptop gathering dust and now an Apple TV(the only hardware product i have ever purchased from Apple in my lifetime) For someone like me that needs to primarily stream my iTunes library from my main Windows 7 machines and netflix to my HDTV $99 is hard to beat.

RE: Ordered
By Parhel on 10/4/2010 10:40:29 PM , Rating: 2
Don't feel bad. If Apple and the hacker community can do two things, I'll buy one too. First, start releasing emulators that I can run on a jailbroken Apple TV. Second, allow me to use it for chatting on a webcam. Do that, and I'll buy my first ever Apple product. It's smaller and cheaper than an HTPC, and I don't want or need 90% of the functionality an HTPC would offer. Probably won't / can't happen though.

RE: Ordered
By kmmatney on 10/8/2010 12:19:32 AM , Rating: 2
With an A4 processor, this thing has a lot of potential when jailbroken. it should be able to connect to a Wiimote as well, and there no reason that emulators won't work, since they already work fine on my 3GS, with a slower processor.

I seriously doubt
By FITCamaro on 10/1/2010 11:34:53 AM , Rating: 3
Anyone cares.

RE: I seriously doubt
By Gio6518 on 10/1/2010 11:56:01 AM , Rating: 2
Already being flogged on apple's biggest failure's

RE: I seriously doubt
By StarBlue on 10/1/2010 2:48:47 PM , Rating: 3
While I am NOT a fan of the AppleTV, I was hoping for a lot better. The article you point out was written in 2009 and refers to the AppleTV 1G and not the 2G that just came out.

There are things I like but the biggest thing I hate about the new iTV is the fact you can not tie it wired or wireless to an iTunes library on an external HD or even to a NAS. You have to download the what you want to watch to your iOS device then AirPlay it to the iTV or have your laptop tie to the external iTunes library then AirPlay it. I hate having to have this middle step.

Apple really went backwards on this, Google TV is going to slam you.

RE: I seriously doubt
By Taft12 on 10/1/10, Rating: 0
Linux OS soon on it ?.
By fteoath64 on 10/3/2010 1:19:11 AM , Rating: 2
Would love to see a Linux distro working off a 16GB flash disk, and give me XBMC type app. With lots of plugins.

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