A Week with XBMC on AppleTV 2G

A Week with XBMC on AppleTV 2G

Anthony Nguyen
Jan 27, 2011

Ever since we first heard about the potential for jailbreaking Apple's new little TV box, we've been trying to do all sorts of crazy things with it (like installing XBMC and Last.FM on it). We were a bit worried about the lack of dedicated hard drive space and flash memory, however, so we decided to use it for 2-3 hours a day for week in order to see how well it held up. Our results, after the jump!

XBMC (or Xbox Media Center): What can I say? The software's solid. They did an amazing port and those guys should definitely get some credit.

Performance: Not good enough. It may be the IR remote, the lack of memory, or the background caching - whatever it is, navigating XBMC on the AppleTV 2G feels sluggish. Even worse is when you accidentally forget to click the checkbox that automatically downloads movie information about the files you have - this results is continuous freezing and crashing that'll eventually force you to reset your firmware to the factory settings.

HD Movies/TV Shows: It works. If you're been waiting to stream your 720p movies in any format over to your AppleTV 2G, this is it. Everything streams like a charm as long as you've got your AppleTV 2G plugged in via Ethernet. I tried going Wireless-N for a bit, but that just made it buffer every 5 minutes. Just make sure you don't set it so that it downloads album art, music video info, or movie info - you'll crash the system.

Overall Impression: Like many of you have voiced, this is what AppleTV 2G should have been from the get-go - strong integration with current libraries with tons of customization options, including apps and auto-tagging your media collection. However, being the first port release, I won't blame them too much for some general bugginess.

Personally, I'm crossing my fingers for the Boxee team to start going the same route and providing full support across all platforms (they did say that was their mission statement after all). Then maybe I can finally get all of my stuff to play seamlessly through this tiny little box that can do so much, yet so little.

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