We've never really cared for jailbreaking anything that didn't really need jailbreaking, but for the case of Apple's "revolutionary" 2nd generation TV box, we're going to make a big exception. We say if you're going to buy an Apple TV, hack it and install Plex to start streaming any media with no annoying conversions needed. A complete guide from hack to finish, after the jump.
Plex Client helps you to stream most of any kind of video back to your Apple TV, when it is installed on a Jailbroken Apple TV. This Plex Client may rely on the server side component that act for it as a transcoding helper for all video served to the iOS devices.
It's important to note that the current build of Plex for ATV2 is just a "proof of concept" so it is still quite buggy, tricky to install and limited to video playback (no music files, no images, no App-Management), but remains a golden light at the end of a long dark tunnel in the world of media streaming.
A demo of it in action:
It's important to note that use of these software packages have been proven to work, but use it at your own risk and don't blame anyone except yourself if your ATV blows up in the process. Consider this the last warning!
If you're not scared off by now, we give you the instructions to start hacking your AppleTV for streaming awesomeness:
1. Grab the latest Jailbreaking software. A nice walkthrough using Pwnage Tool can be found here. Alternative guides can be found here.
2. Install the Plex Server Software for Mac OSX: You can grab the latest version over here.
3. Install the Plex Client. If you're not familiar with SSH, we suggest reading up on the Accessing ATV2 portion over here. Once you got the idea, head on over to the Plex Forums where they've outlined the entire installation process in one fell swoop.
Alternative video walkthrough:
If you plan on using the video walkthrough, the command lines file can be found over on the author's blog over here.
Got problems? There's a list of solutions here.
Update: If you find all of this footwork too unappealing, you can also download an automated package installer to turbocharge your AppleTV 2G by using Fire Core's aTV software (currently in beta) that's available for $20. Mac-only for now. And you still need to jailbreak it manually.