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Apple TV: Week Three Roundup

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The Apple TV hacking hits keep coming from leet haxxors and bored tinkerers alike. What’s Apple’s official stance on all the fun being had? “We are not doing anything proactively at this time, but if users hack their systems, they’re voiding the warranty,” according to Gizmodo. But the proof will be in the firmware upgrade pudding, from which I hope Apple has made it easy to opt out.The first Apple TV advertisement has finally hit the airwaves, not to mention video sharing sites. It features a clip from Paramount’s School of Rock playing across an iMac, iPod and the Apple TV.

Too bad it won’t look great: While Apple has been touting that the Apple TV supports up to 1280 by 720 resolution, the highest bitrate supported is only 5 Mbps, which is less than a typical DVD. The 50 million television show episodes and 1.3 million movies sold at the iTunes Store? Only 1.5 Mbps.

But you can totally play Mario Brothers and read RSS feeds on it! Seriously, though, an initial source version of Linux is available, and you can even set it up to dual-boot Apple TV OS and OS X.

I mentioned in my last roundup that a bounty of $500 was on offer to anyone who could install open-source PBX Asterisk on the little box. Not only did somebody win, but they turned around and doled the prize out to other hackers. Getting full USB operability is still an issue — a $1000 bounty is on offer for whomever can get an external USB storage device to work.

My favorite hack, which is more of a lifehack, is to quit paying your cable bill. And your TiVo bill, for that matter. Cory Bergman did just that, only watching content via the Apple TV for a week. And it was completely commercial-free.