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New Jailbreak Brings Full Browser to 2nd Gen Apple TV

Second-generation Apple (s AAPL) TV users can now access the entire web via an HTML5-compatible web browser, thanks to a new jailbreak published this week by Firecore. The Colorado-based startup released a tool called Seas0npass on Tuesday afternoon that allows users to install a modified version of the latest Apple TV system software. Users can then install additional applications, including a app, a client for the Plex media center and a full HTML5-compatible web browser.

Firecore is also working on adding access to media stored on network-attached storage (NAS) drives and support for additional video formats. The company is offering the jailbreak tool as a free download, but sells the apps for $20.

Apple TV hackers previously released more complicated proof-of-concept jailbreaks for the second-gen Apple TV, but Seas0npass is the first tool that seems ready for the average, if sightly more adventurous consumer. However, there’s still one downside to the current method: Seas0npass is a so-called tethered jailbreak, which means that users have to connect the device to their computer every time it boots up. Firecore said that it’s working on an untethered jailbreak that would enable a persistent modification of the device, but it hasn’t said when this is going to be available.

Also, don’t get your hopes about accessing Hulu on the Apple TV anytime soon: The browser doesn’t support any Flash playback, which means that videos from Hulu and many other sites won’t play. Apple TV hackers previously found a way to enable Flash playback on the first-generation Apple TV, but the fact that the current device generation is based on Apple’s iOS means that Flash can’t be easily ported from other platforms.

Apple TV isn’t the only set top-box platform that’s currently targeted by hackers in search of a better media center solution. Google TV hackers published a jailbreak of that platform just last week. However, jailbreaking Google TV is still far more complicated than doing the same thing to an Apple TV, as it requires, amongst other things, solid soldering skills.

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