Streaming Video at Home – Part II: Go ahead, Cross the Streams
Whether you have multimedia content on a remote device like a file server (NAS) or your laptop, the next big question: how do I stream that content wirelessly to my TV? There are a few ways to do so, and if you’re into consumer gadgetry in general then chances are you have a solution already. For instance, I have a Xbox 360 and an Apple TV2. The Xbox 360 natively supports wireless networking to a file server but is limited in its media codec support. Plus its pretty college-bootleg to have to boot up the 360 to watch a movie.
Apple TV 2 on the other hand is very slick and simple, yet missing the essential streaming from a (gasp!) non-Apple machine. That’s right – at this time, Home Sharing is not something you’ll find on a device other than another apple computer. I had no intention of buying another Apple device to serve media content. Thankfully, the kind folks at http://www.appletvhacks.net had just published an article to jailbreak the operating system on the Apple TV so you can inject additional software onto the device. This sounds complicated, but it really isn’t. Just follow the instructions and soon you can be playing high definition movies from your file server running XBMC (formerly Xbox Media Center).
To my knowledge, there are two untethered methods (untethered, implying you don’t have to connect the Apple TV to a computer every time you reboot) you can use - GreenPois0n or Seas0nPass – to jailbreak AppleTV. Apple has been pretty aggressive about their iOS updates so just pay attention to the articles in the web site and make sure you choose an untethered version. If you’re unable to find an untethered version then it may not be out yet, so you’ll need to wait or downgrade your Apple TV and use a jailbreak associated with that version.
Once you’ve successfully jailbroken your Apple TV iOS, you are free to install XBMC on the hacked device.
Below is an quick example of how XBMC integrates and plays with your new jailbroken Apple TV 2 after following the instructions in the link above.
Alternatively, if you have an Xbox 360 then you can stream movies wirelessly via native DLNA without any mods or hacks. Below is a general article on the supported codecs and formats allowed. I must warn you though, the 360 doesn’t seem to like 720p M4V files. I think there is a VC-1 codec incompatibility but I haven’t fully explored it. I have read that the PS3 natively supports video streaming but I don’t own one so I can’t speak to it.
Supporting articles: Frequently asked questions about video and audio playback for your Xbox 360 console (Nov 2010) - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/945416