updated 08:00 pm EDT, Tue September 11, 2012
Fix for 1080p third-gen Apple TV still elusive
FireCore, a company that specializes in jailbreak and media server software for various models of Apple TV has released version 2.0 of its aTV Flash (black) program, which is specifically aimed at jailbroken second- and third-generation Apple TVs (the small black model that sells for $99). The new update is not yet working for the latest, 1080p-supporting black Apple TV, but brings a new Library View, integrated search, trakt.tv and Last.fm scrobbling, Recently Added displays and more to second-gen Apple TV units.
The software is a popular choice for owners of black (or the older "silver") Apple TV units that are either out of warranty or simply want the unit to be able to play video formats other than those stored and supported in iTunes. The program features it's own menu system that works alongside the usual Apple TV menu and features, but can show media files stored on network drives and other devices. The program supports video formats like MKV and AVI and features Internet access, Last.fm radio stations, subtitle support and other features.
The new version 2.0 features a Library View that indexes media from across devices and platforms and organizes movies, TV and music by tags and genre, release date, star rating, age rating and other optional criteria. TV show seasons are automatically recognized and sorted together. There is also now an integrated search so that users can type in partial titles, artists, filenames or other information rather than just browse.
The latest version also has trakt.tv syncing for those with multiple Apple TV units in a household, allowing a program watched on one unit to be marked as watched on another unit. Users can also mark programs as watched on the trakt.tv website and the info will be reflected on the owner's Apple TV units. The Last.fm support includes scrobbling so that users can track their listening habits in their Last.fm account.
Other improvements include better handling of WTV files and DVD audio tracks, improvements to AFP connections and subtitle handling. FireCore says that when it can get the program working for third-generation Apple TV units (visually identical to the second-generation machines except for 1080p resolution support), it will make the update available free for current customers. The program for second-gen Apple TV users is also a free update available through the Maintenance menu.
The aTV program requires second-gen Apple TV units to be running OS version 4.4 or higher. The program costs $30, and works only with jailbroken units (FireCore provides its own Seas0nPass jailbreaking tool for free).