If you want to get the most out of your Apple TV, jailbreaking has been the way to go. Jailbreaking Apple’s set top box allows users to add media center solutions like XMBC and Plex. However, the 3rd generation Apple TV has proven to be difficult to jailbreak. The device went on sale over several months ago and hackers have made little progress, but there’s another way to get more out of your set-top box.
While the only way to install XMBC or Plex on Apple TV is by jailbreaking the device, you can mirror the media centers from a computer or jailbroken iPad. This may not be the preferred solution for everyone, but it does work. Some people may even prefer this method since it saves the hassle of jailbreaking your Apple TV and it keeps from voiding your warranty.
AirPlay Mirroring comes to the Mac
Apple just released a new operating system for Macs, OS X 10. 8 Mountain Lion. One of the key features is AirPlay Mirroring, which lets you wirelessly mirror what’s on your Mac to your Apple TV. This means anything viewable on the internet can now go to your TV wirelessly with a couple of clicks.
Unfortunately, AirPlay Mirroring is only compatible with the following Macs;
• (Mid 2011 or newer)
• mini (Mid 2011 or newer)
• Air (Mid 2011 or newer)
• Pro (Early 2011 or newer)
However, there is a good third-party alternative for people using Windows and older Macs. AirParrot enables AirPlay Mirroring from a PC or Mac to a 2nd or 3rd generation Apple TV for a price of only $9.99.
XBMC and Plex
XMBC and Plex are both great applications that will enhance your media experience. They are both compatible with Macs and PCs, so after installing the application on your computer, you can use AirPlay to deliver it to your TV.
You can even use an app to control your computer with an iPhone or iPad. There are several apps that will do this, but Rowmote is an app that works well and only cost $0.99.
Mirror XBMC from a jailbroken iPad
Installing XBMC on your jailbroken iPad is simple.
Step 1. Open Cydia on your iPad.
Step 2. Go to Manage-> Sources-> Edit-> Add.
Step 3. Type the following: http://mirrors.xbmc.org/apt/ios/
Step 4. Tap Add Source.
Step 5. You should see teamXBMC in Sources. Tap on it and tap Install, then Confirm.
Step 6. After the install completes you are ready to use XMBC on your iPad and you can even mirror it to your Apple TV.
Using AirPlay to mirror content from a computer or iPad to Apple TV is a good alternative to jailbreaking it, I actually prefer it.