Beginner Questions

I’ve looked through the boards and can’t find answers to these questions/queries - probably because they’re rather basic. Hopefully you won’t mind answering them anyway.

I’ve successfully installed ATVFlash on my new AppleTV (borrowed a Mac to create the boot Flash), and can browse the web etc. I now want to start accessing some of the other features like affixing an external HDD, keyboard/mouse, etc. which is where my challenges come in. I’ve read the documentation available and downloaded WinSCP so I can start installing the files.

  1. However, I cannot log into the Apple TV using WinSCP. I just get the Connection Failed message. I am using the username and password of frontrow as in the documentation and the IP address on my home network is correct (double-checked). Any ideas/tricks? It seems I need to get this working to download the files necessary to get the external HDD, etc., to be recognised (I’ve downloaded the MacOSXUpdCombo10.4.10Intel.dmg file).

  2. On a related issue, when I try to install the MPlayer Codecs as recommended in the documentation, the file is downloaded and then the system just sits and displays the message “Installing mplayer codecs for rm and rmvb” Nothing at all happens for at least an hour, so presumably it’s in a loop. Reversing out and trying again gives me the same message.

As background, I have a small network with a couple of Windows PCs on at home - this is my first Apple product so I’m a complete novice in this area.

Many thanks for your help.


WinSCP seems to be working now for some reason, but MPlayer is still not finishing the install. Is there a workaround?



If anybody could come back to me on the MPlayer thing, I’d appreciate it.

A few more questions - I realise these are basic, but have been unable to find any docs I can understand (and suspect I’m not alone in this).

I have installed the software to get the external USB working - sort of - keyboard is working, mouse not, HDD sometimes (was able to see it until the first time I got the keyboard working, now I can’t see it or any other). I purchased a basic 4 port USB2 hub as the fancy ones don’t work with Apple TV (confirmed by the forum posts, too).

I have WinSCP installed on my PC and can access the ATV with FTP - though not with SFTP or SCP. However, a lot of the postings refer to commands that need to be given to the ATV and I can’t figure out how to do this. I’ve tried connecting to the ATV with Hyperterminal on my PC, but the default port 23 won’t work. Port 21 (as for FTP) connects, but I can’t type anything. What do I need to do/use to get terminal access to the ATV?

Once I have terminal access, how can I ensure the disk is mounted as well as keyboard recognised (mouse would be nice, too)?

Once I have the disk, how do I browse the directories to find the right ones for ATV to access?

A “Noddy Guide” for all this would be incredibly useful!

Many thanks

I have the same problem installing mplayer. The download goes well, but eh installing screen never changes. 2 hours and counting… anyone else? Any advice?


This is for all you other newbies to the Apple environment… I posted some questions a month or so ago on this forum and the Knowledgebase one (when I got no response here) regarding HDD access, keyboard access, codecs and also accessing the AppleTV from a Windows XP environment (necessary for commands, etc.).

Although no answers were posted on either forum I did get some response directly from a helpful chap at so thought I should share these for anyone else interested (or, as in my case, largely confused).

  1. External HDDs - Although, in theory, one can access a FAT32 external HDD from the AppleTV, for some reason this access is not too reliable. NTFS is not supported. For reliable, consistent access to an external HDD it should be formatted as MAC OSX Extended. Of course, the question then is how one can access this drive from your Windows XP box/network to move files onto it - fortunately, somebody posted the answer for this recently on the Knowledgebase forum: it seems that installing MacDrive 7 on your Windows box solves this (

  2. External Keyboard/Mouse - CouchSurfer will see the keyboard, but not the mouse. Need to install Firefox for optimal results (the way to do this is explained elsewhere in these forums).

  3. Terminal Access from a Windows XP box - to access the AppleTV in a terminal mode (for browsing disks, adding software, etc.), the recommended solution is a product called Putty - available from I’ve not had a chance to try this out yet, so can’t comment on it.

  4. Codecs - the MPlayer codecs that wouldn’t install for me are not necessary for viewing AVI files. The AVI codecs are installed by ATVFlash by default. MPlayer is for WMV and RM/RMVB files, etc. Thus MPlayer should not be strictly necessary.

  5. Root Password - not required. The frontrow/frontrow username and password gives root access.

Hope this helps other newbies out there.