MP4 + USB HD and New ATV

Hi There,

I have been a happy owner of the Silver ATV for many years. Use ATV Flash and have an external HD that hold all of my shoes/movies.
Lately I noticed that more and more of my favourite shows are posted in MP4 files instead of the old school .avi files.

I know I can play these files through XMBC but don’t like the interface that much.

Q 1:
If I get the new ATV, will it play the MP4 files I am referring to?

Can I attached the same HD to the new ATV through the USB slot in the back?



The very latest device (ATV3) has not yet been jail broken, so you might want to wait until (if) that happens! The older ATV2 (the 720p compatible model) has been jailbroken (although it currently is a tethered jailbreak for the latest 5.0 firmware) and the answers below also apply to that.

In response to your specific questions:

  • Yes mp4 files can be played
  • No, you cannot attach a HD via the USB port. It has client-only USB hardware and cannot be used to connect any external storage. All media is accessed via the network.

Thanks for the reply.


So in a way the Silver ATV’s Jailbreak has more and better features than the ATV2 or ATV3?
Essential for me to store my content on an external HD to not fill up my iMac with shows/movies so as long as that USB port isn’t available on ATV3 I’ll have to deal with switching to XMBC for the shows that come in MP4 formats.

Any way to get new plugins to play those MP4’s without using XMBC but through the normal “Files” structure? 

XBMC on the ATV2 can also only play files off the network, so it does not help. The commonest approach seems to be to either use a NAS device, or to plug the USB drive into a router (which many now support) to make it network visible…

First let me ask what level of support I would receive a year from now should I not purchase the lifetime option. Assuming ATV Black is still in development a year from now, and assuming Apple continues to update their firmware, will I still be able to download the latest ATV Black? Will I still be able to install it? Will I still be able to use it?

Basically the support license gives you access to updated versions of the PC/Mac installers for ATV Black

As the PC/Mac installer checks whether you are using the most current version, if your support license has expired then you are unable to re-install even using an older saved version of the installer.

So if you need to ever re-jailbreak or install a new jailbreak and you need to re-install ATV Black from a PC/Mac then you need to have an active support license to give you access the the latest ATV Black.

However once installed onto an ATV, you can install updates to ATV Black via Maintenance on th ATV even with no active support license.

So the important thing is if you ever need to run the PC/Mac installer you need an active support license.