plex on apple tv (1st gen) workaround

ok, so i found a roundabout way of getting “plex” to work on an appletv1.

• an ios device running ios 4.3 or better
(the beefier the better; i’m sure below a certain point it won’t work, due to (a) in-hardware crunching and (b) the particular version of ios only runs on certain models+higher)

• plex for ios client

• a hacked (ala the firecore atv flash) appletv1
(still a good buy in my opinion)

• the xbmc for appletv1 client
(version eden, not sure the number, can’t access while writing this from memory)

• plex media server
(um, duh?)

messy steps that will require a little self-thought:

  1. launch xbmc on your atv1.

  2. dig around in the preferences. you will find a preference to turn xbmc into an airplay receiver. turn this on. i don’t remember if there’s a separate pref for audio and video, but if so, make sure you get video (audio works, too, but you don’t need this to do all this just for audio)

  3. optional: name your airplay receiver if you like. default is something to the effect of xbmc to xbmctv. if your network set-up is simple, or if it’s not, you probably set-it up and know it well; in either case, you’re fine, just a nice thing to do.

  4. start playing a video on your ios device.

  5. once it starts, hit the airplay icon and choose your new airplay video output. these are different from audio by icon. audio looks like the typical speaker, video looks like a tv.

  6. that’s it. sit back and enjoy.

some notes

xbmc must be turned on.

i do suggest rebooting at least daily, as it does seem to choke and crash after overuse.

your ios device can be out to “sleep” once started. i suggest keeping it plugged in, but it really seems youse very little battery. phone calls interrupt.

also, steps 4+5 can be swapped, if you know how to choose your airplay device via the ios taskbar.

i’ve found “lighter/thinner” video (to use very ignorant summarization, avi’s typically work better than mkv’s; lower bitrates, 480p over 1080p) tends to play better. remember, you’re transcoding a transcode on the fly, so this workaround is a little bit roundabout (photocopying a photocopy on the fly?). don’t worry about this too much, just something to note.

beefier hardware works better. i think. i’ve done this successfully with an iphone4s, iphone5 and an ipad3. again, better hardware, better crunch. some 720p video is buttery smooth. some skips every few seconds (still very watchable). this may be due to directplay/directstream (so you’re only transcoding once). i can’t think of any 480 video i’ve had trouble with. i’m not sure if it’s using the ios device’s gpu, cpu or both. but better will be better.

802.11n works better than 802.11g which i assume works better than 802.11b. remember, you’re actively upping and downing from your device simultaneously. a better network will give you better performance. i also assume that less network activity can only help.

i assume a 720p upgrade card for your atv1 will make it a beefier receiver which may mean less transcoding which may make for a smoother ride. again, until i try it, i won’t know.

feel free to improve on this and share what you find. or shoot this full of holes.

i’d love to see a “native” solution for the apple tv 1st gen’s out there, but as it gets older and we get farther from it, i see this being less and less likely. realistically, my guess is a xbmc version that plays nice with pms (i don’t think dnla is applicable here) is probably the most realistic solution at this point.

but we can wish.

(now to get it working in that stupid opera browser on the wii.)

No need for this workaround. Just install Plexbmc client in XBMC… Works like a charm… I’ve been using that to stream content from my Plex server for the past year now… Works flawlessly !!! And it’s way easier to setu than your method. It’s well documented n this site, on the XBMC site and on the Plexapp forum as well…