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Thread: Official AppleTV MacCar Thread

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006

    Official AppleTV MacCar Thread

    There is another thread on the AppleTV, but the OP there was asking specifically about which head unit to use and that got hijacked. I thought it would be a good idea to have a dedicated AppleTV thread to discuss the pros, cons and viability of using the AppleTV in the car.

    Some pros are that the ATV is smaller and cheaper than a Mac Mini.

    One of the negatives to using the AppleTV is the power supply.

    I made an inquiry with Carnetix and Mike H. over there said, "Unfortunately, from what I understand this thing has a built-in AC power supply. Perhaps someone can open one up to see if the AC supply can be removed/bypassed."

    Another negative is the lower RAM and processor power. The way I see it, we will need to run an enhanced version of the AppleTV OS that can run more codecs, USB turned on, ability to use Bluetooth, etc... OR and pared down version of Mac OSX so it isn't overtaxing the guts of the machine rendering it useless.

    I was really hoping that the AppleTV would be great for the car, but the more I look at it, it looks like there might be more effort to get it going, than is worth it.


    Here are some good resources on hacking the AppleTV: (This site appears to be down as of 4/2/07 12:20pm MST)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    from the video's that i've seen of the ATV sunning OSX, it seems like the OS runs pretty smoothly. I have not seen any clips yet of video file playing or iTunes working or anything like that.

    I hitnk the main drawback is the fact that the power supply is built into the system (from what I've heard)

    This link has quite a few good pictures of the insides of the ATV.

    Power Supply

    Logic Board

    Opened ATV

    From thelooks of it, the power supply is on the inside, but not built into the main board. Knowing, this, there may be a power managemnet workaround that would be made to get the an ATV running OSX to wake and sleep on car on/off

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Thanks Nick! I linked the Carnetix guys to your post, let's see what they think about powering this thing the right way.

    Another dealbreaker for me is getting the one and only USB I/O to work with everything we need. No built in bluetooth so we'll have to add a USB bluetooth key, but it would also be nice to hook up a RadioShark.

    Will these bluetooth devices work through a hub? What works and doesn't work through a USB hub?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Marietta, GA
    Hmmm 3 blue + 3 black wires.....Looks like a single voltage regulator. If you guys think you can get the rest of the issues resolved, I'll take a hard look at the regulator/starup/shutdown.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Bluetooth should not be a problem through a USB hub, but it all depends on the hub and bluetooth device. A friend of mine is running over a dozen usb devices through one usb hub and everythign seems to work fine. Radio shark should work as well but from what I've heard form people on this forum, it's not the best option due to quality.

    Are there any other issues that need to be resolved?

    Probably the first thing that needs to be done is actually have someone who's willing to take the risk and buy an ATV, see how hard it really is to get OSX up and running. Test system performance with the software that we would need to use.

  6. #6
    Admin. Linux loser.
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    Bugbyte's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Corning, NY
    Blog Entries
    I just read an article yesterday that included a video of hacking Apple TV to get OSX up and running. It's not for the noob, but it seemed like it could be done easily. It was on but it looksl like the site was overwhelmed.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    they show the same video as I've seen The video is actually hosted on Google Viedo is someone wants to do a search nad find the link. I'd do it, but all vidoe sites are blocked from work.

  8. #8
    QCar Creator Jirka Jirout's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    The single USB port could be a problem if you connect more hubs to it. OS X has some built-in software protection against excessive power drain. Sometimes it fails to recognize a hub as powered and based on the number of devices the Mac can see on the bus, it reports "USB low power warning" and shuts down some of the devices. I even saw this happening on setup, where the +5V on USB from the computer was disconnected and all the USB devices were powered from an independent power source.

  9. #9
    Low Bitrate sspiro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Atlanta, GA
    Interesting.. I'd be interested in putting one in my truck..
    [ 2011 Nissan Altima 2.5 S | Dark Slate | CVT | HTC Evo View 4G In-Car Tablet | Interior LEDs | DDM 6000K ]
    [ Massive VK6 Front Stage | 3xJL W610 | Zapco AG750 | Alpine MRPF240 | Clarion EQS746 ]

  10. #10
    CarFrontEnd Creator iamgnat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by MemeSlider View Post
    One of the negatives to using the AppleTV is the power supply.

    Another negative is the lower RAM and processor power.
    I think you left out the biggest negative, it's display options. Unless I missed a revelation in the other thread, none of the currently popular displays that we use will work with the ATV.

    Until we find a screen (hopefully one compatible with the touchscreens that we know work) that will work, using the ATV in a car for your primary system is moot.

    I don't know anything about this technology, but i've seen LVDS discussed a few times in the LCD section for using Laptop LCDs. Something like this might work if it accepts a DVI-D input (not clear from a quick scan of the page). Obviously that is a serious price tag though (don't know if there are cheaper options), which keeps the ball squarely in the Mini's court.

    My pathetic worklog.
    CarFrontEnd (now it's own sub-forum!!!!)

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