How to install XBMC on your aTV 2nd gen.

Scott Herder 2011/01/21 12
XBMC finally makes its way to the 2nd Gen aTV! What is it? It is the X-box media center which allows you to play and stream media as well as add some really great plugins to give your device a lot more functionality.

Have an 2nd Gen aTV? If you do check out the command list below to see how to install it.

SSH into your aTV. 
If you have a Mac use the native Terminal application in your utilities folder.
If you have Windows use Winscp or Putty

Step 1:
Type: ssh root@your ip address.

Step 2:
type: your password (by default it is alpine) take some time to change it when you get a chance ;)

Step 3:
Type : apt-get update

Step 4:
Type : apt-get install org.xbmc.repo

Step 4:
Type : apt-get update

Step 5:
Type : apt-get install org.xbmc.xbmc-atv2

Step 6 :
Type: killall Lowtide           – for users on firmware 4.1
Type: killall AppleTV         – for users on 4.2.1


If for some reason that doesn’t work here is an alternative way to install it.
After sshing into your aTV 

Command 1 : echo “deb ./” > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/xbmc.list

Command 2: apt-get update

Command 3: apt-get install org.xbmc.xbmc-atv2

Check out the video below to watch it done by your favorite host!

Special thanks to Mitchell Bernstein and iCoreDev

  • Santana

    hi nice inf but i have a problem wend i put apt-get update my winscp log out of the atv and it never finish this step, i log in with no problem and i see all my folder but cant past this step. any help will help i have a customize firware is this a problem?

  • Scott Herder

    Hmm don't have winscp. But heres two options
    1) download and do it in putty
    2) if you have nitotv installed you might be able to search for it in nitotv

  • Peter

    Hi! I have a jailbroken ATV2 with XBMC installed(followed the process above). I want to play moviefiles from mmy NAS(Iomega) but I have following problem:

    The XMBC have trouble playing larger movie files Blueray, ISO files, etc. When I enter a movie, it starts playing but after short the XBMC returns to ATV2 main menu?

    I have also downloaded the XBMC to my Win7 PC and it plays fine all file formats with no problem at all.

    Can someone help me out here?

    Many thx!

    • Let’s Keep it Simple

      AppleTV currently only supports 720, so when your playing blue ray files, they push out at 1080 or just greater than 720, so basically it is more information than the aTV can handle. Normally it just is choppy when your playing blue-ray files or larger files instead of crashing. but that is most likely the problem.

  • rob

    I keep getting this (below) and have no idea what this means or how to fix it. I can’t get the terminal to find my ATV2. Any help would be great.

    Someone could be eavesdropping on you right now (man-in-the-middle attack)!
    It is also possible that the RSA host key has just been changed.
    The fingerprint for the RSA key sent by the remote host is

    • Let’s Keep it Simple

      Rob check out this video, it will walk you through the steps. It means you most likely ssh’d into your aTV before, restored it, rejailbroke it, and then re-ssh’d into and it is freaking out. It’s a very simple fix,

      • rob

        That worked great. Is there a way to turn off auto update on the ATV2. I have heard that is should be off to run smoothly.
        Thanks in advance.

        • Let’s Keep it Simple

          NitoTV has a built-in app for that, Turn on your aTV. Go to nitoTV, hit install, then it should be your first app you see, autoupdatebegone.

  • clearercape

    Hi Scott
    Thanks for the really helpful blog.

    One or two questions. Does the Apple TV have to be unlocked before trying the ssh. I get a port 22 refused?

    Or is that stating the bleed-en obvious.

    Thanks for your help.



    • Scott Herder

      Clearercape, sorry for the late response, been travelling through India.
      However yes your aTV does need to be jailbroken before trying to ssh into it. You can jailbreak your aTV with Seas0nPass or redsn0w.

  • jeroennvh

    it doesn’t work for me please help!.
    when I type:
    ssh root@ than it says.
    ssh: connect to host port 22: Connection refused

    what do I have to do?