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Mounting SMB Media on AppleTV

We’ve been using XBMC to view movies and videos on our first generation AppleTV for a while, but it has always been a pain to manually copy (via scp) the files to the AppleTV and then remove them once they’ve been watched because the disk space is limited.

So I finally got around to setting up an SMB share on our big media center Mac Mini and mounting that to both AppleTV units.

AwkwardTV is an amazingly useful wiki site with lots of AppleTV hacks and how-to pages, I cannot recommend it enough. Visit and learn all about the inner workings of your AppleTV. In particular the page on SMBFS mounting is most useful.

You’ll need to organize all your Movies, TV Shows, and Videos into a Folder on you media server; then share those folders via System Preferences/Sharing. Note that the name of the folder you are sharing becomes the name of the Volume you will mount in NitoTV on your AppleTV.

Your first generation AppleTV needs to already have ssh enabled (probably via a PatchStick hack. That also installs XBMC, Boxee, and NitoTV. You will also need to fetch the MacOSXUpdCombo10.4.9Intel.dmg from Apple. Copy MacOSXUpdCombo10.4.9Intel.dmg into AppleTV’s ~/Documents folder…

scp MacOSXUpdCombo10.4.9Intel.dmg frontrow@appletv.local:/Users/frontrow/Documents
sudo mount -uw /
sudo -s
hdid /$SOURCE/MacOSXUpdCombo10.4.9Intel.dmg
cd /
pax -r -z -f /Volumes/Mac\ OS\ X\ 10.4.9\ Combined\ Update\ \(Intel\)/MacOSXUpdCombo10.4.9Intel.pkg/Contents/Archive.pax.gz \
'./System/Library/Extensions/smbfs.kext' \
'./sbin/mount_smbfs' \
umount /Volumes/Mac\ OS\ X\ 10.4.9\ Combined\ Update\ \(Intel\)/
sudo chmod +s /sbin/mount_smbfs /sbin/mount_afp
sudo mount -ur /
sudo kextload /System/Library/Extensions/smbfs.kext

I could not get manual mounts to work from the command line, but the Network Mounts in NitoTV worked just fine and that makes it easy to start from the FrontRow menus with an ordinary remote.

Use your remote to go into NitoTV on your AppleTV, Network menu, Add a Custom Mount; an iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad with Remote or Remote HD software will make this much easier as there is a lot of text to type into the options for the mount point.

It really helps to be able to grab the XBMC sources.xml file and the NitoTV mounts.plist files to your Mac terminal or PC with Putty, edit them in a decent text editor, then copy them back later.

scp frontrow@appletv.local:/Users/frontrow/Library/Application\\\ Support/XBMC/userdata/sources.xml .
scp frontrow@appletv.local:/Users/frontrow/Library/Application\\\ Support/nito/mounts.plist .

Now you can edit them in your favorite editor; be sure it saves them as plain ASCII text (not as an RTF file). When done, put the modified files back on your AppleTV:

scp mounts.plist frontrow@appletv.local:/Users/frontrow/Library/Application\\\ Support/nito/
scp sources.xml frontrow@appletv.local:/Users/frontrow/Library/Application\\\ Support/XBMC/userdata/

You will have to restart XBMC and NitoTV on your AppleTV to see the changes, but now mounting the remote share and then browsing your server’s media in XBMC are easy to do. Enjoy.

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