This is a guide that, if followed, will unchain your Apple TV from its cruel iTunes tether, turning it into the useful living room conduit of music, video and web-based content it should have been all along via the media center software Boxee. Boxee can be installed fairly easily via the ATV's USB port to bring Hulu and Comedy Central streaming, playback of any video or music file anywhere on your network in virtually any file type imagineable, and a bevy of internet A/V sources like Flickr, Last.fm, NPR and BBC podcasts and tons of others-all upping the usefulness and fun of Apple's notoriously underachieving box by a factor of 10, easily. If you have an ATV, Boxee is a must-install, and it's 100% free. Let's get started.
The stock Apple TV has never been able to decide what it's supposed to do. Is it a device to store all your videos? Its built-in hard drive would suggest yes, but the fact that everything needs to be piped through iTunes makes this a hassle if you store your videos in any other way. And why are we downloading and storing anyway? Streaming is the way things are headed, and for streaming, Apple TV doesn't make a ton of sense, especially when a box a quarter its size and a less than half its price can bring Netflix's massive library into your living room with zero download delays and zero added cost, soon in HD, even.