Pirate Fighting Rumor: Apple Locking Hacked Apple TVs?

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I was about to write a post—a non CTIA, non-cellphone post—about Apple TV hack tutorials over at Tutorial Ninjas. They've got Joost running on an Apple TV, along with a nice collection of useful hacks. Then I noticed they'd put up a post claiming that Apple used the Apple TV's live Internet connection to detect mods and shut down the devices. They've got a handful of confirmations, so it's not definite. But until we find out what's going on, it's probably best to not do anything too tricky to your Apple TV (or just keep it off the Internet).


Pentium chip and OS X make for easy hacking, huh? We should have known it was too good to be true.
Then again, this rumor is unconfirmed. Maybe they broke the Apple TVs using an errant screwdriver or command over SSH. We shall see.

Apple vs Apple TV Hackers [Tutorial Ninjas]



Maybe it's just auto-repair. The AppleTV has three partitions - the boot OS, a backup recovery OS, and the media partition. I suspect what happens is if you hose your boot OS (it's mounted read-only, but hey, bugs happen), the system controller reboots the device into the recovery OS, which reinstalls a fresh copy of the OS and reboots.

Probably some watchdog device isn't being petted and some hack delayed the bootup way too long that forces the recovery. After all, it eliminates the possibility of software corruption from forcing a service call (say, perhaps a software update gets screwed up, a likely possibility when the OS is 400MB in size). Try software update, uh oh, Apple TV broke. Wait a bit, it recovers into the emergency restore OS, restores the original OS, and hey, it's working again.