Stampede to hack new Apple TV box

I was interested to read on the wires that Apple's multimedia box, the $300 Apple TV, released in the US last week, is already being hacked to turn it into a fully-fledged computer.

The unit, which has a 40 GB hard drive and allows streamed video to be piped to a regular TV, comes kitted out with a stripped-down version of OS X, the latest version of the Mac's operating system.

However, the software dev. and Mac hacker forums report that the version of OS X supports most of the basic Mac operating system features, including a directory structure and file format.

Hackers already claim to have swapped out the small hard drive in the unit, as well as allowing secure shell access (SSH) to the machine and enabling the USB port, which had been disabled by Apple in software.

According to newswire reports, one of the first people to compile a complete set instructions for upgrading the Apple TV's hard drive was Ben Drawbaugh, a contributing editor to Engadget.

Reports quote him as saying he was able to work out what the system was doing when he plugged into a standard Apple Mac.

Where it gets really interesting is that the Apple TV has an Intel processor at its heart, allowing the unit to run Windows XP and (in theory at least) Vista using the Parallels software.

Dual operating systems? - not bad for a machine selling for around 160 UK quidlets (in the US, though Brits have to pay 199 quidlets - Ed)...