Thursday, April 12, 2007

Firefox on Apple TV - Anybody?

For quite a while now I'm looking a for a decent surf box for my living room. I think all the Media-Center-PCs aren't good enough; they are way to big. The other option would be to use one of the new game consoles. But:

  • the Wii doesn't do HDTV (at least until now)

  • the XBox is too loud

  • the PS3 too expensive and consumes too much energy (180 Watts on standby!)

Now there is the new Apple TV box. Actually the perfect hardware for a surf box. Small, quiet and with HDTV support. Fortunately it's running a stripped down version of OSX so it should be no problem to install and run Firefox on it. OK, I can hear the question already, why not Safari? Wait a minute: an unmodified desktop browser (either Safari or Firefox or any other) will be of almost no use. In order to be a perfect surf box there have to be certain modifications:

  • Usage of the Apple Remote because nobody wants to use a mouse in the living room. Sorry Safari but I can't see the support for that (except Apple is doing it them self). It will be hard enough to come up with a good usage scheme to allow page scrolling, link following, bookmark access and so on with the limited keys of the Apple Remote.

  • Running in full screen kiosk mode and get rid of unnessary toolbars.

  • A basic onscreen keyboard will be necessary to enter a URL and fill in forms (but in the beginning a local customizable start page will do).

  • Integration into the Apple TV menu. That should be easy, because this RSS extension already did it.

So in summary Firefox seems to be the perfect browser to try because it can be customized to almost any extent, can be enhanced by a huge collection of extensions and almost all websites support it.

Is anybody working on that? Please let me know.