Add Features to Apple TV Using Automator

One of the things I really wish the Apple TV had was widgets. I'd find them far more useful on my TV than I do on my computer. Specifically, widgets that would show me the weather and TV schedules. So what do you do? Shove that content in any way possible!

The Apple TV can show images and things like weather and tv schedules are pretty easy to find on the web as images, or at least data that you can use to generate your own images. I was lucky enough to find a local TV station that hosts plain ol' jpegs of the weather at a fixed location. You get these by clicking on them in the website, perfect.

Through some trial and error in Automator, I came up with this set of actions.

  1. Get Specified URLs - The ones that show the weather

  2. Download URLS - Pull the content locally

  3. Rename Finder Items - I tack on the date and time, mostly for initial testing, but eventually I'll set this up to run on a regular basis and I don't want to mess with the dupe import dialog in iPhoto

  4. Import Photos into iPhoto - I made a Weather album that I'm importing into. I then set the Apple TV to sync the weather album and I'm all set.

This is pretty rough still. I haven't figured out a good way to clean out the old weather images and I haven't yet set a cron to make sure I have current data on the Apple TV. The final hurdle is figuring out how often the Apple TV autosyncs, or perhaps a way to force the sync programatically.

I already mentioned TV listings, but I'm sure you can think of all sorts of content you could sync, such as contact data, RSS feeds, Netflix queues, email headers, and on and on.

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