In the middle of all the hype surrounding the iPhone, the Apple TV has finally been hacked to enable the use of an external USB hard drive as the main storage for music and movies. Originally the Apple TV shipped with a measly 40GB, though Apple has since added a 160 GB drive option.

The patch was published over the weekend by the AppleTVHacks crew, allowing Apple TV owners to hook up an external drive to the little set-top device. To get things to work you will need an SSH-enabled Apple TV, an Intel Mac, an installed version of Mac OS X 10.4, an unmodified copy of the ‘mach_kernel.prelink’ file from the Apple TV, and an external USB drive formatted using “Journaled HFS+”.

At the moment, the patch only seems to work with the original 1.0 Apple TV software, rather than the newer version 1.1. Detailed instructions on how to install the hack are available here.