AppleTV + Flickr Interestingness

UPDATE2: I no longer use my Apple TV, so this is no longer being updated. I have made the source code available on github for anyone who’s interested.

UPDATE: One change from the original… It now only selects photos with a Creative Commons license. This means there are less than 250 new photos each day. To maintain the 250 photo set, it adds all the new photos and drops the same number of the oldest photos. That way there are always approximately 250 photos. For example, if there are 30 new photos one day, they will be added and the 30 oldest will be removed.

When at home, I listen to most of my music through AppleTV. This means the TV is on a lot, so I’d like an interesting screen saver. Unfortunately, AppleTV falls a little short in this area. It can rotate a set of photos as the screen saver, but you can only choose from a small group of Apple photos, your own iPhoto collection, or photos from a specific Flickr account. I like my photos, but don’t want to look at them all the time, and I had a hard time finding a Flickr user with a large enough album to keep things interesting.

What I really wanted was a way to display the Flickr interestingness collection. Interestingness is a pool of, you guessed it… interesting photos, that changes all the time. Unfortunately, since AppleTV only provides the ability to link to specific Flickr accounts, you can’t access this dynamic collection.

After searching for a solution, and inspired by this post, I finally came up with workaround. It’s a script that queries photos from interestingness via the Flickr API, then adds them as favorites to a special Flickr account I created called dailypool. The script runs every night, so there are always fresh photos. Since this Flickr account can be viewed by anyone, you can easily link to it on your own AppleTV.

Here’s what you need to do to set it up. This assumes you’re using AppleTV v2.

Add the dailypool Flickr account:

  1. On your remote, press Menu to get to the main menu
  2. Select Photos in the left menu, then Flickr in the right menu
  3. Select Add Flickr Contact, then type dailypool using the onscreen keyboard

Set dailypool favorites as your screen saver

  1. Press the Menu button on the remote until you get back to the main menu
  2. Select Settings in the left menu, then Screen Saver in the right menu
  3. On the Screen Saver screen, scroll down to and select the Slideshow menu
  4. On the Choose Photos screen, select Flickr, then select dailypool, then favorites
  5. Press the Menu button on the remote until you get back to the main menu

That’s it! Next time your AppleTV goes into screen saver mode it should display interestingness photos that will be refreshed every day. Enjoy!

Comments (16) Trackbacks (1)
  1. Hi,

    So I undestand all !! Looking at your favorites to know more about you, i was curious to know how a favorite taken 31 mn before was on a third page….

  2. Hi Jessie – my guess would be that Flickr’s interestingness isn’t in chronological order, so the favorites don’t end up in any particular order.

  3. Thanks for providing this as a free service. It is exactly what I was looking for and makes the experience so much nicer!

  4. Thanks. Just what I was looking for.

  5. Thank you for this service. Exactly what I was looking for.

  6. thank you!

  7. Thanks, it’s fabulous…..

  8. Hi, was wondering if this is still being updated. It doesn’t seem to change much, if at all. Also, is the script available somewhere? I’d like to set up something similar, but with a few customizations, and it would be great to have a place to start.

  9. Hi MB,

    I had kind of forgotten about this. :) To answer your question, no, it’s not running any more. The cron job was running on my old computer and I never set it up to run on the new one since I don’t use my Apple TV anymore. I uploaded the source to github at https://github.com/dwburns/dailypool so you can use it as a basis for your new project. Hope it helps.


  10. Awesome, thanks for the source!

  11. I thought this was not updating! Thanks for doing this, I have never used Ruby, so I am going to post on oDesk, to get someone to convert this to php.


  12. Hi Doug,

    I put this through oDesk but the person who did it, did not have any knowledge of the flickr API, so according to him, the script is 95% complete, there is just a token issue with the flickr API. Do you have any PHP knowledge? Would you be interested in taking a quick look at. I would be more than happy to put the completed script onto github if it works. Please contact me if you are interested.


  13. Cool! That’s a great idea!


  14. Ive been looking for this for 6 months. Thanks so much. You’re an internet saint!!

  15. For those with a jailbroken Apple TV, I have created my own solution that allows you to easily use group photos or the interesting photos (from the Explore page):

  16. Thats still amazing. Thanks a lot!

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