Whether you like Apple TV or not, last100 (via AwkwardTV) reports it’s relatively easy now to create plug-in applications with the unofficial AppleTV software development kit (SDK). In a closed ecosystem like AppleTV, having a hacker’s SDK is probably crucial to acceptance and proliferation among the geek community.
What will be interesting to me is how the Apple development environment ends up comparing to deliberately-open TV environments. For example, the Open Cable Application Platform (OCAP) is designed to make it easy for third parties to create cable set-top applications. Motorola (my employer), among others, has introduced an OCAP SDK that will be packaged alongside a Motorola set-top for anyone who wants to build apps for cable TV hardware. Mind you, we’re probably talking about development shops as opposed to individuals, but I do wonder how innovation will play out differently in an open environment versus a proprietary one. And yes, I do recognize the irony in considering cable TV an open environment.