I really want to like the Apple TV. I think it’s a great idea and has a huge amount of potential. However, it’s deep ties to iTunes and the iTunes libraries of device owners essentially makes it a low-value (so low as to be effectively not worth the AU$449 it costs) device for us Australians.
For US owners, for whom a wealth of television and movies are available through the iTunes Store, there’s obvious and demonstrable value. If I was in the US, I could happily and relatively cheaply download all my favorite shows plus the occasional film from the iTS, pass them to my Apple TV and watch them to my heart’s content.
Here in Australia, where no television shows or movies are available through iTS, the value proposition offered by the Apple TV out of the box is questionable at best. The hackability of the device offers alternatives to a very small number of potential purchasers who might be able to add video downloaded through other sources to their Apple TV. But for the vast majority of (potential) purchasers, hacking their Apple TV is never going to happen.
For the time being, despite the additional cost, an AU$949 Mac Mini with Wireless Mighty Mouse (AU$109), Apple Wireless Keyboard (AU$99), appropriate cables and equinux’s MediaCentral (US$29.85) offers better value given the capabilities offered. I’m not sure how you’d add 802.11n to a Mini, but even if you ran CAT-6 through the walls, it’d work a treat.
Hey, you could even get yourself a Buffalo LinkTheater for around AU$500.
I’d love to hear that I’m completely wrong on this, but I don’t think I am. Let me know your thoughts.