To make a long story extremely short, I got a 160GB AppleTV this weekend. It's pretty neat.
While I am a Windows guy when in comes to my computers, all of my music is ripped into my iTunes collection, I own several iPods, and I love my iPhone. I occasionally had rented episodes of missed TV shows on iTunes too. So with my new HDTV, I thought that my family would enjoy an AppleTV. I was correct.
As with most things Apple, it was a breeze to set up. Extremely easy to use too.
Since we're all about sound quality here, I will say that the SQ is excellent, though of course dependent on the source. Unlike some people, I actually think the 256kbs iTunes+ stuff sounds great, so I have several albums of that. I also buy music from Amazon, as I think their 256kbs MP3's sound pretty good too. All of my CD's have been ripped in either Apple Lossless or 320kbs AAC, depending on how important the music is to me. I had been using a DLO Homedock + iPod Classic to get my content from my collection to my Axiom system. The AppleTV sounds much better. Music was the primary reason I bought the thing, and I'm absolutely thrilled with having my whole music collection easily accessible in our den, and with excellent quality. The ability to shop the iTunes store from the couch is both neat and dangerous. We spent a good hour or so just browsing and finding new music to enjoy on our system. Two thumbs up.
I also played around with video. Even the SD content stuff looks pretty good. Certainly not HD, but it seems better than the SD stuff we get via Dish Network. We rented 10,000BC in HD, and the picture and sound quality were excellent. It is only 720p, but it was otherwise every bit as good as the HD PPV we've done via our Dish Network receiver. I'm sure it's not as good as blu-ray, but for us, we're thrilled with the quality.
The photo stuff is also fun. We didn't think it would be that interesting. But I took the time to sync up all 20,000+ photographs in our family collection to it. It's surprisingly fun to look through our family photos on the big-screen, especially with nice musical selections playing. Also neat in that the AppleTV can use your photos as a screen saver while playing music. Lots of, 'oh wow, remember that!' moments while enjoying music. Neat stuff.
For anyone considering one, I'd be happy to answer any questions about it.
M80v2 | VP150v2 | QS8v2
SVS Pci+ 20-39
Emotiva UMC-1 & LPA-1
M22ti + T-Amp, in the Office