Everyone loves to hate on Apple as much as some love them. I love Apple products, but try to be impartial. The cliché “It just works” really does apply to most Apple products. TiVo is another company that I really like their products and in the world of getting content off my Mac onto my TV the TiVo lets me down as does MCE. The iTunes ecosystem has got me, no doubt about it and I like it. I like the way iPhoto and iTunes manages my music, videos and pictures and keeps them in sync with my iPod. The management of my content is my favorite part and up until the Apple TV I haven’t been able to easily get this content on my TV. Sure I have a dock that lets me output my iPod to my TV, but the interface on is pretty lame. I could also connect my Series3 to TiVoDesktop and stream them, but the interface is less than elegant and visualizations are a joke. (Not to mention TiVoDesktop doesn’t support Intel macs, where I store my photos). I could also somehow sync my iTunes from my Mac Mini to my MCE and use my Xbox360 to view my photos and pictures on my TV, but again, this is anything but elegant, more like a cluster.
The Apple TV solves all of this by linking iLife to my TV in a elegant way that my wife could use (after I program my Harmony 880 to control my ATV).
At this point you might be saying “But Ben you haven’t even mentioned Video isn’t that the whole point of ATV?”. My answer would be “not for me it isn’t”. I have my Series3 and my Blu-ray player for all my HD video needs and everyone who knows me knows that I only watch HD. Sure I could get HD content via torrents or off a capture card, but it just won’t work as well as my Series3 does and the movies won’t look or sound as good as my Blu-ray player so what is the point? Even if Apple does start to sell HD movies I doubt they will sound or look as good as Blu-ray so the only way I would buy them is if I really wanted to see a movie that wasn’t available for Blu-ray which doesn’t seem very luckily at this point since both Disney and Paramount make Blu-ray movies. Sure I may convert a movie or TV show at some point in time to watch via ATV, but for me it is all about my music and my photos on my HDTV in a brain dead way that “Just works”.