Originally Posted by james_ant
I have my computer in the same room as my TV probably 8 feet out of the way in a corner of my room with an HDMI cable permanently attached to it. When I want to watch tv I hit a hotkey to switch the tv to the second monitor. From there its a simple matter of selecting what I want to watch and putting it on. It's the simplest setup you could think of and I don't have to take out and put away an hdmi cable every time I want to watch tv.
Not only does a direct connection provide higher quality than streaming over wifi but I don't have to worry about not being able to play certain formats that Apple doesn't like.
In regards to whatever you called jailbreaking. It's still more haste than should be required to be able to play mkv's. Mkv's are a very popular format and many other set top boxes support the container format, there's no reason for apple not to include support for it.
But really what this Apple TV would be aimed at replacing in my home is my PS3 or Xbox that I already use to stream movies from my computer to tv's not close to my main computer. With PS3 Media Streamer
I get the same full support of audio and video formats as my PC does.
Really the person I can see purchasing something like this is someone who has already invested a large amount of money into apples proprietary content and have no other option.
How does streaming over WiFi decrease quality? It just loads faster if you do it via HDMI -- but if you've got a decent router you shouldn't have to wait for it to load anyway.
I'm not sure why iTunes doesn't support mkv's, perhaps it isn't as power efficient as the other formats Apple supports. Remember that Apple sells a lot of iDevices and you use iTunes to sync them, so making sure that the formats available are power efficient is something I'd expect of Apple. That may explain why, I don't think there's any other reason why you'd not allow those formats in iTunes. The Apple TV may not be a mobile device, but it still streams what's in iTunes, and it still runs iOS.
It doesn't take long to install ATV Flash either. It's twenty minutes, and fifteen of that is just waiting for it to burn to a USB drive and install on the ATV, the other five is buying and downloading it. I've done it before on the first generation model and it works pretty well, albeit it was quite laggy due to the weak hardware.
This basically sums up the Apple TV: link
One of the useful things about it is that you can stream your previously bought music, TV shows, etc., and hopefully soon, movies too, but as you mentioned, that's a benefit to being in the iTunes ecosystem.Edited by steelbom - 2/29/12 at 6:38pm