Earlier this month, Apple released an updated version of the AppleTV. I purchased the original AppleTV when it was released in March 2007 and I've always been a big fan. AppleTV provides an easy way to view pictures and video on the TV and to listen to music through a stereo receiver. My family has owned a number of iPods/iPhone/iPads and the AppleTV is a logical extension and integrated through iTunes. I've owned other media extenders over the years (Netgear MP101, Microsoft XBox) and while most over more features at a lower price, I've been willing to pay a premium for a device that works better even though it might be a "hobby" for Apple.
I thought long and hard about purchasing the new AppleTV as I was very happy with my existing, previous generation unit. In fact, there is a great deal of feature overlap between the old and the new. In fact, the new AppleTV loses some functionality that the previous unit had (1080p, hard drive). In the end, for the $99 price, I decided to upgrade. I was most interested in the new Netflix capability in addition to the hope that applications will come to the AppleTV in the future. Apple iOS and uses the same i4 microprocessor that powers new iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.
So far, the new AppleTV hasn't disappointed. It is small and silent and easy to operate through the included remote contol. In addtion, the remote application for iOS in the Apple App Store also works great. The Netflix integration is the killer new feature for me and was the motivation for me to sign up for a new Netflix account. Apple has the best implementation of Netflix anywhere (I also use NetFlixs on my Nintendo Wii). The other features such as pictures, video and music work roughly the same as they did before except now they use streaming through the iTunes Home Sharing feature (with the original AppleTV, you could synch with the built-in hard drive). I'm hopeful that we see additional capabilities and applications added in the near future to better compete with the upcoming GoogleTV which I am also looking at purchasing through Dish Network as a $179 discount (vs. $299 retail).