A quick thought on the AppleTV box…
Not only does it look like half a Mac Mini – that’s probably rather close to what it actually is. It has about half the hard disk space, for example, and is about half the price.
It has a better set of A/V connectors on the back, but the main thing it’s missing, from my point of view, is a DVD drive.
“Aha!”, you may say. “That’s because it’s not meant to be a PC – it’s meant to stream video from your PC, and your PC will have a DVD slot.” Yes, but DVD video is not very highly compressed, and streaming it over a wireless network, though it should in theory be possible, might be a bit challenging. So you’d have to rip the DVD to some other format on your PC before viewing it on your AppleTV, which can take all night.
Apple, of course, would like some aspects of this – it means it’s much easier simply to buy your movies through iTunes. And it is true that buying or renting movies on DVD is going to be ever-less-important over the coming years.
But I’ve had a Mac Mini under my TV for some time now, and it’s been great. It will do almost everything the AppleTV will do and a lot more, so I’m going to stick with that for a while.