I am re-evaluating the possibility of using an Apple-TV for my HTPC. The advantage is that this is a device that was designed to be a HTPC from day one. It has all the right connections and is also low-powered. Furthermore, it turns out that XBMC is supported on the Apple-TV. The Apple-TV can be had for about RM1250 (GBP 216) from certain re-sellers in Malaysia (it is listed at RM1450 at the Apple store).
The only potential disadvantage is the lack of support for full-HD content. All references point to the fact that the Apple-TV is only able to decode HD-ready (720p) content but will upscale it to full-HD (1080p). This is not a serious problem at the moment for all of my available media are mainly SD content. Furthermore, I don’t see this situation changing anytime soon simply because there isn’t that much full-HD content available anyway.
Another difficulty may be with the ability to integrate the Apple-TV onto my home network. If I were to get the Apple-TV, I would be getting the 40GB one, which severely limits the amount of media it can store. So, the Apple-TV would need to stream the data off the network. It has got both wired and wireless network connections. However, it would need the correct software to be running on the network in order to work properly. Firefly doesn’t seem to support streaming videos at the moment.
This may be solved by installing XBMC on the Apple-TV. It is certainly capable of running as a standalone application.
Certainly something to consider. It would be easier to get this than some of the other options.