It's very sad to see that Apple TV is unfairly falling into a downward spiral. Maybe all the negative reviews it had received from all over has kept people away from buying it, or worse, even trying it. This is so true that you will only see a dozen of these for sale here on eBay, which did not even set a place for consumers to review the product! The only certain place on where you will find it for sale today is at Apple Store - online or physical. So this is why instead of writing a product review, I will write a guide to point out why I think Apple TV is a good product.
It might not be a state-of-the-art invention, but, honestly, should deserve a lot more respect. Most of negative reviews make some sense at one point or another, but for the most part, this is an amazing device.
Most people are still attached to the traditional media formats (CDs and DVDs) and really don't like the idea of having to own a computer and set up a home network (either wired or Wi-Fi) just to be able to sync content from iTunes Store. I have to say that this is really a downside for a great amount of people at this time. Like one reviewer said, it would be a lot better if users could take the advantage of Wi-Fi connection capability to purchase and download content directly from the remote control and leave the PC or Mac dependence for a while. Well, this is a software matter and hopefully Apple will provide updates in the future that will make this possible. If we are already able to watch Movie Trailers and YouTube videos seamlessly on Apple TV and if the iPhone and iPod (Touch) have now the capability to access the iTunes Store wirelessly through a simple software update, it won't be difficult to happen the same thing for Apple TV.
Some people also tell that videos purchased at iTunes Store has an inferior quality compared to DVDs. Is that true? Well, it is. But it is not awfully bad as people say and the image quality is more than satisfactory. The video has a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels and the compression rate is at 1.5 Mbps, more than half of a DVD file, nice enough for viewing.
The biggest mistake of its marketing campaign and all reviews out there is saying that Apple TV will only work with HDTV-ready and widescreen TV sets. Is that true? For God's sake...noooo!!!! If your TV has at least video component inputs (doesn't have to be HDTV to have video component inputs - and if your TV hasn't, do yourself a favor and go buy a new one), then you can connect the device normally, and the result on TV is great, even if it is not widescreen. Apple should be ashamed on how they advertised their own product on this matter!
There are a lot of software applications (like the all-free Handbrake) which allow you to convert your DVDs into files that can be easily transfered not only to Apple TV, but also for iPods and iPhones. So if you wish to reduce space on your shelf, converting videos to put them on Apple TV is an interesting choice.
My Apple TV has only brought me happiness so far (I have this for 4 months now). The only mistake I did was to buy the 40 GB version, which now appears to be too tiny to hold all the videos I want. But you can do a smarter choice and, by spending $100 more, you can get an amazing 160 GB version that will keep you entertained for quite a good time.