Some analyst, I invested heavily in Apple when iTunes was introduced because it's merits were so obvious. But Apple TV seems headed for nowhere given the hardware and rental ommissions listed in this thread. And, TIVO cannot be written off yet for these reasons:
TIVO has signed with both Comcast and recently Cox. Starting this summer 30 million Comcast subscribers will be offered a TIVO premium service using the Comcast DVR.
Tunes are cheap -- movies are'nt and the movie/video industry doesn't want Apple to get a stranglehold on pricing. There are a lot of not so silent partners getting on board with TIVO. These include major studios not on Apples board and major advertisers who are desparate to breakout of the limitations of the old 30 second spot that is being blasted out of existence by fast forwarding. In a recent promotional agreement with Fandango and Warners a TIVO user could get tickets for Warner's Brothers "300" at any local theatre by simply using the remote to plug in a zip code--your name, credit card, address etc. is already on file with TIVO. In alternative advertising TIVO is being very innovative. Just, remember what Ad Sense did for Google. For more about advertising see http://www.tivo.com/5.5.asp
The TIVO is simple and elegant in its interface solely using a remote. For the typical coach potato it is all they need or want. Within a year one will only need the TIVO remote to download an Unbox movie. It's hardly a stretch to imagine browsing through categories of movies fed from it's Amazon Unbox partner via TIVO Central to your TIvo/TV--they already have the software.
Going through ones computer to download is just one more barrier but only a small one with Unbox. You can order Unbox movies at work and in two hours or less see them at home on a HD Tivo at its best quality recording--certainly better than Comcast on Demand. Once your TIVO and Amazon accounts are setup, Unbox gives you a simple choice in a popup as to which DVR you want it streamed directly to, e.g. the library or rec room DVR.
Actually the best part of the Apple HD video strategy is the Apple Airport Extreme (n). It really flew with my Comcast premium cable and Amazon Unbox servers. Even TIVO's 802.11 (g) wireless adapter did not seem to slow it down that much. I successfully downloaded movies direct to my two Series (3) HD-Tivo boxes. I was downloading 1.5 hour movies in thirty minutes and they looked great--near HD quality with no glitches or video artifacts that Comcast sometimes gives me. At these speeds I will redownload any purchase from my Amazon Media Library rather then waste any of my 30 HD hours on my TIVO, but mostly I will rent to view within 30 days.
By comparison I also downloaded a first season of Grey's Anatomy from iTunes. Watching the dowload window in Safari I was amazed to see it downloading 3 episodes at the same time in less than 30 minutes on the Mac Pro Quad. I would guess that it is using three cores of my Quad for processing downloads while reserving the 4th for my Safari/ online functions.