Originally Posted by Amorph
I'm not suggesting that the AppleTV can't be improved. Right now it's... interesting. But I'm not sure that its OK reception in the market is a reason to sell a more complicated version at more than twice the price.
I think its more along the lines of giving the Mini a better feature set as a home media server than upgrading the aTV to mini like specs given the thread title.
I dunno that there is a home media server for cheaper than the mini. The only thing it lacks is hard disk space (solvable via a NAS) and the lack of HDMI out.
The mini is quiet enough for the living room...especially if you stick the active drives on a NAS in the den or something. 1080p web surfing is "good enough" that it doesn't suck quite as bad as WebTV did back when so a bluetooth keyboard allows it to also serve light duty as a general family PC (email, web, pictures, etc).
Apple COULD potentially just drop the mini and go the aTV + iMac route and just add Safari, Mail and iTunes to the aTV with slightly more memory and perhaps a slightly better processor. And it should be able to manage at the $299 price point.
But that would be a real shame and really...for a lot of folks a 1080 "monitor" + the mini + BT keyboard & mouse + airport extreme + disk + 802.11 enabled printer would be a perfectly fine for home use.
Heck, while I fiddle around with photos and movies, 90% of the time I barely do anything in iLife that I couldn't comfortably do from my couch. I'd rather have a mini + PS3 for $1100 than aTV + 20" iMac for $1500 assuming I had a decent HDTV already.