With the announcement of the revamped Apple TV I have been thinking about the future of entertainment in the Williams family room. Currently we have a Tivo Series 2, a cable company supplied Motorola HD PVR, a DVD player, and a mac mini hooked into my overweight 34" Sony HD Trinitron.
The Mac mini is home to our family videos, iTunes purchase, and 26GB of family photos. I purchased one movie ( Happy Feet ) just to try our the Amazon Unbox feature on the Tivo but was disappointed that I am now able to separate adult content from G content with the TiVo Kids Zone feature.
The cable provided Motorola HD PVR? What a piece of crap that thing is! The user interface is not intuitive and has an annoying delay. Aarrgh!!! Cable, please force Motorola to license technology from TiVo or Apple. PLEASE!!!
With TiVo HD I can record standard def or HD broadcast content, buy or rent movies though the partnership with Amazon Unbox, stream content from another PC or Mac in the home, or view sideshows from photobucket or Google's Picasa Web Albums. Amazon Unbox on Tivo is not HD though.
With VuduI have instant access to 1080P HD quality content but lose the recording or music features and will have no access to existing content.
However the other options mentioned also do no allow me to move my purchased or other content around my devices ( PC, Mac and iPods ) at will. With Apple TV I get everything the TiVo has to offer except for broadcast recording.
Will Apple upgrade Front Row and iTunes on OS X so that I can bring similar capabilities to a mac mini? Can I have my cake and eat it too if I price out a Core 2 Duo mac mini with an Elgato device? Those are the questions keeping me from making any purchases at this time.