"Good but still limited"3.0 starson by LeeC850
Pros: Small size and easy set-up make it ideal for first time users plus the popularity of the iPod, iPhone and iPad has made everyone familiar with the iTunes store and how it works.
Cons: Not expandable.
No internal storage except buffering.
Summary: I have had an Apple TV since generation 1 first came out and it directly led to me dropping my cable subscription completely. Needless to say I was very pleased when I heard Apple was going to be taking this fine product off the back burner and give it a much needed update. Unfortunately I don't think Apple listened to the complaints about their first attempt because in most cases they made the problems worse not better.
The first generation Apple TV's connected to your iTunes library via sync and was listed under the "devices" menu on iTunes. What this means is that as long as the Apple TV was on it retained your listing of shows and showed them quickly in the menu. The latest version connects via something Apple has called "home sharing" and it's functions have not been so smooth. It does not stay connected and every time you try to see your home library it pulls the information down all over again. So for those of us who have extensive library's this is not a quick process. It also tends to just not work way to often and requires you to turn home sharing off and on to try and connect to your library again.
The next change confused me even more. They removed the internal storage completely and offered no way to expand the device to accommodate this fact. The old version didn't exactly have massive storage at 160GB (largest) but at least it was something. I understand the minimalist design they were going for but the old version wasn't exactly huge so I am unclear on what was accomplished by making it even smaller other then removing features that were actually good to have. The internal storage allowed for downloading large files all at once and then not having to burden your network while you were watching it. As far as expandability goes this just seems an odd choice to make yet again (generation 1 didn't have that ability either). As people's iTunes library's continue to grow this is going to become a serious limitation unless they can get home sharing to work smoothly without regard to size of the library.
What did improve with the Generation 2 was the streaming capability and smooth operation. When home sharing is working it can download and buffer TV shows and movies almost seamlessly. About the only limitation I have noticed is if you want to immediately jump to a certain section of a program you have to wait a few minutes till it buffers up to that point.
As a streaming device and internet connection the new Apple TV is a huge success. As a means to watch your iTunes library content on your TV... it could use some work.