For months and months I have been flipping back and forwards between buying an Apple TV / Mac Mini as a media player / server for home.
We currently use an old Dell PC that runs both iTunes and the rest of the video, music etc we have on our network.
When I say network I mean the couple of USB drives attached to the old PC.
The problem with the PC is it's really old, it's really slow AND when it heats up (and it does heat up) it sounds like a 747 is taking off in our media cabinet.
I thought about getting a new PC and running Windows 7 Media Center, but the cost of a new PC and also having to deal with Windows after converting myself to a MAC boy is just too much to bear.
We don't really record much if any TV or watch TV shows with any regularity so my need for a DVR to record TV is not really an issue.
My biggest issue with Apple TV has always been the inability to have media on hard drives attached to the network, but after a lot of research I have found there are two solutions for this,
The first is to run the old DELL PC as an iTunes server and share the iTunes library to the Apple TV.
The second is to 'hack' the apple TV and use the popular Boxee application to stream all the data.
In doing even more research, I also discovered that I can 'Network Attach' all my USB drives if I use the Apple Airport Extreme, as you can add a powered USB hub to the Airport Extreme easily with minimum fuss and you don't need a PC to be on.
I will most likely get an Apple TV and an airport Extreme this month some time and initially just transfer all my main iTunes media over to the Apple TV and then use BOXEE for the stuff that I have never transferred to iTunes
At least with the Airport Extreme I will no longer have to reboot the wireless router every time I want to use the iPhone Remote with itunes any more!
And yes I am geek...