Personally, I’m tired of the silly showboating about “if it can’t give me 1080p with HD audio it’s worthless” or some such.
The reality is that online streaming is not there yet. If that is what you need, stick with 100% BR rentals and watch your stuff on your BR player/BR capable streamer.
Now if you can be the least bit pragmatic to appreciate that you can enjoy the full glory of BRs for some stuff and still enjoy the convenience of online streaming (even if the quality is nowhere close to BR) for other stuff, you can open your options up a lot.
As for a la cart pricing, I’ve said this before, but my opinion on it is similar to bottled water. You’re wasting your money if you stock the pantry next to your faucet with the stuff on a daily basis, but buying a cold bottle of water while out and about is money well spent for the convenience.
Same for online content, if you are buying individual shows for daily consumption you are wasting your money as you can most likely stock up on shows you want to watch by going with Netflix or hulu subscriptions, etc. But if you have a couple of shows you want to watch (or even one or two series you want to watch right now) the convenience of buying them on the spot can be beneficial.
That said, getting back to the actual appleTV, I see the feature of playing something off your ipad or iphone as a complete gimmick, and something that only an iSheep would find novel or amazing. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m actually using my smartphone or netbook (closest I have to an ipad) for websurfing or other activities *while* watching TV and with the limited I/O those things have the experience would be quite poor if they also had to support the wireless streaming of local content. If you’re going to open the appleTV up to being more than just a streamer of internet content, then just give it proper network streaming protocols and be done with it.
Really, I see this new AppleTV as a competitor to the Roku boxes. It seems to have similar (but more expensive) pricing to the Rokus with what I would assume more restrictive DRM licensing. Without looking the spec sheets of the two over with a fine tooth comb, what (other than the apple logo and marketing) does the AppleTV offer that makes it better than the Roku?