Apple announced that it would be rolling out an update for AppleTV at MacWorld a couple of weeks ago but didn't specify a specific date it would be available. The three or so of you who own one will be pleased to know you can now grab your system a free upgrade from not-much-good to not-too-shabby.
Maybe I'm being a bit harsh on the original AppleTV (my one and only experience wasn't a favourable one) but even die-hard Apple fans will admit that the new software package adds a slew of features that should really have been there from the off. Most notable among these is the addition of HD (and standard def) film downloads - with a 100-strong launch range.
Better yet, these downloads no longer require a PC running iTunes to access, although syncing is possible both ways, making the AppleTV the autonomous device it was supposed to be. Personally I believe this is the edge Apple needed to differentiate its device away from the slew of fuller featured (DivX playback anyone?) and arguably better alternatives.
According to the word on the street, the update shouldn't take too long to download on an average broadband connection and about 10 minutes to install which is pretty good. The same word also has it that the HDMI output will now go up to 1080p (as opposed to the 1080i limit previously). No content is actually available at this resolution on iTunes though and it's debatable whether the hardware inside the box could even decode it if there was - nonetheless it's still a welcome addition. So, what are you waiting for? If you have an AppleTV go get this now if you're American and go pester Apple to release the UK update if you're a fellow Brit.