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Ask the MACist -- Getting an AppleTV?

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Welcome to the latest edition of "Ask the MACist", the column where I answer your Macintosh and other technology questions. Our question this week comes from Jeff in Santa Monica. He asks: "Ok, I'm tempted to get an Apple TV but what will it do for me and is it worth the price?"

Well, as always our readers come up with the best questions. And in this case, the most topical as well considering that the AppleTV just started shipping last week and only recently did your favorite Mac specialist, The MACist, get his hands on one to put through its paces. As I continue to explore the various capabilities, pluses and minuses of the AppleTV, I may end up coming to a different conclusion than three or four days of working with the device provided.

That said, unless I find something seriously lacking with the device or a giant flaw suddenly rears its head, I feel confidant enough to render an opinion now. What is that opinion? Well, the answer, as it often is, depends on several factors -- not the least of which is whether you have an extra $300 (or more, see below) burning a hole in your pocket. Yes, the AppleTV is rather pricey for what it does but what it does it does very well. You won't find it done better on any other device out there.

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But should you get one? Yes, I think you should, provided you consider the following before you make your decision.