We have our Apple TV since roughly a year and there are definite times when I really enjoy the ability to be connected within my living room to my desktop machine in the office which hosts my large iTunes library. It has been years since I last used our 5 disc CD changer – since my first iPod to be exact, which once again shows how much Apple has changed our ways – and in its place came the Apple TV.

Our TV is already choke full with stations we can’t keep up with, no matter how hard we try, and for this reason we barely browse iTunes latest hits. Even YouTube gets only very sporadic visits.

My big beef with iTunes music videos is that for some unknown reason Apple has decided NOT to allow to shuffle them and to let us play them all, one after the other. You pretty much have to sit down and watch a single music video and then select the next one to play. NOT useful when I’m cleaning the kitchen and have my hands full of dish detergent and old cat food!

Photos is one of the other biggies with the Apple TV, but my photo collection is so big that I a) don’t keep it in my iPhoto library and b) need to do some serious organizing before I could point the Apple TV to it as THE photo folder. In a futile attempt to get something cool really quickly I did copy a few hundred photos from our Europe trip to a dedicated Apple TV folder, but even this is weak, needs a lot of tweaking to be really interesting. Main problem here is that when I take deliberately photos (versus some snapshots) there will be a whole bundle of the same item and who wants to see THAT over and over in a loop as music background?!

For all these reasons I rarely cared what is playing on the screen, just had the photo slideshow running to keep the plasma screen busy.

But this has now all changed.

Completely changed.

The old options remain and you probably also have heard that you now can rent directly a movie for a whooping $4.99 – (HD version, before taxes!) which you have to watch within 24 hours – so, no falling asleep and then catching up 3 days later buddy! As cool the freedom is to be able to get instantly the movies down and running, this is not what makes me jumping with joy.

The absolute sugar topping with the new Apple TV comes in the form of having Flick’r on the big screen TV. Watching your own streams is quite entertaining because these photos are presentable – else you wouldn’t have put them up onto Flick’r in the first place, right? But it is not even that but the fact that you can run the streams of your contacts! The stuff you usually don’t have the time to see them all – especially not if you have a ton of friends and contacts.

Running Bitter:Sweet and Jessica Hoop while watching some 200 “design inspiration” photo collection of a contact of mine I had arrived in true electronics heaven.