In our review round-up of the Apple TV on Friday I mentioned that Julie Strietelmeier, helmswoman of The Gadgeteer, thought the new media streamer failed to live up to existing products such as Mvix's MX-760HD Wireless HD Media Centre; she also promised a review to show just why that was the case. Well, having read Julie's opinion of the MX-760HD, I can see why she was so impressed; ironically, when users are having to hack the Apple TV to enable DivX and add warranty-killing bigger hard-drives, Mvix comes with a huge bevy of supported standards and positively invites you to crack the box open.
$329 gets you a chassis that you add your own internal hard-drive to... unless you'd rather use an external USB memory stick, or a USB hard-drive, or even a USB DVD drive... or you could just stream media over your network. And you can do that via a wired ethernet or WiFi connection, hooking up to your TV with DVI, component, S-Video or composite outputs. The MX-760HD is all about choice; yes, the MRSP is higher than the $299 Apple are asking for the Apple TV and yes, you have to add your own hard-drive for internal storage, but I'd bet serious money that while Apple will refuse to discount their media centre, you'll easily be able to find the MX-760HD cheaper.
Most importantly, the quality is good. Obviously it depends largely on the quality of the files you're streaming, but Julie reports video output to be better than that of the Mac Mini she previously had hooked up to her TV. Occasionally sluggish remote performance and the some intermittent audio hissing during video playback (which may be due to her cabling rather than the device itself) aren't enough to put her off highly recommending it.
Mvix MX-760HD Wireless HD Media Centre [The Gadgeteer]