Let me speak for the new Apple tv for a second.
I invested in one and use it a lot. I can stream iTunes match from it, without downloading the songs.
Though the number of apps on it are limited, I find I use several like podcasts and youtube. Using the Apple tv I don't have to be cabled up with hdmi, which for me is a real inconvenience. I can be using my iPad 3, see a video, just click on the airplay icon, and the apple tv starts up, and the video plays on the tv.
I think it will change a lot in a few months with ios 6, and with mountain lion letting airplay work straight from the Mac. But today, I find my investment in the apple tv to be working out.
Yup, if cabling is inconvenient (this is what I've also referred to in my post), AirPlay i may be the better choice. However, if you
- want to show closed captions in iTunes Store movies (or subtitles in your own MOV ones) whenever available,
- want to mirror the screen as stuttering-less as possible (iPad 2/3, iPhone 4S),
- want to play back non-MOV (mp4 / m4v) videos,
the cabled (HDMI adapter) version will be much better. Unfortunately, the vastly reduced Wi-Fi speed simply doesn't make it possible to stream non-MOV (mp4 / m4v) videos and/or just mirror the screen as good and flawlessly as with a cabled connection.
(BTW, I own both an ATV3 and both the HDMI and the VGA adapters. I've played a lot with all the three solutios, including video streaming and playback.)
Thanks for yor replies.
I think my main use for TV connectivity would actually be mirroring rather than video playback so the HDMI cable may become an issue, especially as the TV is quite a distance from the seats.
Having said that, after both of your comments on pros and cons, I might see about getting both an Apple TV and a HDMI adapter (already got spare HDMI cables so that'll reduce the costs a bit).
I can see myself using the streaming features of Apple TV especially as most of my videos and music are already on iTunes ready for use on my iPad or iPod touch when I want them.
I can then always use the HDMI adapter if I want perfect streaming or use another HDTV not connect to the Apple TV.
Thanks again for all the replies. Although I could only pick one of your replies as "this solved my question"' they all did!
I've managed to get a brand new Apple TV 3 and HDMI adapter off eBay from sellers with excellent feedback and saved myself some money. In fact, the price I paid for both is only a little over the RRP of the Apple TV on its own!
I'll be able to use the Apple TV in the living room for streaming and AirPlay and will use the HDMI adapter with my TV/monitor in my bedroom where I often sit to type out documents and wok in general on the iPad.