Apple TV is certainly no iPod, and it's nothing like a stripped-down embedded Linux box. I've concluded that Apple TV as close to a Mac as you can get for $299.At a minimum, Apple TV runs Darwin (Apple's open source UNIX core), and there is enough Mac-grade kick in the presentation layer to support OpenGL, OpenEXR, xpdf, khtml and real-time decoding of video and music, including iTunes DRM-protected content. It has a 48 watt power supply and a measured draw of 20-21 watts, enough for an embedded PC. It is supposedly targeted at consumer HDTVs, yet Apple TV drives a 30-inch Cinema Display at its full native resolution. On the Cinema Display, the graphics and text generated by Apple TV are not scaled up from HD resolution, but are rendered and anti-aliased at the display's native scale. That calls for more graphics RAM (shared RAM, given that Apple TV almost certainly uses Intel's chipset integrated display controller) than a consumer electronics vendor would factor into its parts cost … [Read more...] about Is Apple TV a Mac?