1. Keep using it
Just because you have a new Apple TV doesn’t mean you can’t continue to use the old one. iTunes 10 still supports the old dear and, unlike with the new Apple TV, you needn’t have a computer running iTunes to play the media in your iTunes library. Just sync the content you wish to enjoy to your old Apple TV and then quit iTunes or shut down your computer. The content on the Apple TV’s hard drive will play just as it always has.
Additionally, the original Apple TV lets you use the device with a TV or AV receiver’s Component inputs. If your second TV (the one not plugged into the newest Apple TV) lacks an HDMI port but does have Component inputs, you’re in business.
2. Upgrade it
If you intend to keep the old Apple TV because of its internal storage, you may wish to upgrade that storage, particularly if you have an original Apple TV with its 40GB drive. To do the job you must open the Apple TV, remove its hard drive, clone the contents of the original hard drive to a new hard drive, and then reassemble the Apple TV.
3. Hack it
The original Apple TV focused almost exclusively on your iTunes library and the iTunes Store. And, for many people, that scope was too limited. With the help of a USB memory stick and one of a couple of utilities, your Apple TV can stream not only media from iTunes and the iTunes Store, but also content from a host of Internet-based sources–including Pandora, PBS, BBC, CNN, Onion News Network, NPR, Vimeo, CollegeHumor, TWiT TV, G4, and Shoutcast Radio.
unplug the power from your Apple TV, connect the memory stick to the Apple TV’s USB port, and plug in the Apple TV’s power cord. It boots from the memory stick (running a version of Linux), which then patches the Apple TV’s operating system. That patch allows you to install applications and use the XBMC and Boxee home media applications to watch and listen to streaming media. You can additionally stream the media on your Mac to these applications by adding network drives as media sources.
4. Sell it
For some people, the most important feature of the Apple TV isn’t Netflix streaming, video rentals, or small size–it’s the hard drive. The type of person who wants to dump his or her content onto a 40GB or 160GB Apple TV hard drive instead of leaving an iTunes-laden media server running may be happy to pay you for your slightly outdated hunk of technology. In recent eBay auctions, people have successfully unloaded older Apple TVs for $ 50 to $ 100.
5. Do something else
And, of course, you needn’t use it as a media device at all. If you’ve moved on to the new Apple TV and have no intention of looking back, you can rip out its hard drive and plunk it into an old PATA enclosure or Mac. Or locate its original packing, tuck it carefully away, and hope that in 20 years it will be a unique enough oddity that you can sell it for loads of e-credits on an eBay of the future.
Or, if nothing else, move it into the kitchen, plug it in, and use it as a convenient hot plate to warm up your soup.