I also read many of the comments on digg, engadget, etc. Many of these weren’t so positive (many where of course). I think that the negative comments are coming from people who have missed the point. Sure, one could build a media center PC themselves that could do more than the iTV. But for every one person able to do it there are hundreds of thousands that can’t, don’t want to or have never even thought about it. It’s those millions of people for whom this news matters.
For me, technology is a lifestyle. There are six computers in our house, a fiber connection, a NAS device, a wired and wireless network, three satellite TV tuners, an Xbox, three digital cameras, four GameBoys, an iPod, two GPS receivers, two XM radios, etc. Four or five years ago I put together a media center PC and wired it to our TV, I found a card that allowed me to make an old PC into a VOIP gateway and tried that out for a while (it totally sucked and I switched back). I love technology, but it can be a total pain in the ass.
For most people though, technology is the often inconvenient means to an end. For people who love technology, they will continue to buy and upgrade and tune and tinker. For people who want to watch TV or a movie with their kids, they’ll select the path of least resistance. Technology companies understand this; that’s why Apple wants to be in your den, living room, car and pocket.
Yes, people can piece together solutions for media and entertainment themselves, but Apple is offering people a unified and common user experience across media types, devices and settings. That has value.