“If you have a high-definition television, you should be watching high-definition movies,” Julio Ojeda-Zapata reports for The Pioneer Press. “The newly updated Apple TV set-top box makes this easy. The slim Internet device, which connects to an HDTV, serves up dozens of high-definition rentals and hundreds of standard-definition versions, with more titles on the way from all the major movie studios.”

Ojeda-Zapata reports, “And it does so directly, without a computer as an awkward intermediary… Though HD-rental selection on the Apple TV remains a bit sparse (see accompanying article for comparisons with other movie-rental devices and services), I adore the Apple TV for reasons that go beyond movies.”

“The Apple TV is a joy to use via Apple’s signature mini-remote, the same one offered with its Macintosh machines. The Apple TV has a simplified menu that gets you quickly to flicks, TV shows, music, podcasts, photos and YouTube

“The Apple TV proved to be a godsend for one of my family’s recent movie nights. We didn’t want to go out into the bitter cold for a store rental, and we didn’t have anything good from Netflix. I had earlier attempted to download Disney’s ‘The Game Plan’ on a loaner Xbox 360, which was hardwired into my network and connected to the Xbox Live Marketplace e-store, but the movie was barely trickling from cyberspace (a download issue others have noted),” Ojeda-Zapata reports.

“So, I gave up on the Microsoft console and rented ‘The Game Plan’ on the Apple TV. It downloaded quickly (partly because this title isn’t in high definition) and was ready for watching soon after the download initiated. Viewing was flawless; ditto for ‘Garfield,’ another family-night rental,” Ojeda-Zapata reports.

“Apple TV has emerged as a movie-rental contender with gobs of great extras. If you gave the original a pass, take another look,” Ojeda-Zapata reports.

More in the full review, which includes the same quibble with the movie studios that every reviewer seems to have, “rental terms are a bit restrictive; once you start watching a rented flick, you have to finish within 24 hours” — Hollywood are you listening?! — here.

MacDailyNews Note: Apple TV 2.0 is amassing quite a collection of positive reviews which bodes well for the device going forward.