I'm not an expert on Apple TV or on video. But I think there's a simple explanation as to why Apple won't allow rental of TV shows on the old Apple TV, only on the new version. I've mentioned this on a few threads, but I don't think I've heard back from an "expert", which is why I'm creating this new thread. Most TV such as sitcoms and talk shows is shot with video cameras, not on film. Which means it's 1080i/60Hz or 720p/60Hz. Both of these can be converted to 720p/30Hz relatively simply. This means 1280 x 720 x 30 frames per second. But the old Apple TV can't do 1280x720x30. The hardware isn't capable. It can only do 1280x720x24. Which is fine for movies (usually 24 Hz) but not for TV. So now everyone says "but my old Apple TV can display TV shows just fine". To which I ask: "are you sure you're looking at H.264 at 1280x720x30?" I hypothesize that the answer is NO. I claim you're looking at something with less resolution. For example, you could be looking at 720x400x30, which the old Apple TV will display just fine. BTW there is an app called MediaInfo (on sourceforge) that will tell you this info. So, my hypothesis is that, going forward, Apple wants to encode all rental TV shows in H.264 at 1280x720x30, and the old Apple TV hardware won't support it. Hence the announced limitation. In order to support the older Apple TV hardware for TV rental, Apple would need to maintain two separate encodings of the shows (lower res for old hardware, higher res for new hardware), and Apple has decided NOT to go through that effort. Recent Macs won't have any problems displaying H.264 at 720p at 30 frames per second. That's also in the technical specifications for the iPad and the latest iPhone and the latest iPod touch. The old Apple TV simply loses out. If you email Steve about his, he would probably reply "just buy a new Apple TV, it's only $99."