Stephen Hackett of 512 Pixels has shared how he's deployed and continues to manage over 40 Apple TVs in education:
We use them in classrooms, conference rooms and sound booths for AirPlay from iOS devices and recent Macs. AirPlay works great — even across VLANs — if you have your network set up well.
When the original Apple TV launched in 2007 with a stripped-down version of OS X Tiger and a hard drive on board, there was some hope it could be used as an ultra-low-cost Mac. Not much came of it. In 2010, Apple switched the Apple TV to iOS and streaming, and while massive media power can still be found (or hacked) therein, dreams of the commodity Mac seemed to evaporate.
While the little black boxes obviously can't replace a Mac mini -- or any Mac -- for general purpose computing, Hackett shows how the technologies it uses, including Home Sharing, can be a good solution for very specific things. And he includes both the downsides and the trade-offs.
Give it a read.
Source: 512 Pixels