If you haven’t noticed by now, we’re pretty big fans of the Apple TV here at iDownloadBlog, and for good reason.

As we alluded to in our benefits post yesterday, the Apple TV is probably one of the best sub-$99 purchases that money can buy if you’re looking for entertainment.

In this article, we’ll show you another reason why the Apple TV is a must have, and once you own it, why you must jailbreak it. The answer? XBMC.

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uysv7Bmm0ZI[/tube]

Customization

XBMC has an entire community dedicated to custom themes, and that’s sure to make it easy to find a theme that works for you. Themes can also be tweaked and altered to the end users liking, so there’s guaranteed to be something for everyone. In the video demonstration above, I’m using the Refocus theme. In a follow up post, we’ll show you how to install custom themes on your XBMC instance.

Plugins

There are tons and tons of plugins for XBMC. For the Apple TV’s purposes, most plugins will be used for content like movies, music, and video. We’ll tackle a few of our favorites below.

Hulu

We’ve already created a few comprehensive guides to show you how to get Hulu on your jailbroken Apple TV. It’s definitely worth it if you’re a Hulu Plus member. There’s TV shows like the Office, Parks and Recreation, SNL episodes, and host of movies to boot. This, coupled with Netflix, makes the Apple TV ideal for so-called “Cable Cutters”.

Pandora

Indeed, the full Pandora experience is here, and frankly it’s even better that the one you get on a normal desktop. This Pandora experience seems to be devoid of advertisements, which immediately makes it better. It also features a visualizer to help you rock out to your favorite jams.

ESPN

This is what first attracted me to the prospect of jailbreaking my Apple TV, and remains the primary reason why I love it so much. You can stream live basketball, football, and a host of other sports right from the comforts of your Apple TV. You can even watch replays of games that are up to 120 days old. That’s a pretty sweet deal for sports fans.

YouTube

Is it really surprising that XBMC’s YouTube experience is that much better than the one on a stock Apple TV? No. It’s a much cleaner experience with many more options than you get on Apple’s implementation, and we found the search results to be a lot more accurate here as well.

So much more

When it comes to content, we’re not using hyperbole when we say that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Literally, there’s SO MUCH more content to be found on a jailbroken Apple TV running XBMC it’s just insane. Explore a bit, and you’re sure to find some content that will keep you glued to the television screen.

After reading this article, and the benefits to jailbreaking, has your opinion changed at all about Apple’s “hobby” device? If so, let us know what you think in the comments below.