I'd always considered switching to a Media PC setup, but didn't want to spend an exorbitant amount of money, or end up with another computer. (I already have three: the main desktop, a MacBook Air, and a handheld UMID - and that's after I winnowed the pack a bit by selling the weakest links on eBay.) So I looked at the various media player options available - sort of like lobotomized Media PCs, with basic interfaces - and decided on the Western Digital WD TV Live Streaming Media Player.
|You know we've come a long way when the controller is nearly as big as the device itself.|
Set up was relatively straightforward, and despite a contrary account from one of the Amazon reviewers, firmware updates were relatively speedy and painless. It takes a while for the device to catalogue your files, but you can access them even while it's sorting things out. It plays virtually every file I throw at it (except the new 10-bit encoded mkvs that some anime fansubbers have switched to), and essentially has obviated my need for a DVD player. (In a pinch, my Xbox 360 or ancient PS2 could pinch hit for a DVD player.)
My only gripe (which might just be me not having figured out how to do it yet) is that it plays your files one at a time, meaning that if you have a bunch of episodes in a single folder, you can't simply press play and have it cycle though the entire folder's contents on its own. Otherwise, the WD TV is a nifty device for bringing your media from your computer to your TV, and is a fair deal at just under $100. If you're as dependent on internet sources for your media as I am, it's well worth the investment.