Got some anti-Apple in you or simply don't think the new Apple TV, no matter how cheap, is worth it in terms of features? Yeah, we feel ya. Let's take a look at what else is out there, shall we?
Above, the newly released Western Digital TV Live Hub ($200) is a 1TB drive paired with media server capabilities. Basically, you load it up with all your multimedia and you'll automatically have the ability to stream to all your set-top boxes, PS3, Xbox 360, and anything else with dLNA support around your house. The fact that the list of formats supported is so broad makes it an even more enticing option:
Video – AVI (Xvid, AVC, MPEG1/2/4), MPG/MPEG, VOB, MKV (h.264, x.264, AVC, MPEG1/2/4, VC-1), TS/TP/M2T (MPEG1/2/4, AVC, VC-1), MP4/MOV (MPEG4, h.264), M2TS, WMV9
Photo – JPEG, GIF, TIF/TIFF, BMP, PNG
Audio – MP3, WAV/PCM/LPCM, WMA, AAC, FLAC, MKA, AIF/AIFF, OGG, Dolby Digital, DTS
Playlist – PLS, M3U, WPL
Subtitle – SRT, ASS, SSA, SUB, SMI
You can read up on a review over at Anandtech.
However, as far as interfaces go, the XBMC-based Boxee software still manages to capture our hearts time and time again with reliable performance, efficient interface, and value (it's free after all). You can also purchase a dedicated Boxee Box for $200 by D-Link.
The Roku HD ($60) is another option if you're looking more into rentals and apps for a cheap price.
The new Google TV box and keyboard set by Logitech, called the Revue ($300), may have the slickness of Logitech's industrial design team going for them, many have complained about poor software performance with failure to load certain TV shows (as stated earlier today, some have been blocked completely). While it's still nice that you can stream media locally, we think we'll wait for version 2 on this one.
You can read the full review of at the Washington Post.
Finally, if you're just looking for a DIY route, we recommend grabbing a reliable home media network-attached storage solution with a gigabit port and stringing together a few hard drives. Just make sure you check all the file formats supported. We still cringe at companies who still manage to fail at supporting all the modern major video and audio formats today.