So, my living-room Xbox 360 recently red-ringed - again. It is a launch unit, and before they announced the extended warranty, I had opened the box; since, you know, it was out of warranty anyway. So, I repaired it myself using a kit from Llama. Worked great for a while, but now it's dead again. I'm tired of dealing with it: it's loud, unreliable, and honestly the downloadable content available on the Xbox video marketplace has gotten pretty stagnant. It's important to note that I used that Xbox almost exclusively for video and music downloading/streaming, and the occasional Rock Band party when my man-cave is too small.
Aaaaaaaanyway, since it's dead, I've decided to re-evaluate my living room entertainment options. What I want to do is this:
- Download and/or stream shows and movies from a legit source
- Stream music from internet radio like Pandora
- Stream my own music collection and downloaded movies/shows from my PC in the other room
- Support HD video content
My device of choice *must* be somewhat wife-friendly; though she's savvier than most, she still gives me "the glare" if something doesn't work correctly.
It looks like the contenders include: Another game console (360/PS3), AppleTV, a Mac Mini, a homemade HTPC (MythTV?), the upcoming Boxee Box, and the Roku HD. Of those options, only the Boxee Box and Roku come in at a price point that doesn't make me cringe. After all, all the device really needs to do is stream content from various sources. However, the Roku HD is only $100! Now we're talking. Netflix instant watching also looks pretty swell.
I'm aware that it doesn't stream from a local network source "out of the box", but custom channels like RoksBox are emerging which look very promising. I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty in setting some things up, but like I said I want it to be wife-friendly.
So, are there any Roku owners here who want to chime in? Are there any devices I should take a second look at? Should I just read a book instead?