I almost built a HTPC, and then I discovered the WD TV. It is made by Western Digital and costs $100 at Best Buy. Basically it is a tiny box you connect to your TV via HDMI or the old school rca outputs. Into it you plug in a portable hard drive via USB, or a usb thumb drive, which have been loaded with your movies, mp3s, pictures, or whatever, and the WD TV will play them for you. It has a remote control and is super easy to use.
I have a 2.5 inch 500GB laptop drive inside a USB external case that I plug into the WD TV. It is loaded with all of my hd and regular movies.
The new WDTV Live has wifi built in so you can play shared movies, pictures ect., off of your home network. I bought the older non wifi version a few months before the new one came out, but it is just as easy to throw the movie on the HD and watch from that.
Last edited by firechicken; 07-19-2010 at 06:20 PM.