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Discussion Starter #1
I think a "Media Player" is a device which will decode audio/video files (eg. .mkv, .m4v, etc) from a connected computer file system or USB disk, presenting this on an HTMI cable as HDvideo and 5.1 (7.1?) audio stream for consumption.

I currently have two hardware devices which come close...a "WD Media Player" and an LG 390 network connected BluRay player. Both mostly work but are getting old and can't handle some HD audio formats and highly compressed h264 video. (Neither will diagnose what is wrong with a useful information message but just crash when in difficulty.)

The question is: What current hardware does the best job with the largest set of file formats ?

I think the candidates are: Netgear NEO550, Seagate GOFLEX TV, WD live, CIRAGO TV platform, ASUS O-play, Popcorn Hour, FreeAgent GOFlex.

What else should be on my list? Taken off the list? Where should I look for trustworthy information? All advice and comment welcome.

(In the end I may end up with a new laptop and some software which meets the technical spec but this is living-room and spouse unfriendly.)

Thanks for your help and assistance.
 

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I use a variety of devices (GoFlex, Boxee) to get around the spouse-friendly problem, but I've found the key success factor isn't the box, it's the playback software. I suggest VLC - plays anything.
 

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Interesting

Leonovus looks very interesting. It seems like they must be very close to a release date. I for one will be giving it a try.
 

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if you want dirt cheap the patriot office box can be had for 60 bucks and plays about everything you can throw at it!

plus it can accept custom firmware. check redflagdeals for more info. theres a giant thread on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
What kind of job does the Patriot box do with 5.1 sound in general?

My WDPlayer and LG player choke on newer DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD, which I think may run at higher bitrates (96kb??)

Don't care much about the streaming internet services but I want to get the new sound formats right.
 

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I have tried, within the last year, a WDTV Live, an Asus O!Play, Xbox 360 with WMC streaming and finally the Boxee Box with the newest firmware that enables Netflix.

In my experience, in terms of stability, ease of use, versatility of media types and interface, the Boxee Box stands head and shoulders above everything else. No question in my mind, I bought a second one recently.
 
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