Originally Posted by sr2002
Are these media players hard coded to only let me browse through Specific streaming website (e.g. HULU, Netflix etc.)?
Most of them are apps based, so you have to have that specific app to access that specific web service.
However, if you get a device that is DLNA compliant (and lots of them are), you could set up a media server on a computer connected to your home network and access a lot more content. It takes some setup, but it's not something that requires a degree in CS to do.
Do these players have a built in browser through which I could browse the internet go to other websites other than the paid ones?
It varies. None of these streamers are a direct replacement for an actual computer, but some have functionality in that regard. You'll pay somewhat more for that, though. Some can also browse the web, but don't support the latest Flash or HTML 5, limiting video playback from some sites.
Will these players be able to give me a Digital audio stream that I could connect to the HK receiver?
Some do, although some may be HDMI out only in that area. I think most will provide at least an optical out.
Must be able to play different file formats
Must have either Coax or Optical output
Must let me browse other streaming websites, or let me browse the web in general
Must not be in the 3-digit price range
I think you're going to have a tough time finding anything with that and an under $100 price tag. A Sony SMP-N100 comes close (no browser), but is DLNA compliant.
LG's Smart TV with the web browsing upgrade might also be an option (although again, check the web streaming capability and support for Flash, etc.)