Trying to play the devil's advocate here...
1. Are there any media streamer users who actually play back Blu-ray discs? My observation has been that almost all media streamer users back up their Blu-Ray onto a NAS or external hard disk in either MKV or ISO format.
2. As long as a Blu-Ray ISO without AACS plays back with full menu and full Blu-Ray experience, is it really a big step backwards if there is no external BR-drive support?
3. Would removing BR drive support make sure that Cinavia never needs to be enabled for this unit? If so, I am sure many users would gladly give up support for BR drives in exchange for making sure Cinavia never appears on the NTV 550.
4. If sacrificing BR drive support could drive down the cost of the unit to the Sage HD300 range (US $150 -- maybe add $10 for the full BR ISO support), I would definitely be OK with dropping the feature.
All in all, it would be helpful to have a poll with the following options:
1. Need media streamer to support external BR drives for full BR experience with AACS protected BDs and ISOs.
2. Need media streamer to support AACS protected ISOs (no need for BR drive support)
3. Need media streamer to support full BR experience on non-AACS protected ISO
4. Need media streamer to play back BR ISOs with ability to choose playlist (libbluray experience similar to what is happening with Boxee Box)
5. No need for BR ISO support (BD-Lite is enough)
Presently, it looks like NTV550 will fall in option (2), but it would be nice to see what the consumers really want. If enough people are interested in the statistics, I will start a thread with a poll for this.