Originally Posted by FX4
I think that is kind of my point. There are boxes that will do one or two of the things you want but when you start asking for a broad breadth of playback options you are either getting into complicated or several playback devices. And it really is that complicated because you are asking for file types that are native to different operating systems. If there was a do it all box that worked people would be using it on mass but there isn't. People do one of several things:
1. Settle on an STB and convert all their files to a format it supports.
2. Get multiple playback devices that will handle their needs.
3. Build an HTPC.
4. Use a PC and install a transcoder like Plex or Playon
5. A combination of above (Me and a lot of other people).
If you want all this stuff to work well for you, you need to be OS agnostic, quite frankly for a plug and play system, Windows Media Center is about the best thing going. It works and it works well.
I have a closet full of STBs that promised the world and fell on their face one way or another. I ended up using best of bread for each thing I want to do. For your set of tasks I use a Mac Mini setup with XBMC. iTunes Plays the M4V files, XBMC handles the rest. I also run Roku boxes with Plex clients. And an ATV to stream from our iPads and play M4V files.
"And it really is that complicated because you are asking for file types that are native to different operating systems."
An avi is an avi whether it's on Linux, Windows, or OSX. It's pretty much the same for mkv and mp4. I'm not looking to play anything exotic, just pretty much everyday formats.
I don't use any Apple formats except lately a lot of the mp4's I am running across have AAC audio.
If I wanted to have to convert everything, I wouldn't need a STB. I could just use AviDemux and convert everything to xvid avi's. Then I could play these on my 5 year old Philips DVD player, complete with srt or idx/sub subtitles. I've been doing this lately, but it's time consuming.
Looked at Roku boxes, but I read that you have to give them a credit card # just to set the thing up. I dismissed that one immediately for that reason.
I don't need to stream. I don't have an iPhone, or a tablet. I have only ONE HDTV, I just want to hook up a STB that will play mkv and mp4 from an SD card. I could still play divx on the DVD player if I have to. That's it.
Building a HTPC is out of the question. It's overkill for my needs, and way more trouble than it's worth.
I'm sure your setup is great. it sounds like you've put a lot of effort into it.
I appreciate the feedback, but your way of doing this is just way too complicated- and expensive- for me.
I was going to go with the WDTV- which plays all the formats I need- except it doesn't have the subtitle support. So I just need to find something like the WDTV that supports idx/sub subs and that should be good.
But thanks for your input, and your setup sounds absolutely killer!