Matt makes a point that one of us should have brought up early on. Well, better late than never.
Originally Posted by kirkman22
Matt, I've never heard of a media streamer. Is it hardware or software? Will interface with the TV etc ?
Really? You haven't heard of media streamers yet? Well, your in the right forum. Feel free to wander into a whole-nuther minefield.
Media streamers are hardware, similar to a Blu-Ray player (some of them also are
Blu-Ray players). They're small boxes that access your media from over network or from a USB-connected storage device. The best known is the AppleTV. Many people use a multi-terabyte USB disc(s) plugged into their streamer, but most of us connect our streamers to our network. You normally don't install any software on your PC or NAS, as the streamer uses network protocols that are already built into your OS (either SMB or NFS, simply referred to as file-sharing). You then just connect the streamer to your TV or AVR with an HDMI cable, just as you would a disc player.
The streamer behaves just like a DVD or Blu-Ray player, except that you browse your media over the network with a remote control that is similar to that of a disc player. Almost all media formats are supported these days (unlike DLNA, you should have no issues with your DivX or MKV files). It works better than DLNA in that you can typically browse your media by looking at cover-art, and if you select a DVD or Blu-Ray image to watch, it can give you the full navigation menus. The majority of them cost between $100 and $300. All of them have bugs, but some much more so than others. They are not frustration free, but may seem so after fighting with DLNA.
While browsing this forum, look at the threads referring to Dune (the higher end), Popcorn Hour, Micca, Mede8er and Netgear, besides the AppleTV. There are also threads specifically asking for recommendations on which streamer to get. I suspect you will fit in with one of those threads.
I have all of my media (DVDs, Blu-Rays, FLAC and MP3 music, and photos) stored on a Synology NAS, and use either a Dune Smart-D1 (pictured above) or a Netgear NeoTV-550 (much cheaper) to view on one of my two Sumsung LCDs.