I'm not really informed about which media players are good as I know that each one has their own pros and cons. I decided from the start to not even deal with the various issues and just build a HTPC and use XBMC. I'm trying to help my neighbor buy a media player that suits him best as he DOESN'T know how to use a computer and his wife knows how to use a computer but pretty much just knows how to use the internet. That being said, here's what I have in mind for him:
1. First and foremost, it must be simple to use as he's not technology inclined one bit so firmware updates would be best if he was able to do it on the device itself via Wi-Fi rather than having to do it from a firmware file on a flash drive downloaded from a computer.
2. I would like it to have some sort of web browser on it so that he can start to learn how to surf the internet and look at things such as this board, youtube, news, whatever but a web browser doesn't necessarily have to be on the device, as long as, there can be an app such as yahoo, google, youtube, etc... that he can use to get a similar experience.
3. He currently uses Netflix (mail order discs) and I think it would be nice to have him switch to Netflix streaming so a Netflix app, hulu app, etc would be a nice feature.
4. I want it to be able to play mkv, iso, whatever files locally from an external hard drive as I will be providing most of the content for him to watch.
5. I want something that can play mkv files and must have good support for the various audio formats that can be in mkv files such as DTS-HD.MA and TrueHD.
6. Regarding mkv playback, I would prefer it if the media player would be able to change the audio in the mkv file if there's another audio track included in it, as well as, do the same for subtitles as some of the files would have a few subtitle tracks.
7. ISO playback would be a plus for Blu-ray/DVD ISO files.
Basically this is how it's going to go. He's going to be plugging in an external HDD into it and will give it to me from time to time. I will put TV Shows/Movies on it for him to watch. He'll plug in the external HDD to the media player and use the provided remote to browse the various files that I just gave him. After he's done watching everything I'll delete it off the external HDD and put on new stuff. During the times that there's nothing for me to give him he'll be browsing Netflix or whatever other apps are on the device.
Thank you for your help in this matter as I don't know all the devices out there and would greatly appreciate the experienced assistance of this community.