If you want, tonight I can spend a little more time doing some technical comparisons and point out pros/cons: i.e. ide vs sata, hot-swappable, X-RAID, security/authentication options, nfs/samba/ftp/http/https, etc...
I know several people on these forums have an Infrant ReadyNAS product. Maybe they will chime in with some of their reasons.
Thanks a lot for your input. I've read lots of good reviews for the Infrant stuff, and that's what I was looking at, but decyphering some of the specs on newegg is a bit difficult. In addition, many of the reveiws on the net can be helpful, but may be steering me towards more expensive products that have capabilities that I don't really need to take advantage of. For instance, I can appreciate the added speed of a faster NAS device, of SATA drives etc, but like I say I'm really only going to be streaming one thing at a time, so a lot of the added speed capbilities are probably unecessary. Among the drives I have in my system now I have a mixture of SATA and IDE drives among a couple machines, and a couple external USB drives, and all are totally fine in doing what I need to do which is just watching the movies files on the drives.
I don't mind spending more for a quality product that is more robust, may last longer, has more robust software that's easier to setup, but it seems to me any will work fine at least for my fairly basic tasks. Things like hot-swappable drives aren't really necessary, I figure if I have a drive failure, I'd just turn the thing off and order a replacement drive and replace it when it arrives and let the array rebuild. Maintaining completely operable server 24/7 is not at all a requirement, so hotswapping is cool, but one of those things that seems unecessary.
One thing that I wouldn't mind paying a bit more for would be good support should the device fail, a good warranty. But it seems to me that many of the featuresets that are out there I won't be taking advantage of. But please correct me if I'm wrong. What I really don't want to end up with is a NAS that is good enough for now, but when I start streaming say 1080p files or something, it starts running out of steam and isn't fast enough, but the way I see it, even streaming that stuff realtime is quite easy to do. I don't forsee a need for streaming many files simultaneously, for instance, though. Of course on the other hand, I don't want to be spending hundreds of dollars more for capabilities that go to waste, when I could easily have spent less for the exact same performance and data space that fulfills my needs.