sorry to hear about the lightening strike, holly sh*t batman!
I have played with the WD Live, it's ok, but not great. Right now one of the best playback units is the Apple TV2. The main reason is because it's cheap and easy to hack. Once hacked you install Plex and connect your external hd (or connect to network drives) and you are up and running. They play all video files. I heard the hack for the Apple TV 3 is out, so I would certainly go with the newer model if that is true. Either way, they seem to run about $100. new ATV 3 and the older ones are on ebay for $150ish..
I have also tested PopCorn Hour A-300. You can connect external hard drives via usb, or just connect to your networked hard drive. The PCH's play everything and you can now install Plex from the NMT store. I think this unit was $200.
I would guess these features will make their way to the higher end receiver models in the near future, if not already. But there are two cheap easy ways to resolve your issues.
Good luck, and dam I may look into one of those whole house surge protectors, the kind that are installed in your main panel! Yikes cuz I have a lot of stuff plugged in!