I just setup the following system in about 2 hours -
- Install Plex Media server on my pc. It has about 2TB of media (movies, tv, pictures)
- Bought a Sony NSZ-GS8, connected to my tv via hdmi and networked via wifi (N router)
If you primarily want to watch local media, this is the best/easiest solution I know of which gives you a nice UI as well. Cost of the Sony was $128.
- HTPC costs much more
- Streaming boxes, Roku or Rasperry Pi are really slow and have a much worse UI. Plus the cost adds up since you need a remote etc
- Sony comes with a nice remote with keyboard, very handy for searching
- It plays media with no transcoding (Direct Play in plex), just set the media profile to max. It does need to transcode DTS audio which is very cheap, the earlier gen Sony didn't need to
I haven't even bothered to hook it up to my cable box and use PrimeTime etc, which should be a nice bonus. I just wanted a fast, nice media box and Plex gives me a central media server which is easier to setup than XBMC. The Sony GoogleTv is much more powerful and flexible than AppleTv/Roku, but has less 'channels'.