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I currently have several WDTV Live devices with the Wdlxtv custom firmware.


Personally, I love the WDTV boxes because they are cheap, and play every single thing I've thrown at them. Unfortunately their life span in our house since they are used pretty much every day for many, many hours, is fairly short (they avg about 2 years). We are on our 5th one right now, we have one in 3 different rooms in the house. At $100 or less each, I can live with the life span.


Unfortunately, WD has added more and more DRM, and other things to their latest devices, so I actually get LESS functionality out of them than I want. Sure, I get Hulu and Netflix, but I don't use either, so I don't care. I have ripped my entire movie collection to our media server so we can watch movies from it from the 3 main bedrooms in the house (the kids LOVE to fight over movies, they refuse to sit in the same room and watch the same movie, but they will watch the same movie in their own rooms... *eyeroll* )


The WDLXTV Firmware allows me to control the WDTV remotely via web, mount a network drive from a FreeNAS server, allows add-ons, and one of the biggest things for our family is the Moviesheets, and playlists. I use Thumbgen to generate a movie sheet with all of the movie's information on it, and as we navigate when a file is selected it displays the movie sheet for that file. It also allows us to create playlists (Action, Adventure, Kids, etc) that we can use to help locate movies easier. Those two things along make it a very visually appealing experience.


Here is a movie sheet for one of our movies.
9.2009.Bluray.1080p.x264.DTS..mkv_sheet.jpg 477k .jpg file


As the "good" WDTV units are becoming harder to find, I want to explore other options. What devices offer network mounting options, navigation, and visual experience? I would prefer to keep them under $300. I know for $500 I can build a dedicated HTPC, I owned a couple for many years, but I'd prefer to have a nice little (and portable) package like the WDTV if possible.


Thanks!
 

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