And once again I've left you alone ....

Been so busy with work (exams, special exams, finale exams and more exams) that I've left this to dwindle again. Add on the fact that I have a class again this semester ... but that's done last week. What's been on my mind? Been thinking about getting a media player for the living room TV but the choices out there are confusing.

An oldie is the WDTV but I've read that its hardware is showing its age and can't keep up with newer file containers and codec requirements. Good points is that it supports many WLAN USB devices out of the box and thus can connect to my existing router.

Another popular one is from A.C.Ryan but they haven't been updating their firmware for a bit (as they transition to SDK4 for the Realtek chip they have inside). Which begs the question with all these standalone media players ... once there is no support, what can you do with the device? Another this is it only supports particular USB devices for WLAN networking (preferably its own) ... why can't they just build it in?

The newbie on the block is from Acer with its Revoview RV100 which is probably the cheapest of the bunch and has the possibility of adding a SATA internal HDD for storage. With the HDD it also turns the device into a USB storage device when plugged directly into a PC/MAC. Plus points (other than being cheap) is that it supports Windows 7 Playto feature - no need to transfer files to the object to play anymore, just go to the supported source PC and send the file through the network for playback. Bad points, the Malaysian/Singapore Acer distributor will NOT sell the USB wireless device. The USB plug is an OEM device from Azurewave model AW-NU120 so maybe there's hope in getting it in stores ... else finding one using the same Realtek RTL8192 802.11N chipset.

I may go the hard way and just build a HTPC from scratch. Current plans are to build it using the ASRock 330HT-BD setup with XBMC as the OS and interface. Good points? Its future proof against all formats as long as there is enough CPU grunt to decode and someone writes plugins for XBMC. It has a blu-ray drive ready so it can playback blu-ray discs with proper software (namely powerdvd). Additionally, it can dual boot into Windows and work as a additional PC in the living room. Bad points - without HDD and memory the PC already is a wallet busting RM1500!!. Or maybe I should go for a SFF PC as the starter ..... stay tuned for future updates (waaay in the future, my bills have been piling up)

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