raspbmc (The most capable media centre settop box) for around £30
Raspbmc is a RaspberryPI port of XBMC (xbox media center) an opensource and highly customizable media centre application.
RaspberryPI (http://www.raspberrypi.org/faqs) is a ridiclously cheap creditcard-sized HD capable integrated computer.
Register for a pi here:
All you need is a raspberry-pi, power cable, and sd card. Also you'll probably want a case unless you are happy using a box you already have.
You can buy this SD card usb adapter for £2 if your computer doesn't have an sd slot
Simply plug in the sd card, use the raspbmc gui installer http://i.imgur.com/WaUEDl.png
It'll only take a couple of minutes. Then you eject the sd card and plug it into the raspberry-pi, along with an hdmi cable and the power cable.
You can choose any skin
This is Aeon Nux
This is Boxee inspired Inspirat
Forgive the poor camera pics, but taking screenshots of video results in black screens.
Here are pics playing tvcatchup (all uk freeview channels live with epg)
To get TVCatchup go here: http://plugins.tvcatchup.com/~xbmc/
MKV x264 and xvid network playback
This is the TED app
iPlayer, ITV Player, 4od
This is the youtube app
Only seeing is beleive with raspbmc. A fully capable, easy-to-use hd local playback and web streaming player for around £30!
I've owned a Boxee Box for 8 months, and it cost me £200. It can't do 10% of what this 30 quid device can.
All you have to do is register for your raspberry pi here:
and a power cable
buy a £3 8GB SD card
and a case of your choice here if you dont want to try making your own/having it loose.
Any help needed comment here and I'll ammend my guide. but it really is insanely easy. I was up and running in about 5 minutes. It's ltierally plug and plug with a graphical installer for the sd card.