Yesterday we discussed the prospect of a new Apple TV. But why watch TV on Apple's schedule when you can build your own, and have twice as many features?
If you're a Mac die-hard, follow MacWorld's DIY Mac Mini media center project. It's not cheap--you'll fork over about $1,000 if you add all the deluxe accouterments that the tutorial suggests. But you'll also end up with a device that can play Hulu, iTunes media, regular TV, and record live TV--to say nothing of the ability to surf the Web and store a terabyte of media. The icing: Logitech's gorgeous Harmony remote control for one-stop couch surfing.
If you want to do things without paying the Apple tax, use Linux. There are a handful of shockingly slick, capable media center apps out there for your Linux box: Entertainer and Elisa are two of the best, and they work with a whole litany of streaming services you already use. For a good list of software options, check out MakeUseOf's guide.
If you don't know where to turn for the right Linux hardware, Asus has your answer. In addition to making some of the most compact and inexpensive PCs on the market, the ambitious Eee-maker is also slated to release an entire PC contained within a keyboard come October--complete with battery.
You can't ask for a better media solution than that, though you may want to add a wireless hard drive to the mix to supplement the machine's anemic 32GB of pre-installed storage. According to Gizmodo, no price has been named.