The picture with the cup is for scale – the Shuttle PC next to it is the ‘media center’ I bought about 5 years ago for brand new $400. Good old Shuttle. For the last year or so we’ve been enjoying using the Kodi media center Operating System at our place – with an interface designed specifically to be used for finding and playing media, it’s a breeze whether you have a wireless keyboard and mouse or an air mouse.
Or if you don’t have or don’t want either of those, just use Kore on your smartphone. Turn your phone into a remote for your media center – in fact it’s better because you can scroll through your playlist or find other movies and play them without even being in front of the TV. You can see it all from your smartphone. Brilliant.
Interestingly, HD performance is much better on Kodi than Windows – we’ve been able to make extremely old low-spec computers that could never play High Definition movies before (processor too slow to play properly) run perfectly smooth through Kodi. So if you have an old computer you’re not using, or want a cheap media center with all the perks with next to no expense, then Kodi is your best option. You’ll find an old PC or laptop on Ebay for around $100 – $200 to do the job. Just make sure it has a HDMI port to connect to your TV. That’s the cheapest option – any more money you want to spend would make it even better.
PS at this time we haven’t tried the Compute Stick – but it looks like a good option if it can keep up with HD.