> If you want to play H264 and/or HD content, this is not a good solution 
> and you cannot consider use a light client to do that

There is a good solution but it needs work. Popcorn Hour (and compatible)
networked media tanks can replay SD/HD content, on there has been work 
ongoing to fix vdr-streamdev to provide proper TS-stream. 

PCH is light client, some people has measured 12W power on HDD spun up 
and playing stream. PCH is a Linux based settop-box where you can get 
access to shell level and even crosscompile programs with toolchains. 
Box is about 27x13x3cm. HDD is optional but you should install it for
best benefit.

(http://www.popcornhour.com/onlinestore/index.php?pluginoption=catalog&task=
info&item_id=6&main_id=0)

What is needed is Vomp-like or VDRadmin-am-like user interface for streams
and files. It would make PCH as a top alternative of todays front-end for
VDR, and in general a front end to all media you have.

For GB-PVR there is already some work done.
http://gbpvr.com/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Hardware/NMT

With this device you can discard HTPC's at once unless you do web browsing
with your TV-set.

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