I recently bought a basic home theatre package from Sony for around 200 USD. I'm amazed at how affordable these systems have become. The model number is HT-DDWG700 if you want to take a look at it. The receiver has a number of different inputs, including a digital media port and cradle that allows you to connect your iPod and control it with the receiver's remote control. This is all pretty cool and while the sound quality has nothing on my father-in-law's decade old Bose system, it's still produces enough sound to fill my small apartment.
However, I can't help but feel that my home theatre system is incompatible the way I manage my multimedia. I can't remember the last time I purchased an album on CD, but I download MP3s from Amazon every other week. Furthermore, I don't have a 120GB iPod Classic that stores all my music and I don't use iTunes because I have a problem with the way that it organizes my files. Instead, I have a network drive connected to my wireless router and I use this for sharing multi-media with my home computers. I just point Windows Media Player or Zune (even iTunes will work) at the network share in order to play files or sync with my mobile phone or other MP3 player.
However, if I want to play a new song through my Sony home theatre system, I first have to sync it to my iPod Nano or connect my notebook to the receiver using the stereo mini-jack. Both of which are pretty annoying solutions. I notice that my Pioneer DVD player has a USB port that I can use for playing multimedia and this is a step in the right direction since the DVD player has the necessary codecs. However, I really want to play my multimedia directly from the network share, without the need to use my notebook or an iPod. I guess I really need a DVD player that can play the files directly from my network share.
So this brings me to question: Why don't I have an Xbox 360 or Sony Playstation 3? Both of these devices have network cards, large hard-disks, and the necessary codecs to play all my multimedia files. I guess the reason is that both these devices are primarily gaming consoles and these days I'm not into video games. Since I don't really want to have one of these consoles, for the time being, I'm left without a solution.
Drop me a comment if you have any ideas about this.