Check out how Hong Kong gimmickmeister Brando scores a rare hit with this SATA HDD Multi-Media Player Adapter. In a minimalistic tour de force, this minuscule adapter lets you plug in any SATA hard disk, SDHC card, or external USB drive, and play back its media with no computer anywhere in sight.
The only hitch we're wondering about is the interface presented to you when you plug it into your TV via HDMI, component, or composite inputs. Still, how bad can it be? And the result is, you'll be able to view a plethora of audio and video formats on your TV, including MPEG-4, DivX, and AVI, without the burden, heat, noise and price of a PC attached.
A couple of slight downsides: you swarthy swashbucklers can't play back Matroska (.mkv) files using this gizmo, and its playback resolution is limited to 1080i. That said, for $69 and the price of a bare hard disk, USB drive or SD card, you can enjoy the equivalent of a competent set-top box in this understated form factor. Might be worth a try.