The Apple-, Google- and Amazon-boxes/dongles are made for the respective walled-garden or vendor-lockin. No thanks, I’ll pass.
AFAIK the Roku is more focused on streaming than being a networked media player. Nothing I’m interested in.
Which leaves us with the WDTV or a selfmade XBMC-HTPC. Yay.
And re: hard-drives: WD is going to get a sick beating from the SSD-makers in the next few years.
Actually, that’s not completly correct. The Amazon Fire TV runs XBMC just fine, as do several other Android media boxes/dongles. You no longer need a HTPC to run XBMC, example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qN_OAUYoMpI
This is not to say that they are a replacement, just yet, for WDLiveTV’s. There are still limitations for most Android/ARM boxes/dongles, some are limited on the codecs (audio/video) and most will not pass-through DTS-HD or TrueHD (some claim too, but most will not yet), but that’s just do to most SoCs not having the proper drivers to due so. But, if like me, you can live with DTS/DD pass-through and re-encode everything to mkv/h.264 anyway, then those limitations don’t matter so much.
However, this is the wave of things to come. Any new media streamers are going to be ARM based and either run a modified Android ROM, like the Fire TV’s FireOS or Ouya for example or Google TV (now Android TV). And although most here that have a WDTV (including myself) are more interested in local media playback, no company, including WD, will release a media player without being able to include network services because it comes down to numbers.