'Networked Media Tank' a.k.a. 'Popcorn Hour' is another name for an awesome piece of hardware. It's a small device (the size of a 8-port desktop switch)) that enables you to view media on your TV. You name the format, and it plays it. No matter what the resolution is.
The Popcorn Hour (PCH) is a specialized piece of hardware just for decoding media. Even MKV (Matroska Containers) files are supported. I tried this by downloading a sample of Iron Man in 1080p with DTS audio, and it performed flawlessly. The picture quality was superb.
Besides watching video's you can also;
- listen to music
- watch your holiday pictures
- watch (pre-programmed) online media like YouTube
- use it as a torrent downloader
- use it as a usenet downloader (NZBGet)
I currently use mine solely with the HDMI connector hooked up to my Pioneer A/V Receiver. This way I get to enjoy all the benefits of HD content. There are numerous ways of connecting the PCH to your TV/Home Theater. Both analog and digital.
One little drawback; don't plan on doing a lot of pushing buttons on the remote when you are copying lot's of files over the network to the device. I had to reset my PCH twice in an hour. The CPU for the operating System (OS) on the device is for the interface and basic network connectivity (there's a CPU for displaying media, and a CPU for the OS). So if you're gonna stress the device it might hang.
So, if you're thinking about a Home Theater PC (HTPC) for the purpose of watching media this is the device for you. If you plan on recording TV you'll need another device for doing that.