I have 4 WDTVs that served me well for the last 11 years. I have an always on PC with a large hard drive that stored all the videos we made of the kids during sports competitions as well as all our DVD and Blu-ray collection backed up for easy access from any of our TVs. Each video or film was saved in its own folder on the PC's hard drive with a 200x300 folder.jpg to visually indicate what is in the specific folder (it could be a photo taken at the sport event or simply the cover of a DVD, depending on the content). As a matter of fact, I did the exact same thing for our CD collection, except the folder.jpg is 300x300. Anyway, one of the WDTVs is showing signs of its age and I think it is time to replace the WDTV with something newer. I read several threads here and elsewhere, some dating back to 2014, for alternatives to the WDTV. However, I have not found anything that comes close to the WDTV for browsing files on my local network. I mean, I tried several Android apps (in particular those that would work on my Fire TV Stick) like VLC, but I only see list of files and never get to see the cover art stored in my folder.jpg files in each folder.
We no longer buy DVDs, Blu-rays or even CDs as, like most people, we now subscribe to online providers like Netflix, Prime or Spotify and our recent TVs or older ones via Fire TV Sticks serve us well with that regard, but I need something to access our old home videos and collections of DVDs, Blu-rays and CDs stored on that 24/7 PC.
Any advice would really be appreciated.
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Raspberry Pi as jagabo stated
Laptop / PC
Android Box - - ~$50-100 are basically the same, just more CPU power. ~$180+ gets you customized Android.
There are/were non-Android boxes like the DVDFab Movie Server (suspended), but very few.
If you want the options and flexibility, a PC based HTPC is the way to go.