I've recently been thinking about how interfaces and standards are so important.
One challenge we have as a family with a huge number of kids is playing media when we visit various grandparents or in-laws. During the winter this is even more important. There are only so many DS games, episodes of iCarly or y8.com games they will play. The same is true when I'm travelling and I want to chill out with a movie in a hotel and not be gouged.
For the past year I've tried to do this with a laptop and VGA to Scart adapter. The picture quality is pretty awful but it does work.
Something like the new Apple TV initially looked interesting due to its small size. Then I saw the interface specs. No composite out , streaming only, no usb port, no sdcard.
So forget that. I then looked at some of the cheap media players on Deal Extreme. They didn't look too bad but reviews were patchy. Then I heard about the Nationite HDVP-2. http://mp4nation.net/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=60&products_id=386
1080p playback, composite/yuv/hdmi out, LAN, can take internal HDD, USB port, Sdcard slot, optional WiFi, streams from across network or uses local media, remote control, small size. And the real killer? $79!
We've used it a bunch of times recently and it just totally rocks.
The best example of why a product like this, which only uses industry standard interfaces, is so useful, happened last weekend.
My sister wanted to show her daughter's school play which was on their very cool JVC HDCam. Unfortunately the JVC uses some idiotic proprietary connector for TV-Out and she had forgotten the cable so my usual bag of wires was no use.
We were about to shrug and give up when I suddenly thought "wait a sec, what does it use for storage? ". Aha, Sdcard! I popped the card out, stuck it in the side of the HDVP-2 and voila, my niece on the old CRT TV.
Whether it's usb for charging , sdcards, audio jacks, rca jacks, sims, Bluetooth or cigarette lighters, standards and interfaces make your life easier.