A friend of mine bought a DVD player with USB in the front and he says it has been great for watching downloaded episodes of tv shows he missed.
Awesome, I thought.
I went to the local stores with good return policies and found VERY few with USB. In fact, only 2 Samsungs and 1 Sony. The Sony is a $250+ Blueray which I don't want. So I tried Samsung #1 (don't remember the model) and had two problems. First, it ALWAYS defaulted to showing subtitles while playing DVDs (annoying and no way to turn it off). Second, only a few of my AVI files would play correctly. It had really odd problems in that regard. Most often, the audio wouldn't sync with the video. In one case, the audio for one file was playing with the video for another file. It was very bizzarre. Putting that same USB stick into my computer and it was fine.
That went back.
Today I bring home a brand new Samsung model DVD-H1080R
I have loads of issues with the physical design, but whatever. My biggest issue again is that my files won't play correctly. They play fine on the computer, but have issues on the STB. For example, I D/L'd two episodes of Red Dwarf. Both play fine on the computer. They both START ok on the Toshiba, play for about 5 seconds then a white-text message flashes up on the tv far too fast for me to read and it jumps to the next file (and repeat). But an episode of Dexter plays just fine. Sure, I get that not every codec in the world is going to be supported, but if it isn't supported then why would it start playing at all? Video and audio are fine for that 5 seconds.
So I guess my question is... is there a brand/model out there that plays things pretty well like they do on the computer (ie... it just works)?