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Despite all the articles we’ve previously listed here on Tech in Style, I will accept that building your own home theatre is a daunting task. We’ve detailed what to buy in full, including ASUS essential core motherboard building blocks, but it’s still not easy to get everything right without time and experience.

As much as we would enjoy doing it ourselves then, ASUS’ latest O!Play HD2 opens up the same world of entertainment for next to no effort. It’s essentially just plugging in the little box to your TV, then network or PC and then fire up the HD2. It’s as easy as that.

Via the included remote control, the O!Play HD2 will surf through your home network, attached hard drives or USB sticks to look at shared folders.The TV interface is intuitive to use and mixes natural PC navigation with breadcrumbs to surf directories. Once you’ve found what you want, it will play almost any video, music or photo format thrown at it, right up to the current highest-definition 1080p standard.

The O!Play HD2 is also the only media player with a USB 3 interface, that’ll connect directly to your PC and let you transfer music, video or photos at super speed – even faster than the included Ethernet allows!

In the back, its A/V outputs have been designed for all ages of HDTV’s, with the red, green and blue component video and S/PDIF audio outputs, as well as the more popular and recent HDMI 1.3 interface too. In the front there’s an integrated card reader which will take the photos and video straight off your camera, and show them to the family on the big screen: neat!

Another advantage of the O!Play is its tiny form factor won’t get in the way, keeping the room neat. That’s usually a disadvantage of building your own home theatre PC – they tend to be considerably bigger in comparison. The HD2s gently styling on top, the subtle glowing bar along the middle and the diagonal cut in the base forming a separate foot adds something certainly more appealing to its design. It’s no longer just a black box for the TV, it’s as aesthetically attractive as it is functional and if you enjoy your movies and few tunes in the background, it’s certainly the media player to watch out for.

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