Set-Top Box: I need your help!

I was wondering if anyone can help me out. I've been looking for a type of set-top box that allows me to access content on my laptop (photos of our daughter, videos, some downloaded shows) but also able to use Netflix.

I've been looking for YEARS and can't seem to find the best solution. Now I know that Airplay on the Apple TV seems to be the most popular thing these days... but was wondering if it plays the odd torrented show off my laptop / network? I don't have a mac computer (which is why I'm posting this under the PCs forum), so that's another thing I'm not sure of... However If the Apple TV will be able to do everything I'm looking for without getting a whole new laptop, I'd probably go that route. I've also heard about the Boxee Box, but I'm not sure how well it works compared to Apple TV?

I have a very basic set up for now... just a laptop, regular WiFi router, and an HDTV, and I'd like to keep things simple... Having a computer always plugged into the TV isn't really the option I'm looking for. Just looking to bring more of the content on my laptop to the TV the easiest way possible (without obtaining a Computer Science degree and learning about RAID network storage, etc).

Thanks everyone, your input is much appreciated!