Looking for a simple box to replace my HTPC

I have 2 HTPCs, one in the living room and one in our bedroom. One was built in 2008, the other in 2010. They run Windows 7 with WMC. MediaBrowser plugin. I have many BluRays I ripped and compressed to MKV on a file server. x264 High@L4.1 video track, and either DTS or original DTS-HD audio track. Most of them also have a second AC3 audio track in Spanish for when the in-laws visit. I also watch home movies and view pictures with these HTPCs as well.

My goal was to make a very easy-to-use setup for my wife and kids. Here are the pros and cons so far:


  • WMC + MediaBrowser is gorgeous. Displays large image poster (metadata) and is very easy to navigate movies with just arrows and ok button on remote.

  • WMC's photo screen saver is awesome for showing lots of photos. When family visits, it is great to just put that on and let it randomly show photos.
  • I don't like to keep the file server on all the time, so I configured the HTPCs to send a wake-on-lan packet to wake it up when HTPC's are logged on or resumed.
  • When the power goes out, the HTPCs won't wake up via the remote. They have to be physically pressed and they often don't resume into Windows very well.
  • If the HTPCs are turned on and load into Windows before the TV is on and tuned to the correct HDMI, they won't show picture, or they won't show sound. Basically we have to make sure that the TV is on and ready to go before we turn them on. A pain.
  • WMC doesn't play well with showing subtitles and playing video back smoothly with DxVA hardware acceleration. So, I have no subtitle playback. Any non-english speaking parts I have to burn-in to the video when encoding.

So, my question: Is there any box out there that can address those cons? Play x264 MKVs well, display their metadata in an attractive manner and not just be a list if text names? As well as display photos... Honestly the biggest thing is being able to turn on 100% of the time via remote, and display HDMI perfectly regardless of what was turned on first.