Home Theater PCs
Using a Home Theater PC is a good option, and Blu-Ray players for PCs are typically less than $100 dollars. That said, the cost effectiveness of an HTPC depends greatly on your own technical skills when it comes to PCs. Someone who is capable of building a computer should be able to piece together a nice HTPC with a Blu-Ray player for around $500 dollars. However, those who are unable to build their own computers will have no choice but to purchase a PC from a major manufacturer, which can double, triple, or even quadruple the potential cost. Even when home-built, an HTPC is not an economical route to Blu Ray unless you already own an HTPC, and simply need to slip in the $100 Blu-Ray drive.
The main reason to use an HTPC, however, is not the cost. Rather, the great appeal of HTPCs is the ability to gain access to the many features available through HTPCs that are not possible through other methods. An HTPC is no different from a regular computer in many ways, and so it is fully capable of accessing the Internet and all of the content that provides. While Blu-Ray players might offer access to one or two online services, an HTPC offers access to a far broader range of content. In addition to the online sources, HTPCs also have easy access to any content that can be kept on a USB drive, external drive, iPod, or any other portable media source.
Owning an HTPC also offers the ability to customize your experience. While you may only need a Blu-Ray drive for now, you may one day want to write your own Blu-Ray discs, and HTPCs are currently the only way to do this without spending thousands of dollars. HTPCs also give the user the choice to select a Blu-Ray drive which also plays HD-DVDs. The HTPC's flexibility can lead to headaches when file types conflict or hardware bites the dust, but enthusiasts will probably find the HTPC to be the best option.