MATE is a simple, neat destop that
Using Xubuntu here for that same reason. Not to mention the fact that I have a lesser machine (an eMachines EL1358G) with not quite enough RAM to run full-on Ubuntu. Canonical seems to have done some nice things with its spin of XFCE used here.
The Ouya does that better at lower cost, no soft-mod required.
Not to mention the availability of non-game apps on the device. Does TuneIn ring a bell? Not sure if the Ouya has the right video innards, but it could probably run Netflix or Hulu and become yet another Roku competitor.
Roku units are god-awful for playback of local content.
I'm running Plex on mine, which seems to work well. Gotta set the server up on a pc, but it seems pretty low impact.
Twonky is better for that kinda' thing. Just sayin'.
According to Wired.com "[I]f you’re running it in a browser, Amazon Instant video, Hulu, Rdio, and HBO Go all just work. As did video from Wired, Gawker media, and Flickr slideshows." I have a Roku and love it, but I also have Comcast. That means, in its infinite retardery, I can not watch HBO Go on my Roku. If this really does work as well as Wired says it does, I can watch it through the Chromecast Chrome browser, making my Roku a paperweight.
Roku only makes sense if you're a Time Warner Cable customer and you buy one the nicest Roku models, which of course makes holding onto your first-gen/second-gen Roku (for who knows how long) a no-no becuase these don't support Time Warner Cable's app. Having a Roku is a must in most newer Time Warner Cable markets (such as Louisville KY, where I live) because the ability to offer more HD channels than what you'd get through the cable box.
you can't watch live sporting events over the internet jackass
Ahem, Major League Baseball, NBA and NHL let you watch live events online these days, and on your TV if you have their streaming apps on your Roku or other boxen of that ilk. The NFL will probably NEVER pony up with this kinda' thing in our lifetime unfortunately.