No doubt that Apple, Google and Game Console makers have been at it a long time. But for streaming internet content to a TV, Roku is still the sales model. People buy an Xbox 360 or PS3 as a gaming platform first and foremost, any additional functionality is a secondary consideration.
There are some good developers for Roku who have a bit of vision. Yeah a lot of it ends up being subscription channels or free with ads, but there are a few who work off donations. Add in the ability to install "homebrew" channels (AKA: Private Channels) by entering a key into the Roku website under your log in and the thing is pretty wide open.
Roku streams with top shelf capability, but it isn't smart. Smart Boxes (Apple, Google) fall into the locked in feeling. From what I've seen of them they sort of short change each side of the operation (Smart/Apps -vs- Streaming/Video Content Flexibility). That may just be a gut feeling as I've not followed too many reviews and have never actually used a Google or Apple set top.
I think the more options that people can plug in from home the better.
Here's a box and a simple remote. HDMI out to TV. LAN line in for internet. WiFi capable of course, but hard wired internet would be better wouldn't it? Bluetooth capable as well.
So a box and a remote. Simple, low cost entry.
Want memory? Plug in a microSD or a USB memory stick (most people have one of those lying around anyway). Maybe have that expansion port for a plug 'n' play hard drive as well... What format would memory be in (a Fat variant, NTSF, ext3)??? I think the more common the format, the better it flies. If most people don't have to reformat the memory they will be more comfortable and also more willing to use it if they can "time share" a plug in memory storage device between the box and whatever else they have.
Got a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse lying around. Pair them to the box and take off. Makes full internet access easier. The user supplies the higher end interface, keeping the cost of entry down for everyone else.
Are there generic drivers for these types of devices that can be used inside the box? IDK, that's why I'm asking as I spin out ideas...
What other harware would you want to interface with the box???
Nokia Lumia 925 (T-Mobile Variant): Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers
LG Nexus 4 (16GB): Ubuntu for Devices --channel=devel
Asus Nexus 7 (2012 WiFi 32GB): Factory Google KitKat 4.4.4 + francoKernel & Xposed