Elisa is a Simple, Streamlined Media Center

Windows/Linux: Elisa Media Center doesn’t go in for swooshing sound effects or social networking. This open-source media center puts your music, pictures, and videos on your screen, period. See it live in screenshots below.

We’ve given Elisa a shout-out before, in our guide to operating your computer with Wii controllers, because it works surprisingly well. And it’s gotten a shout-out or two before. But we’re overdue for a look at how Elisa simply puts your non-protected videos, music, and pictures onto your computer or TV screen.

Click on the thumbnails below to get a larger look at how Elisa looks on your screen, along with captioned details on Elisa’s features:

 Elisa's main menu, which spins in smooth fashion between music, movies, pictures, settings, and plug-in management.  From the "Settings" menu, head to "Add Folders" and browse to any folder on your system, or USB devices, that contains stuff you want to watch. Click the "+Add" button next to the folder, and Elisa asks which categories it should go into.  All three of the media menus look something like this, with options to open your local stuff, grab material off your Samba/Windows network shares, or use Internet-enabled plugins (more on those later).
 Elisa's actual media player is fairly minimalist, but does a good job opening nearly any kind of media file. Here it's taking on a DVD I ripped and didn't bother converting.  When you first start Elisa, it spends a lot of time digging through files and searching out related cover art. The results are usually worth it, as seen here.  Flickr, Picasa, Shoutcast, Yes.fm, and other plugins are available right out of the box, and plenty more are available from inside the app and at Elisa's <a href="http://elisa.fluendo.com/plugins">website</a>.
 Here's how Elisa handles a Flickr gallery.  Like its much-revered counterpart <a href="http://boxee.tv">Boxee</a>, Elisa can automatically sort out TV shows and Movies, and stream videos from network locations too.

Elisa is a free download for Windows and Linux systems. I couldn’t get it working on my Windows 7 beta, or (seemingly) activate the plugins in Ubuntu 8.10, but Windows XP worked just fine out of the box. Drop any tips, favorite plugins, or other Elisa advice in the comments.