For about $30 (Assuming you already have a DVD-RW drive and media center remote control )you can turn an old broken DVD player into an enclosure for your unsightly/ hard to reach HTPC accessories. Have a look at step 2 for a cost breakdown.
We have a Home Theater PC (HTPC) in our living room that tucks neatly out of sight in a corner beside our entertainment unit. The location makes the PC very unobtrusive and even though the tower puts out a normal amount of noise it's barely noticeable. The problem however is the location makes it difficult to access the internal DVD drive to play movies or perform any typical DVD-RW functions. Also there are a number of devices that I have connected to the HTPC which are starting to look a little goofy in and around our entertainment unit (USB Remote IR receiver, USB/firewire hub, External Hard disk, joystick, Wireless keyboard/mouse receiver.) Meanwhile our stand alone DVD player sits unused in a prime easy to reach location (the HTPC has kind of made the DVD player redundant.) This gave me the idea to use an unwanted DVD player as an enclosure for many of those devices.
Step 1: Find a DVD Player to mod
My initial plan was to find a broken DVD player which had a USB port in front and sufficient space internally for a USB hub, DVD-RW drive, infrared receiver, and wireless mouse receiver. To match my amplifier I wanted to find a silver unit but fate had other plans. The DVD player that I am using is a black Digix 288U and is simply the unit that broke down at the wrong time. The unit is black instead of silver and is a little small to accommodate the features I want. As a result I am starting with the DVD-RW and the IR receiver and will definitely notch out an opening to access the extra USB ports. I will likely incorporate the wireless mouse receiver later as well. A nice feature of this player though is the power supply. Many DVD players are like this and have a standard molex connector (like in PCs) and can provide power to an PC internal DVD drive with no modification.
If you are not just using the player at hand like me then you will probably want to find a full height DVD player with a USB port in front. Many DVD players have a low profile form factor that would not accommodate a normal internal PC DVD drive. You could use a slim DVD drive that is popular in many HTPC cases but these are quite a bit more expensive than your everyday internal drive. Ideally the player will also have a power supply that isn't integrated into the main circuit board of the player and uses a molex connector.
One more consideration is the front DVD tray cover. The Digix unit that I am using has a spring loaded door to cover the dvd tray when closed. If the DVD player you are considering has a front cover that is fixed on the end of the drive tray itself ,and sits flush with the front of the player, then you will need to mount the internal drive much more precisely and find a way to mount the cover on the end of the internal IDE DVD drive tray - probably with an extender of some kind.