PC World Magazine article how to Make a Media-Savvy PC
Snippet from the article as I’m too tired to give you my own summary:
“Intrigued by the idea of using a computer to enjoy movies, music, and television, but unimpressed with the Media Center PCs from big-box vendors like Dell and Hewlett-Packard? Build your own.
True, Microsoft won’t sell you its Windows XP Media Center Edition operating system, which combines all of the features you want–TV (live and recorded), movies, music, and photos–with a single, slick interface (it ships only with complete systems). But you can tailor a media-savvy PC to your own specific requirements by using hand-picked components.”