Can you imagine if I had to store all the music (listed left) as well as all 129 movies and all the recorded television on various physical media. Just to play it, I would need an entertainment crammed full of different AV boxes and still only be limited to one room for listening and viewing pleasure.
These days Windows Vista Media Center is more widely misunderstood than ever before. Despite being more readily available, still people are amazed when I show them our setup and what I can achieve with it. I have just re-purposed a Dell Precision 370, added a Nvidia GeForce 8500 card and a Dual Tuner card and upgraded the HDD to a 500Gb drive and bingo.. This was financed by winning the 2007 office footy tipping Competition. It is so easy to use that even my daughter can now whip around all the options at high speed and knows where it everything is, even with severely limited capabilities we have here in Australia compared to the US (Thanks for nothing Channel 9!!)
Now I have a fair bit of music and a lot of movies. Sure, not all of it I listen to all the time but my tastes change, evolve and a fair bit of rotation happens too. To do this any other way beside having a Vista MCE machine would be impossible. The fact that I access a lot of it from various machines and the Xbox 360 in the house means all music is available all through the house. It is hard to think of something else that could let me do this on the same budget.
Media Centers (in any form, open source, Apple or MS) are the way of the future and I can only hope that some of those large wads of cash that have been handed over to their new advertising agency will go to actually having some kind of marketing campaign for Windows Vista Media Centre.
I know that when my LG DVD Recorder dies (it pre-dates my MCE box and is only used for time-shifting – something my MCE box can also do), it will be replaced by a proper MCE box in a proper AV case and nice and quiet with loads of storage for recorded TV and streaming music from my Windows Homer Server. Not only is this a great setup, it also has a great PAF score (Partner Acceptance Factor). My wife is getting the hang of it and my daughter loves it. I can’t ask for more than that…