I have been listening to music on my computer at work for some time. The music is easily accessible and playlists are easily created. Storage is cheap these days, so I have opted to compress everything using a lossless codec.
At home, however, I was still flipping through physical discs. Often times the discs were in their respective cases, but there were times where the case was in one place and the disc was someplace else! [I wish that there was RFID or some other means to track missing things around the house, but that is another story]. I wanted to have the convenience of sifting through my music collection from the comfort of my couch. Additionally, I wanted to be able to access the music in other rooms in the house. Having the ability to play home videos and view photos would also be a nice bonus.
Several months ago I came across the Media Center Extender offerings from several companies. These devices provide access to media stored on a Vista Media Center PC over a wired or wireless connection. This just seemed like the right recipe, and this was the starting point for my HTPC. I exchanged some emails with Sandy, our resident HTPC expert, and he made some component recommendations. The HTPC is now functional, and in the weeks ahead I will talk about several interesting aspects of this endeavor.