hi people we are newbies as well and were taking davidcole's advice from a few posts back in this topic. after reading about htpc and finding this thread ,a quick message chat with davidcole. and here goes i cant wait another second.
I grabbed an old pc ,banged a 128mb graphics card a extra hD + netwotrk card in,oh and dvd burner. loaded media 11 (i see 12 is out in beta ) removed key board and mouse and. Threw the box into the large enclosed tv cabinet , some power in the back, patch cord to the home network. load some remote control software on it for controling it from the other home computers. piped it to the setreo in the cabinet, then a vga to tv adapter (sigh No Big LCD yet). remoted into from pc , transfered 15gig of mp3s to it and we are away .
Note: case got so hot in eclosed cabinet i couldnt put my hand on it ( whoops melt down) Drill out holes in the back of the cabinet ,spare old Power supply fan on the back drawing hot air out (fixed).
so we can now remote in from pc or wireless laptop any where in house. we can now listen to all music play dvds, stream internet movie, or radio, slide show photos, you tube etc cant record tv-free veiw yet Will now start saving and building HTPC ultimate using forum help from you all cheers . 1st puchase analog card then mob then cpu then ram and so on
I didn't go to anything like that trouble - I got lucky, and my first HTPC swaree occured because my Inspiron 1720 laptop came with a DVB-T card, which I managed to get hooked up to the TV, and watching freeview... now I'm in the process of spec / build a proper semi-dedicated HTPC!