10 years ago Microsoft introduced a customized edition of Windows XP that contained their new media suite, officially dubbed Windows Media Center. Created with televisions in mind, Windows Media Center marked Microsoft's first real attempt to supplant media functions in the living room. All designed around a 10-foot UI and remote control, Windows Media Center handled far more media tasks than any TV component at the time, allowing users to play and timeshift live TV, display slideshows of digital images, play digital video and music, and more.
With so many useful functions wrapped in a well respected UI (there are early hints of Metro in there believe it or not), it's sad to say that Windows Media Center and the concept of a PC in the living room just hasn't taken off. As someone who's operated a Windows based HTPC in the living room for several years, allow me to share with you some of my experiences with using a HTPC, as well as clear up many of the misconceptions that still persist in the market.