The Perfect Home TV PC Media Center Thingy

I’m not sure if the correct terminology is a Media Center TV or a PC Driven Media Player (on your TV) or…, but I would like to basically have all my DVDs and CDs on a harddrive and access them with a remote through a menu on my TV.

My requirements are:

  1. A nice clean GUI
  2. Allows me to rip CDs and DVDs so I don’t have to get up and manually change discs–I’m not talking about illegally downloading movies, but it is silly not to be able to store bought DVDs on one’s own computer.
  3. Access to online content (TV shows, movies, music) to purchase

I’ve seen devices like the Mvix, and it looks very promising, but doesn’t help with #1 and #3 too much.

Basically the two major choices seem to be Windows Media Center (comes with every Vista Premium) or the Apple TV with iTunes.

As I understand it, I will need a third party program to rip DVDs for either choice.  Fine, but it would be nice if iTunes or Windows Media Player would automatically rip DVDs like they do CDs.

My main computer and laptop at home have Vista Premium with Media Center.  I also have an XBOX 360 which can stream content from my main computer to the TV.  I haven’t played with that feature too much, but because I have the components already, I’m leaning in this direction.

But I have a few purchases from iTunes.  Which makes me wonder if I should look into getting a Apple TV.  I pretty much stopped buying video from iTunes after I discovered I can only download content once.  That doesn’t seem very nice to me; especially since they limit the viewing of the content to a few computers.

Has anyone had any experience with either (or both) in regards to storing DVD content on your computer and streaming it to your TV?  How is the user experience and video/audio quality?

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