My bedroom HTPC is back up and running, with my wife singing its praises. We have a 56" DLP in the living room and she wants to watch her shows on the 19" LCD monitor setup in there. But whatever the wife wants, the wife gets, right?
The issue came down to using Boxee vs. XBMC, and using Vista vs. Linux vs. XP. In the end, XP and XBMC won out. The first machine I started with was a 3GHz single-core HT P4 with 2GB RAM and a 128MB nVidia card. It started as a Vista machine, but the license I was using was betrothed to the machine in the living room. After two weeks it just crapped out with limited processor, black desktop, and annoying prompts that I may be a victim of software counterfeiting. After that I installed the latest Ubuntu, 10.04. Aside from the annoying left-side close buttons, it didn't work too bad... until XMBC or Boxee started up. The machine just went to a crawl and took forever to bring back from a coma.