Here is a good way of stickin it to the man. You hear me Mr gates, I got your number.
1st of forget what you have been told about media centres & windows and blah.....
Media centres are ok if you liking forking out money for the sake of it. Any thing with windows is going to crash - from pcs, to mobile phones. Not Only that, you can get rid of your DVD player soon enough as well.
Here is a way of saving about 800 quid (i'm basing this on paying for a tiny media pc, with hot specs).
Before i start, you will need a PC to convert your media (bit of a bitch as the whole point is to get rid of the PC, but i'm sure everyone has one in there office).
What you need is - Sumvision Hdd Media Player/Caddie. This can be picked up for 40 qiud from maplins or ebuyer. Well you don't have to get that exact model, that is the cheapest & reliable model i have found for that price. Also it's fanless so no annoying noise.
320Gb HD from Ebuyer Choose a samsung spinpoint, or seagate. Will cost about 50 - 60 quid. Make sure you read reviews, they will tell you if there silent - the main thing. You don't have to get 320, you can get smaller. But trust me, once you get a handle of digitizing your dvd's, you will soon fill it up.
Next - wait for delivery. Open boxes.
Next take out the hardrive, look at the bottom end. and grab the little jumper with a pair of tweezers, set it to master.
stick the HDD into the media player (connects with an IDE cable just like a PC).
Before you add to the PC with a USB cable, install the software that comes with the media player (there will be one that is called format 32. That enables you t format the HDD (which shoud be NTFS) into FAT32 (all media drives from IPODs to Creative zens to sky Plus are Fat32).
Now Your ready to use it as either a seperate harddrive or a drag & drop media player.
Ok nearly there - you need 2 peices of software for converting DVDs. Type the following in to google - FABDvd decrypter & DrDivx.
the first software extracts the DVD, the second compresses it.
Grab your dvd's and stick on your PC then onto the media player. I managed to convert Lord of the Rings trilogy & Matrix trilogy by leaving them over night to compress (obviously it takes this long if you want insane quality - buts its quicker on normal quality). Any way - you will love it. I promise you. Especially when you see how small & pretty it is. Not only that - it comes with component & VGA cables.
I have the complete 17 seasons of simpsons and god knows what else. Its a lazy man's wet dream. No more ugly pc beneath my giant TV, no more getting off my butt to change DVD's.
So for 90 quid and a little bit of know how & time.'