The word you are looking for is "HTPC"http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumdispla...&forumid=26http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_theater_PC
You can get by with relatively inexpensive components if all you need is a basic system that can play DVD/Blu-rays and stream video. AMD has some neat boards with 785G/880G chipsets that have everything (video/audio etc on the motherboard) and it works well enough for a basic system. Pair it with an inexpensive Athlon II and 4 gigs of memory and you have an almost ready to go system. I am not sure of the hardware Blu-ray decode on those chipsets. Consider power and heat when planning your system.
If you need a more capable system, something you can game on for example, you get into a system with a dedicated video card. I recycled my old system (IP35 PRO/E6750) along with a new video card (HD5670) and a 7.1 soundcard (no name VIA chipset) for HTPC use. You can build a strictly AV system, or build a system closer to a standard PC spec. I found after I built mine, it needed a card reader so the family can look at photos and movies we took on our various outings. Then it needed bluetooth to pull pics from our phones etc. That's the point of a PC, you can customize it to your needs.
Stuff I ran into:
If you are fitting your HTPC into a component stack, pay attention to the size/color/finish of your case. Make sure your case fits the motherboard (ATX/MicroATX etc.).
Remote control. You don't realize how much you miss a remote till you don't have one.
Noise (see power and heat above). Having a bunch of 120mm cooling fans cranked up on your gaming rig may be allowable. An HTPC should preferably be quiet so components that can use less power and run cooler, and can do it continuously, are a big plus.
Edited by dpunisher, 04 July 2010 - 06:32 PM.
I am a retired Ford tech. Next to Fords, any computer is a piece of cake. (The cake, its not a lie)
3770K @4.5, Corsair H100, GTX780, 16gig Samsung, Obsidian 700 (yes there is a 700)