Friday night topic: Tell us about your HTPC

Surely by now, as a true PC enthusiast, you've built yourself at least one home theater PC (HTPC) and put it into use. In my experience, it seems like many HTPCs are largely very custom jobs that involve a tremendous amount of work on hardware and software integration, cooling, noise dampening, software/interface customization, remote storage management, and the like. If you've built an HTPC, what path did you take for hardware, OS, and software? What choices did you make that you like, and which would you change? At the end of the day, how well does the thing work? Has it replaced your TiVo/PVR, DVD player, VCR, TV tuner, stereo, game consoles, and cable box—or some subset of those things? Have you tackled the HDTV challenge? How well does your HTPC match your vision of where HTPCs ought to go? And does everybody else who lives with you actually use the thing? Discuss.
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