I neglected to mention that there was a Media Center specific companion application that I used in conjunction with PlayOn. I forget the name of it at the moment but if I remember it Ill post it. Anyway, the setup had a number default channels such as Hulu, Netflix, Youtube and so on. You could also add custom channels from online sources of your choice (including adult content if you like).
This past summer we visited my Wifef family in Florida. I got to see their various entertainment setups in their respective homes. One of her uncles was particularly proud of their Blu-Ray players ability to access Youtube and the like. He even went so far as to say that it was the only way one should do it (paraphrasing). Naturally I played along but it seemed clunky, awkward, limited and slow. There was no unity. Different interfaces with different remotes and having to switch to different inputs. The aspect ratio would randomly switch so you couldnt see all of the interface. It was a hot mess.
said by dave:
Maybe so, but one of the attractive features of Media Center (like Home Server, which is suffering similar abuse from Microsoft) was the integrated don't-need-to-think-about-it angle.
I screw around with computers all day. I have many computers at home. What I want for a Media Center is an entertainment appliance, not yet another computer to screw around with.
Media Center and Windows Home Server are not without flaw or complexity. Id personally be very careful to take the approach to suggest that they are simple or easy to deal with. I say this largely because of the general public that these products were aimed at. These products, while refined and powerful are simply above the heads of the uninitiated consumer.
Im not saying this applies to you Im just saying in general.