good god man he does not need a 4 core PC with 16GB to run media. That is way over-kill just for media unless he also wants to run games. I like your idea but that is so costly and can be done so much cheaper.
Andy can you post what your budget is so folks can better list your options. Also what you want to do and how many TV you got and the like.
Basically I could get away with two tv's for now. The kids can go to hell and stick to their notebooks.
What I need is a media player that will let me browse the internet and have full video playback. Not worried about audio files. From too much reading seems most of the media players seem half ass attempts at something with each one missing something (I do have a Asus O!play Mini which works good as bare bones video player). So ATM I'm thinking HTPC or a netbook capable of playing video on a 47" TV. I'm also not worried about BR playback as I'm ok with DVD quality and really none of the videos I download are 1080 usually stick to downloading videos in the 1.5td or less size.
Main thing is getting news and having a video playlist availability. We have a 92 year old grandma living with us so when everyone is at work I'd like to just create a play list of bunch of video files and let it play for hours.
I was going to go with Boxee Box but being discontinued I guess I'll pass?. My budget is obviously the cheapest I can get but seems with a new router, htpc/media players/netbooks I'll be hitting close to $1000 for two tv's.
OK that PC would handle all your needs but I'd add a GPU in the mix too for the GPU acceleration. For the other tv's I'd get a WD live box. they can be had for like 100 bucks and play media on their own if you don't want to store everything on the network.
Someone may can come in here and list out some better hardware for the same price or a little more. I don't keep up on hardware much.
A system like this would cover all your needs I'd think. If I'm wrong someone please say something. No idea of the build quality of the hardware but hardware wise this would cover your needs. Some of the reviews on there say the case sucks.