Personally I view a htpc as the best solution for everything, but general joe bloggs wont accept it because there are very few out of the box solutions. As a consequence you are talking custom built pcs etc and alot (I do mean alot!) of tech fiddeling.
So it appeals to people who like to constantly tweak to get the very best setup.
I think if someone released a simple to use box that did everything well enough then people would never look back
1. could stream their choice from the internet (netflix, lovefilm, bbc iplayer etc etc.)
2. could play pause record etc live tv
3. Could play blu-rays
4. automatically retrieve meta data for any rips (nearly good enough now)
5. Automatcially correctly rip dvds/blu-rays put in (this needs fixing in general, it needs to be as simple as ripping a cd into mp3)
6. Price has to be right, or it needs to be included in their next cable subscription.
My wife is not techy at all but loves our htpc (unless I have been messing with it and broke something
) She is even now getting her head around ripping new dvds we get.
My problem is that i'm never happy, always looking for the next, better solution