Originally Posted by BFHomeNet
General Question: I understand a stand alone custom built Server would be nice. But would a new Windows 7 PC desktop (with proper internals) running WMC do a good job of "serving" my other TVs?
In fact, after you've gone around and danced with all the other girls, acknowledge that this is the one you'll end up taking home to mother. There is no other realistic choice to serve your needs.
7MC box centrally located doing all the recording, with extenders--right now that is XBox 360, the current 4GB diskless base model is all you need--serving the 7MC experience to remote TVs.
You could save yourself a bunch of time and heartache by simply embracing this now and avoiding the running around to try to twist twelventy different pieces of hardware into some sort of system that will never work, but I know you'll try to exhaust that route first anyway.
What you will not get with 7MC, out of the box: Netflix on the extenders. There are ways around that, or you can just go XBox Live Gold on each XBox to get your Netflix that way, or just add a Roku or AppleTV or whatever as an extra box on the remote TVs and call it a day.
What you will get when you embrace 7MC with extenders: a functioning system that works and will make your wife happy.
Start simple and clean, without any add-ons. Get it all working and get everyone happy with it. Then you can start customizing it to your heart's content.
Yes, many people simply stick a boatload of storage onto the 7MC machine and serve their media out that way. It's not rocket science and doesn't require a separate server of any kind. But you are more than welcome to set up any server you want and make your various media available to the network that way. What sort of things are you looking to store? Photos? Music? DVD or BD stuff? Video, that can take huge amounts of storage if you have a lot of movies; some people have hundreds, and that's where you'll find mega-storage servers set up.
7MC is highly customizable, so poke around and start gathering links. But start with it bone stock and work with it that way first.
Also, head over to thegreenbutton.tv for tons of this type of information.