Lets see, how I can approuch this. 3 years ago you couldn't get a good scaler that will do 720p, 1080i, or 1080p for $1000. All you could get was a weak line doubler. Thats only 480p. I suppose there is new scalers out there that can do these resolutions very well for that price.
An 8 yr old can work a HTPC. My 12 year old can like its second nature. But a grumpy old crotchety fart struggling to get his wireless keyboard to work definately would be handicapped in this age of digital computers! :) I noticed alot of guys on this forum are the older "not with the times" crowd. I chat on other forums that comprises mostly of younger computer generation crowd.
Like I alluded to before a HTPC is more than just a scaler. If all you need is a scaler then getting a good quality $1000 unit is probably the best way to go. 3 years ago you couldn't do this. I still do not beleive a $1000 scaler out performs Theater Tek 2.11 with gforce 6600GT videcard. (Possibly with DVI output which I will try soon). Not untill I witness it with my own eyes. For YEARS people have been blowing scalers out of the water with TT or Zoomplayer using FFDshow.
Besides being a Scaler a HTPC is a media center. Its Email, Movie archives and database, net surfing, gaming, chat, audio system, music storage archive playback, picture storage playback, television dvr playback recording archive database, etc etc etc the list is endless what a HTPC can do. ALOT of people on the HTPC forums use their HTPC's for ALL these purposes. I use my htpc for most of them. Im just not going to do the SageTV route. Got me a Cox Cable HDTV box. But I could have gotten a HDTV tv card.
Being stuck with just a scaler? Ouch. Where does that get fun? *grin*