I'm new here as well, but I think the big advantage of going with a windows based HTPC is the SW and HW developed for this platform. You can get a sense of this by just going from here to the Linux room.
I would have loved to go with Linux, but I wanted HDTV functionality, and, well... it just ain't there yet. Actually, it's barely there for XP, but at least two minor vendors, the MyHD and Fusion folks, support Bill Gate's baby. Linus doesn't seem to have as much pull. And as much as I have enjoyed tinkering with Linux from time to time, I must say the Redmond boys have finally gotten it straight with XP. It is a very usable OS, and I have been very happy using it on my HTPC.
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