Mini-PC for streaming video to living room TV

Hi all, new to the forums but a long-time fan of this site. Always has such great advice and information, so I thought I'd post up a question of my own. As the subject says, I'm trying to setup up a mini-pc to connect to a living room flat-screen TV and wanted advice on builds - there are a ton of mini-pcs out there and I'm wondering if it's worth the time/trouble to build my own or if the pre-configured models are worth it. Most likely the best answer is to build your own, but on the off-chance, I thought I'd ask. I'd also like to ask for some help on building said machine (if that's the best course). I saw an article posted back in 2004 about "13 Barebone PCs are anything but square" but I wanted more updated advice. I looked at Shuttle and they seemed to really have what I was looking for - a PC to hook up to my living room TV and stream video. That's all it has to do, we already have our own PCs for gaming, etc, just want one dedicated PC to stream video onto the TV. Any help at all would be appreciated, here are the conditions and whatnot:

Not trying to break the bank, under or around $500 would be ideal. We have Wireless G and the router's in the room next to the living room, so no issues with signal weakness. We'd like it to fit where our DVD and VCR used to be (well, "used to be" after this PC replaces them :-p). No need for a monitor, obviously, and of course we'd be getting wireless mouse/keyboard (any suggestions here would be welcome, as well). Would like it to run XP, rather than Vista.

Sorry if this is unclear in any way, if there's anything I left out I'll try to clarify. Thanks!
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More about mini streaming video living room
  1. so you want a HTPC or an actualy computer to stream the videos (sort of like a NAS)?
  2. teh_boxzor said:
    so you want a HTPC or an actualy computer to stream the videos (sort of like a NAS)?

    An actual computer to stream the videos. Just for streaming video, it wouldn't be used for anything other than that. I set one up for my uncle but his flat screen is 2 years old and didn't have a PC input so we had to put a new graphics card on his computer with a TV out using S-video and the text is nearly impossible for him to read.
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