One final option that I just came across and have not tried is a program called Remote Potato. Apparently, this program combined with an Android App for your smartphone or iOS app for your IPhone/IPad will let you control your HTPC from anywhere.
What OS to run
I run Windows 7 Home Premium. Probably the easiest to use and find remote controls/keyboards for.
As far as the rest:
CPU Cooler - I've only used stock coolers (they run quiet enough for me), so I can't help there.
SSD - I, personally, do not see where the cost of an SSD is justified by it's performance in an HTPC. I will note that I have a standard 200GB HDD and only 64GB used (a lot of extra garbage files that I never cleaned off). So while you could probably get by with a 32GB SSD, I'd probably recommend going with a 64GB SSD. As far as which model to go for, I couldn't say.
One final thought - I'm not sure you'll be happy with the system's performance over a wireless network. If there is any way you can possibly hard wire the system to the network, do so. Initially, the bedroom HTPC used a wireless connection to stream media from the living room HTPC. It was kind of hit and (mostly) miss.
Aside from blu-ray playing software and Windows 7 Home Premium, I can't think of anything else you would need. For watching and recording TV from cable or satellite, I'd look into the Ceton Corp InfiniTV 4 TV Tuner. Beyond that, Windows Media Center should cover everything you need for all your media content.
There's not a dedicated HTPC section, but there's a common group of posters (like wolfshadow) that like to chime in on HTPC discussions in the homebuilt section.
Go ahead and join us. There's a few things you should know about the Toms community though. First, discussion of ripping dvd's and blu-rays is prohibited and can get you banned by the mods. Second, this forum is chock full of knucklehead gamers that think an HD5770 and >500W PSU are bare minimums... even for HTPC and will argue with you to no end. Onboard video is frequently said to be unable to handle HD video, and they will again argue.
That being said, there are some great guys on here with advanced hardware knowledge that can be a joy to discuss HTPC projects with.
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Just wanted those interested to know that I have added a illustrated step-by-step detailed tutorial full of guides on how to install, setup and configure all the software that you will need to use your HTPC.