On my home network I have a Server running Windows Server 2003. This server holds all my media including my entire dvd collection, and all my music. I would like to be able to access this media via my tv. When I say access this media, I mean from across the room with a remote and not a keyboard or mouse. I'd like to be able to change the input and select a movie/song from a big list, or something simular. I've read a little bit about media center and extenders and that seems to be the only option I can find. I'm wondering if there are any other options. I've also seen these media center barebone systems on newegg.com and was wondering what that was all about. How much am I going to have to spend to get this working? What kind of hardware will I need? I'd rather not use Media Center software or extenders if I don't have to.
Depending on the format of the movie/music you have on your server, you might want to look into something like the xbox 360. I use Windows "Home" server on a custom built box. This sits in my home office (headless - no monitor/keyboard/mouse) and is on my gigbit switch. I have an xbox 360 in my living-room also on my home network. The 360 can use Media Center Extender to hit a media center pc like MCE pc or a Vista Home Prem. or Ulti. But the 360 can also browse my shares on my Windows Home Server. So I can stream my music and movies that way. I'm not sure if the 360 can see a Server 2003 machine, but i'm sure there is info out there on it.