Setting up a Home Theater PC used to be a huge ordeal. Before Windows Media Center (and other all-inclusive media software), configuring a HTPC was an ongoing project as there were no standard or tested methods on achieving stability or automation. Getting a PC to ran as simply and reliably as an appliance has always been the goal of any Media PC enthusiast.
Microsoft's Windows Media Center 2005 was the answer to a lot of our prayers, as it offered a relatively stable media experience and provided advanced media features. Sure, it had its problems, but we were willing to live with them because the PC consolidated a rack full of equipment down to one box.