in the quest to find the best media interface for the htpc i'm now trialing xbmc on my testbed pc. once again im using the assassins guides to walk me through this as i've heard that its more difficult to set up xbmc.
first step. download the latest version from their website http://xbmc.org/
its a pretty simple install so i dont need to go into detail about that. open it up and it consumes your screen.. a good ol alt+enter will get it to window size so that you can multitask. the nice thing about xbmc is that everything is done within the program and not external apps like media center master.
under the settings tab you can configure the many functions of xbmc. theres alot so i'll only list the significant ones such as weather. you just type in your city and select the appropriate provider.. i used weather.com and whoala ! full weather on display on the default skin. there is an aussie bom addin but i found it unstable.
I wont really tinker with the audio settings since my pc just has your regular 5.1 analog system.
one key thing to note is that you need to use "backspace" if you want to navigate back in menus. i wasnt paying attention and this took yonkers to find out.
anywho, i've installed some recommended cover art addins and will play with it some more another time.