Junior year of college, I built my first HTPC. I had all these movies, music, and pictures and I wanted to watch them on the television I had just bought for our college apartment. So I built an extremely cheap computer, hit it behind the television, hooked it up and installed software called Media Portal which would serve as a front end and let me browse and watch all of this media from the couch.
It was really cool, and I was constantly tweaking Media Portal. A few years later, after the popularity of HTPC’s grew, I bought a sleek Shuttle HTPC. More recently, I installed new software called XBMC to replace Media Portal.