I built this PC in January of 2013 as a means of streaming video and playing back movies for my living room TV. I have not subscribed to cable service since 2007 and there is little reason to do so. I paid a premium for this PC as I wanted select parts for a better experience if needed. You can spend as little as $300 to build a decent HTPC.
Parts Lists and rationale: i3-2120T - I selected this processor for its power and low TDP. The processor had the best power and intergrated graphics for the 35W TDP range.
2TB HDD - You may not need this much storage. It depends on how many movies, songs, tv shows you plan on storing. Storage was cheap so I went with the lowest price per gigabyte at the time.
Crucial M4 64Gig SSD - Once again this part is not a must. I went with this for a fast boot time and to store my OS files. If you do not care about boot time then save your money. One hard drive is most certainly enough for a HTPC.
ASUS USB-N13 - Not a fan of integrated wi-fi. I bought this part as it was cheap. Most wi-fi components do not last more than a couples years, so I try to get a decent part for a cheap price.
Cooler Master Elite 120 Black - I initially bought an Apex MI-008 case but the spring loaded DVD cover broke. Probably not the best design by APEX. This new case is much larger but not so large that if can't fit in a Home Entertainment Stand. Make sure you take size of the case into account for where you will place this unit. The case contained a fan seated next to the CPU. The fan is poorly built and noisy. I ended up unplugging it as it is not needed.
Corsair 430W PSU - I bought this PSU because it had decent reviews for the price ($19). I CANNOT recommend this PSU for a HTPC build. It is extremely loud and most certainly will overpower any low volume media viewing. I will eventually replace this. Feel free to recommend noise free ATX options.
Microsoft Windows 7 64 Bit - I wanted the media viewing components such as Media Center. Media Center is not included in Windows 8, you have to purchase it separately. If you think you need Windows 8 then you can download XBMC for media playback capabilities.
LG Bluray Burner - I may never use the Bluray functionality and I have not as of the date of this review (03/03/2014). Unless you really plan on viewing Bluray DVDs with your HTPC then save your money and go with a cheap DVD Burner.
IOGear Media Keyboard - A MUST have for your HTPC. The intergrated track ball mouse and keyboard size make for easy storage. This component is also very durable. I have not had to change out the batteries in quite some time.
Memory - Looking back, I could have gone with 4 gigs or ram. I do not surf the web with this PC nor game. If you are using your HTPC for viewing media only then I would recommend four gigs. I had the money and ram is cheap but still 8 gigs is not necessary.
Added some pictures. Let me know what you think. I have had no issues with viewing movies. I am not the best at spotting poor media quality.