Before I bought a PC for myself I had a WDTV Live which was used to play all my Movies/TV Shows. But times have changed and now I can afford a PC which gives me flexibility and more control to do FUN stuff.
My server at home is primarily used for the following things
- Web Development (Apache + MySQL)
- Media Center using XBMC
- Cloud for my music using Subsonic
- SMB File Sharing
- Torrent Downloading
Most of the things mentioned above are installed on an Ubuntu OS which is installed as a Virtual Machine (VM) on my host OS Windows 7. This VM is backed up every night at 3 am on an external hard drive attached to the system. I use VMware Workstation for all my VM’s. But you could also use Oracle VM Virtaul Box. Earlier I installed Ubuntu as my primary OS and during a crash the backup always failed which forced me to reinstall the entire OS, software’s and set it up again. With VM’s the backups are walk in the park, just copy the folder in which VM’s are stored and voila you have a backup of your VM.
For my media center I have XBMC installed on the host OS (Windows 7) connected to a LED TV using a HDMI port.
It is also used as a SMB File Sharing server between me and my house mates.