I built the HTPC in my sig in the last month or so and I am totally happy so far. My media is local to the HTPC so streaming is not an issue with me...
Originally Posted by Mudfrog
If they are not good with technology do not build them a HTPC. I have done this for people in their 50's and they ended up having a $600 paperweight because they would not take the time to learn it.
For someone in this situation who is looking for streaming from netflix / hulu / etc.. i'd go with a bluray player that features those apps. It's very simple to use and basically no upkeep.
This. For sure. If they don't have any interest in learning the 'new technology', they won't. Not sure if this is the case with your folks but it is something to consider.
I would highly recommend a gigabit wired network for serious HD streaming. 300+Mb/s wireless-N should do the trick as well but there is always potential for interference with wireless (microwave, cordless phones, etc etc).
Also (in response to the guy who recommended Wake On Lan), WOL packets cannot be sent via wireless. WOL requires a hardwired connection.