Just saw this post, it's a bit old but I thought it might be worth a quick reply to help out other people too.
There still is no better way to consolidate all your separates into one than with an HTPC.
Also, given the amount of great streaming video and music now available on the internet, having full internet access in the lounge is a real must. Lots of products claim to have internet access - eg the Nintendo Wii, Apple iTV, Media Extenders etc, but none of them cut it in my view. They all have restrictions on the type of video playback they support, or won't let you install browser codec plugins. The only way to go here is a full HTPC.
An HTPC doesn't need to be very powerful either - an entry level Core 2 processor is more than capable, and coupled with 1GB DDR2 RAM, a quite hard drive, Vista Home Premium and a cheap DVD Burner (or blu-ray player) and you are in business.
No need for a separate graphics card either, some motherboards have more than capable onboard graphics (see gigabyte MA69 or MA78 models). Don't forget, an HTPC is NOT a games or business machine, and doesn't need huge 3D graphics power.
My favourite htpc cases at the moment are from Origen and Hiper.
If you want to see some examples and specifications from our online shop, visit click here.