[Update: Thanks to the reader who pointed out that Windows Home Server doesn't load on your Media Center PC, but will communicate with it through the Media Center Connector app.]
When Microsoft first released its Windows Home Server (WHS) OS, it seemed like a strong linkage between it and Windows Media Center would be one of the first things the company would have wanted to include. But Media Center has generally taken a winding path toward home theater PC improvement, so it's not really surprising that it's taken until today's release of WHS's Power Pack 2 for the server OS to show Media Center some love.
Now WHS can recognize a PC running Media Center (such as any system with Windows Vista Home Premium), letting you load a Media Center Connector app that will let the Media Center interface access video, music, and photo files and stream multimedia content on your WHS device. Media Center Extenders, which include devices the Xbox 360 and Linksys Media Center Extender DMA2200, can also play that content on TVs around your house. Finally, WHS now supports MP4 files and can send them to media devices that support the format, like Xbox 360 consoles.
Media Center still has some major issues (like no built-in playback support for Blu-ray and other vexing DRM limitations), but Microsoft at least eliminated this rather obvious oversight. And it's another feather in the cap of WHS, which has received mostly positive support since it's introduction.