I had a look at mediaportal and it seems very capable and it's FREE! I myself use VMC (which I know isn't an option for you). I'm pretty green in all of this but it appears that every frontend has it's strengths and weaknesses, and it depends on your priorities. To me music (FLACs) was #1 and a bluray player was #2 which VMC does very nicely - with the addition of TMT. I will eventually want to look into recording TV and I think I may run into issues with VMC then.