I use Windows Media Center 2005 to play back video over my network. Mostly I play the original VOB (mpeg) files from DVDs. But occasionally I have an Xvid file AVI file. It will play if FFDshow is installed, but there is no way to fast forward or rewind and there is no support for “post processing” – which can greatly improve image quality.
I found out about a plug-in for Windows Vista Media Center that apparently solves these problems and add even more features, such as support for MKV files (the replacement for AVI), subtitles, and bookmarks. I’d be even happier if it supported Media Center 2005, but I’m going to upgrade to Vista on my Home Theater PC before long anyway. The Media Control plug-in is available from http://damienbt.free.fr/ . I look forward to trying it out.