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Okay well before I start asking questions, here is what I currently have:
Four computers plus one laptop running Windows XP Home (including all updates)
Two computers running on Windows Vista Ultimate (including all updates)
None of these computers are running 24/7, although there is always at least one computer running at any point of the day.

I am looking to set up something like a home server, which runs 24/7, that is accessible by all computers in my house, and can be used for storing videos, music, photos, any type of file we might have. For what I need, this server has to have at least 1 TB of storage space, and be accessible by any number of computers at the same time.. Here is my problem; I do not know how to do this properly and efficiently.

What would I need to do to make this work, should I purchase a server and install it in my house somewhere? Or is it possible to hook a external hard drive straight into a network, without hooking it directly up to a computer, so it can be accessed by multiple computers at one time?

One thing I do want to avoid is having to plug an external hard disk drive into a computer and share it, but if necessary I will do that, but only if I absolutely must.

Any help you can provide would be great :)
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