Re: Video playback
Seriously, Andy Tunnah, go XBMC. I barely know anything about Linux, but you can get a image with it ready to install - just select it from the boot menu and off it goes. There's basic configuration of movie sources to do but, basically, it's a POP. If you get a remote control for it, once it's configured it will just work like any other media device once it's powered up. Even my cat could use it ;-)
For example - this is the B+, but this kit has it all for you. You can't go wrong, literally!