I've now installed twice-
I installed Ubuntu + nvidia drivers and some codecs, mplayer, xine etc. Got latest updates and tested box. All was well. Then I installed LinuxMCE which trashed the nvidia and codec installs on a reboot. No amount of coaxing would let me reinstall nvidia. In top of that HAL decided he wasn't going to initialize for anyone either.
I started again- clean install. This time I only updated the default Ubuntu install. Then I installed LinuxMCE. On a reboot no nvidia and no codecs. HAL was taunting me with 'failed to initialize' as well.
So I installed nvidia and the codecs. Rebooted. Drivers seemed to get were again. I haven't gone further as proceeding without the nvidia drivers is probably pointless.
Any advice? Can I really do this with 'no linux knowledge' as the home page implies