Thanks to many of the posts on this forum, I was finally able to get Core and MD setup. It turns out that there is some conflict with which Linux & K/MCE recognizes drive order. Here is what I did:
ALL DRIVES ARE SATA
a. Disconnected all drives in core with exception to boot drive.
b. Restarted system and core finished installation
c. Once MCE was completely configured, reconnected drives - (in my case, discovered that system would not boot, if boot drive was in SATA1 slot, eventually had to be in SATA5 slot) system booted once I got this straight.
d. Followed directions for building Media Director. (MD would not display AVWizard correct to my TV (Sony projection) so I had to connect a monitor)) select the correct settings for output and audio, finished the AVWizard on attached monitor and reconnected to my system (MD is directly connected to a pioneer elite receiver via DVI/HDMI ---> Pioneer receiver is connected to TV via HDMI (720p max resolution).
Remaining issue is on MD:
When I move cursor over orbiter -> media - I only see floorplan and not the full list (TV, Video, etc.,). I will reload MD to determine if it was just the initial load that was the problem and repost.
Thanks everyone for testing and documenting your experience that eventually helped me out.