Thanks for responding, but I'm thinking more & more of giving up.
Here is what I have encountered so far:
The test of the 3 different video modes offered (static, OpenGL or OpenGL with blending) showed no differences between the 3 modes with my Nvidia GeForce 6600. However, all 3 showed problems with jaggies on the rotating cube and with the layering of the overlays. Updates of the rotating cube kept putting it in front of the burning match. I am only guessing that this is wrong, because I couldn't find any explanation of what I *should* be seeing here. Since I didn't see any difference in the options offered, I chose the recommended one: OpenGL w/blending.
When the wizard got to selecting video resolution, it didn't offer the native resolution of my LCD TV (1280x768), even though this is supported by the NVidia windows driver. Furthermore, selecting other supported modes (e.g. 1280x1024) didn't actually change the video mode. Instead it created a virtual screen which I could pan around (neither useful nor expected). When the wizard finally got to the video test screen, I found myself in an endless loop. I have tried proceeding cancelling, etc., but somehow always wind up back on this screen. The video appears in a small window on the left side of the screen. It flickers and appears intermittently overlaid with a smaller version of the screen in which it is embedded.
I have 2 audio adapters, one (Realtek HDA) on board and one (old Creative SB) PCI card. The installation wizard apparently chose to use the PCI card without giving me a choice. IAC, there is no audio. I tried to fix this using Kmix from the KDE desktop, but to no avail.
I also have 2 IR interfaces, one built-in and one connected via external USB. The installation wizard doesn't recognize either one.
Based on http://forum2.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=6042.0
I tried disabling my on-board NIC and was able to get connectivity through the suspect PCI card. Even though my HTPC (FSC Scaleo E) doesn't have a WLAN interface, linuxMCE somehow managed to make it the DHCP server for my WLAN, disrupting the Internet connections of other equipment in the apartment.
Since the symptoms described for the Realtek 8168 didn't match mine, I am still not sure what the real problem is. IAC; the NICs are the least of my problems. To sum up, *none* of the essential components for a Media Center work.
I did take the trouble to read both the FAQs and the Installation manual before starting. It is particularly disappointing to have such miserable results in the video department, since the documentation specifically suggests that my Nvidia is supported.
I didn't find any reports (positive or negative) on the mainboard in my HTPC, but I had the (perhaps unreasonable) expectation that HW specifically assembled for this purpose ought to work reasonably well. IAC; I don't have the luxury of custom-building a replacement system, just to accomodate linuxMCE.
Because of its closer integration with the OS and based on the many commentaries about it, I had high hopes of a more fluid, appliance-like experience with linuxMCE. Unfortunately, these hopes have been dashed by my inability to get even the basic functions working. AM I REALLY THAT STUPID?