If you just want to just play media and you have a PC/Server then go with Rasplex and Plex Media Server, less fiddly than XBMC varieties for the PI. See http://www.rasplex.com
I switched from XBMC after using it for years, wanted something simpler.
I have a Pi running Rasplex connected to each of my 3 TV's, it plays high bitrate 1080p xvid, mp4, mkv files and supports AC3 or DTS over HDMI, and is controlled with the TV remote using CEC or any iOS device, it's also a very wife-friendly media player.
Also supports Music and Photos and automatically uploads photos from iOS devices.
Hardware: 1xRPi B 256Mb running Musicbox, 2 x RPi2's running Rasplex, RPi B+ running mail and web services, RPi2 running Plex Media Server