Currently our upstairs TV has a raspberry pi attached to it. It's running the basic Raspbian distribution, based on Debian Linux. I'm using it for development as well as for a media center at the moment, so I'm not using RaspBMC, I'm going to order another one has a dedicated media center, but for now I need to be able to play movies off of a usb stick.
I tried VLC, but the performance was horrible. Apparently it doesn't use the native GPU. I read about it online, and thanks to that finally found omxplayer, which does use the native GPU. Unfortunately, it's not all that polished when playing from the command-line. It leaves behind text in the terminal above and below the video at certain aspect ratios, which is visually distracting.
They haven't fixed it yet so I put a wrapper script around it to work around the issue. I plan to put a whole interface around it at some point just for fun, but for now at least I can watch movies without text in the black bars above and below:
#!/bin/sh setterm -cursor off clear omxplayer -o hdmi $1 clear setterm -cursor on
Simple, but it works.