I think there is some merit to OP's suggestion.
That is, if you need a gadget that just works as a small HTPC-like video player, without fiddling around and a lot of work by yourself, Raspberry Pi is definitely not the right device to get, especially not in this early stage.
No, it's probably not the exact right device for any random person who wants an HTPC-style media player.
But then again, people are going to know what they are getting in to. If you see a circuit board and you say 'Oh I can totally make that work as my media-player' then as far as I'm concerned you are enough of a geek to be a worthy recipient of a Pi.
Even if you don't really know how to do it first off, you'll learn it. And probably fiddle with it and learn more stuff and teach your girlfriend or anyone else who sits in front of your TV a lesson in using Debian (or whatever).
The point here is that using a Pi is going to sufficiently complex than genuine non-geeks just won't touch it, but sufficiently easy to learn that any semi-geek with an interest can learn it.
Anyone who doesn't know how to use it 'properly' when they start is going to learn pretty fast. And as long as people are learning what makes it tick and doing interesting stuff, then the Pi is doing what its supposed to do.