JWZ has an excellent rant on the state of Linux video and more importantly, why it sucks so much. Some of his problems seem to fall into the "well, it works for me, I don't know why it doesn't work for you" category. I use mplayer but only from the console, because the graphical version (gmplayer) is not what I need. I have used it a few times though, and it didn't do the things he described. I don't use redhat so I can't comment on installing gstreamer on a redhat system, but I have used XINE and while it seems to play things properly, the UI designer did seem to be on some serious crack.
All in all I think it does go back to the fact that there are many projects trying to do the same thing. I don't think that the alternative of having only one way to do things (ie: the microsoft mentality) is a better alternative.