The Raspberry Pi foundation has released new software for the Raspberry Pi that should make it easier for new users to get started. The development called New Out Of Box Software (NOOBS) does away with the need for network access and special imaging software. You unpack the NOOBS zip (from the downloads section) file on to a SD card and then when you boot up the Pi you get presented with a menu letting you select an operating system, so you could pick RaspMBC for a media center or Raspbian for general use. I think it’s a great idea to make it as easy as possible for new users to get started. It also has a recovery menu by holding down shift during startup and enabling you to edit the config.txt file or re-image the SD card.
Read all the details on the Raspberry Pi blog