I reinstalled xubuntu on my good ol' laptop from 2005, and everything works great! The only problem is that video is slow/choppy - on the order of 4-10 frames a second, depending on the video. I used to stay up late in bed watching shows like Arrested Development and The Wire on this laptop, so not having video is a huge bummer.
I've tried lowering my resolution, and using different media players, like vlc and mplayer. That seems to help a little, but not enough to make videos watchable.
Another thing I noticed is the proprietary video drivers aren't available anymore - if there is any way to install these things again, that might work. I'm willing to get my hands dirty, but I'm not sure where to get started with something like that. Back in the ubuntu 8.04 days, the proprietary drivers loaded themselves automatically, but now they don't work at all.
The other thing I could try is re-encoding my videos somehow. That's something I don't know where to start with, so if anyone has any advice, I'd love to hear it. I did manage to install handbrake, but the options are kind of overwhelming, and I'm not sure where to start.
TL;DR I could use help either a) installing old, unsupported proprietary drivers or b) somehow re-encoding videos to be easier on my processor maybe?