I am in the market (around $500) for a laptop (have never had one before). Basic uses would be internet, word processing and watching movies (either on the laptop directly or via Blue-ray player on TV.
Does anyone have any suggestions for a good laptop for these uses?
Well virtually any laptop at your local electronics store in that price range should be good. So long as it's a dual core all modern laptop graphics accelerate hd video for smooth playback. Also seems like you might be interested in streaming movies to your tv, so try find a laptop with hdmi out.