....is like trying to find the absolute correct HD TV. Maddening.

I'm a noob to everything website (other than browsing). I'm looking to set up a Wordpress blog to learn and maybe some decent affiliate sites (with meaningful content) after I get my feet wet. Eventually, i'd like to create a full blown website with a specific targeted niche, complete with a forum, etc. First thing's first though....i've purchased a domain name through 1&1. I actually attempted to get hosting through them, but I got the following error message:

Important Information: Switching to an MS Hosting Package

* Scripting PHP,Perl and Python are not supported and will not work in a Microsoft-based Hosting package. Make sure that your website does not use any of these.
* Database Linux Hosting packages use a MySQL database rather than the MS SQL database available in the Microsoft-based Developer package. Your data will not be migrated.
* 1&1 Applications Please make a copy of all data in your 1&1 Website Applications and Communication Tools before switching your package. Applications found in your Control Panel, for example WebDatabase, are not stored cross platform.
* Webspace The content of your web space will not be moved to your new package. You will need to upload website files again in your new package. Please make sure to have a local copy saved.

To me, this reads as if i'm "switching" to a Microsoft hosting package (i'm running MS XP), then states that PHP is not supported. Am I not understanding that correctly? Doesn't PHP have to be supported for me to run Wordpress?

Anyway, I backed out of it and am currently researching some other hosting sites. In looking at the sites suggested by WordPress, I like MediaTemple the best as it doesn't appear to hit you with extra costs, and provides a high quality service. Is that a good estimation? It's a bit expensive for what I want to do right now, but i'm willing to put a little money up now in order to purchase better hosting.

Should I go with my gut, or does anyone have other suggestions?

Thanks for your time.