I have a couple suggestions. These are all readily available via download. Linux Mint, PCLinux OS, Mepis ver 6.9 RC6, Sabayon. These are all combination Live and Install distros. Mint is based on Ubuntu, but has proprietary codecs and drivers added. PCLinuxOS is an RPM based distro that uses APT for package management and has good hardware support. This version of Mepis is based on Debian Etch and also has good hardware and third party codec support. Sabayon is based, I believe on Gentoo and has great multimedia support. It also comes with a lot of cool games if you are into that.
The reason for trying multiple distros is that they all have different strengths. I have Linux installed on three different laptops. And three different versions of Linux. Mepis recognized the Broadcom wireless card out of the box on one laptop. PCLinuxOS has very good hardware support, it recognizes Atheros based cards out of the box and has easy access to proprietary codecs. On a laptop, what distro will work best is often a matter of luck, so by trying several Live/Install CD based distros, you increase the chance of finding the right one without having to install multiple distros. Good luck.