The question about tarballs has been asked and answered in great details on LQ. Try using the LQ search function with tarballs and install or installation and you should find a wealth of information (including a posting by me
To get you started: tarballs or tar.gz and tar.bz2 files are typically for either:
1. compiling source code. The tarballs contain the source code for you to compile
2. Generic Linux binaries (distro-independent) that are ready to work "out of the box". Just untar them and install them where you wish (the /opt folder is the "standard" choice).
That should get you going. Have fun.