Re: Home server building
I did exactly the same for many years.
Just install system-config-samba on the server computer, and you'll have a nice easy GUI for setting up a basic Samba server that any other networked computer will be able to access. Most/all networked media boxes can access Samba servers. Perhaps even your smart TV if you have one, although you mention you'll be plugging the server directly to the TV.
For downloading torrents, you can use Transmission or Deluge. I tried both, and eventually settled on Transmission for its very easy-to-use web interface. With that, you can manage your torrents from any other computer on your network. You do need to enable the Transmission web UI in the Transmission settings.
I try to treat the cause, not the symptom. I avoid the terminal in instructions, unless it's easier or necessary. My instructions will work within the Ubuntu system, instead of breaking or subverting it. Those are the three guarantees to the helpee.