Solution came from this thread:
Thanks Eliah and sorry for the confusion I generated.
I manged to view video correctly in totem by alt+F2, typing "gstreamer-
properties" and in the video tab selecting X window system (no Xv). This looks like a pretty general hint that might serve different people. In the case of vlc, others hinted at setting the X11 display in the video properties of the program, though haven't tried that yet.
Sorry once more