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You want a title over your video? Just click the "T" on the Monitor panel to launch the title workspace.
Make sure you're working in timeline mode, so you can position it where you want it.
As for playback quality, I recommend burning a DVD and playing the video back with the laptop's DVD player.
I was looking to put text at the bottom of a clip as you can't really hear what the person is saying.
I'll burn to a DVD and see how that works
In the Titler, you can place your "text box" anyplace you wish.
For Lower Thirds, I'd make sure to use a sans serif font, like Arial, in as large a size, as you can to fit your copy within the area that you want it.
If you happen to get any "jaggie" in your text, when viewed on a DVD (test with a DVD RW, so you don't make "coasters."), you might try a touch of Gaussian Blur on the Title only. Set it to horizontal about 1-2 and see if the readibility is still good, but the "jaggies" gone. With small font sizes (especially with serif fonts), you can get a bit of jagginess and even chromatic flicering in the type.
I just picked up an idea from Joe Bowden, one of the developers of Encore. In the Encore>Subtitles sub-forum, he gave a tip for someone with jaggie subtitle text. What you are doing is not pure "subtitles," like in Encore, but faux subtitles - similar, but different.
For a softer look, he suggested doing a Stroke for the Text with a small, lower Opacity color, than the Fill. I believe that PE's Titler can do this easily. Premiere Pro's Titler can, but I'm just guessing with PE's. This gives the visual impression of Anti-aliasing. May be worth a try. If you cannot adjust the Opacity of a Stroke, try just choosing a lighter color, but in the same family as your Fill.