Sorry for the audio, I dont know what the heck happened! The next couple tutorials turned out this way. I messed up somewhere and its now fixed so excuse the audio in this one and the next.
If you make it through this tutorial you should have enough understanding to get started in Houdini. And yes, any version will do. I myself run the Apprentice HD version. Its cheap and full featured, just cant be used to make money. It doesnt have a water-mark either.
Since AutoDICK killed the MAYA PLE, houdini is the only choice for starters. I have an upcoming video on this soon.