As for edition - don't bother right now - just find a group and THEN make a decision. It would SUCK to buy 3.5/Pathfinder/4.0/whatever and then find out everyone nearby is playing a different edition.
To be honest, edition doesn't really matter all that much. It's the STORY behind the game that makes it good or bad.
I've never used tiles - I use a battle map (square grid) and minis, but small coins work just as well, as do small pebbles, bottle-caps or anything else you can think of. I've used rolls of coins for armies of bad-guys - AND good guys (heads versus tails!), and it's worked out well. I've known people that have used hundreds of dollars (pounds) of minis to do the same thing... but like I said, it's the STORY that drives a good (or bad) game.
Find a group at a local gaming store and learn how they play - and plan from there.
For ease of playing and learning the system (whichever edition you end up with) - I recommend starting with a fighter. Find a good role model (movie or book character) and model a fighter after that person. This will help give you an idea of what you may need to do. What skills and such do you need to build a Conan, or Mad Martigan, or Gimli, or Rob Roy or Steven Segal (all of his characters are the same...), or whatever? Just, for all that is holy, choose a DIFFERENT NAME... sorry, it's a pet peeve of most experienced gamers to see a new person that has a character named, "Conan" or "Aragorn"... You can LOOK like them, act like them and FIGHT like them - just don't share their name!!
And welcome to the land of the geeks!! We're a pretty accepting bunch - just don't steal our Doritos or Mountain Dew, and we'll get along fine!!