Both ends of the car are pretty much unbolt and replace. Nothing difficult really. Note that you may need either a torx or allen wrench to hold the stud while turning off the nut. I've seen both so check first so you know what you need if you aren't equipped in the toolbox. As far as manufacturers, I've used both OEM and aftermarket and have to say I don't get a huge amount of difference out of them. The roads are so bad here and with the sea air the fronts usually need changed after about 18 months and the rears maybe 24 months.
'02 V70XC (Ash Gray)-305K kms to-date
And a whole tonne of other Euro stuff (Volvo (7), VW (6), MB (1), Audi (3), BMW (2), SAAB (5), Land Rover (4), Porsche (2), Opel (1), MG (1), Mini (2), Sunbeam (1))