Moving from Windows to Linux - Media PC with tv and blu ray

Hi everyone,
my first post here and I feel a little sheepish about the nature of it because I imagine I could find the answers by digging around. However, with so many variables to consider I could spend a lot of time going down the wrong direction. So, fingers crossed- I am hoping someone can get me started pretty quickly.

I am running Windows 7 on a i5 3.2Ghz, it is pretty old. Has plenty of disk space, and 6GB of ram.
My Windows OS is on a solid state disk with only about 10gb free. I have a mix of external HDD over USB, and SCSi inside the box.

What do I want to do:
Have a hassle free time getting a Linux system up and running to replace Windows with.

So, the perfect approach for me would be to:

Install a reliable and nicely put together Linux, probably SUSE or similar.

1) Dual boot until I can ditch Windows altogether if it all works out.

2) Be confident my hardware will work. In particular the things that are important are:
Videomate SAA7231 Hybrid DVBS for satellite and terrestrial digital TV. I know very little about the card or how it works at a technical level. With Windows I just plug it in, and Windows Media Centre does the rest for me.

My Samsung CD-ROM/DVD R/W/blu-ray player

Then things like my nVidia GeForce 210 and my Atheros AR9285 wireless network adapter.

3) Find a good and easy to use free program that enables me to watch and record TV via the TV cards connections to terrestrial and sat. Ideally it should have a Tv guide so I can schedule recordings for favourite shows.

4) Email and office type software that will work with my library of documents built up over the years.

5) I guess I am going to have to connect my iPhone to it as well.

So, firstly, am I being naïve thinking this is all going to be doable?

Is it going to be a significant technical challenge getting all the bits and pieces to work?

Am I going to struggle to find drivers?

I appreciate this is a lot to ask. Sorry, I don't really know where else to go for a starter on this.


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Re: drivers

I checked 2 driver sites (like and they only had Windows drivers for the Videomate SAA7231 Hybrid DVBS.

So the first step is to go to the makers site (seems to be compro) and start your driver search. If no luck, they might have a FAQ or a contact option to their customer or tech service. It would be nice if you could actually talk to their staff and explain what you want. Then they can tell what they can offer you.

It won't harm at all to install Linux (any variety) in a new partition on your hard disk in a dual-boot configuration and start working on it. But I doubt if it will be succesful.


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Bluray still looks like hassle time on Linux.
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Thanks to you both for your help.

Kees, thanks for having a look on my behalf. For some reason I didnt think about doing it what way around. I wrongly thought "chose my Linux, then hunt for drivers" rather than "see which drivers area available from a list". Happy

I think you are right, just have a go with it and see how I get on.

R. Proffitt - thanks for the heads up. It doesnt sound like the kind of experience I am interested in having. Why change? I fancy a new experience, a change from Win7, but am not keen on the Win10 tradeoffs.

I imagine finding a free tv recorder with an accurate tv guide might be tricky too if something as common as BR/DRM hasn't been made easy.

Food for thought. I'll mull it over.

Many thanks for your input.

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The TV guide got legalled.

Or something. If you want to see a big mess due to your choice of words here, google up ROVI LOSES COURT CASE and while it may sound like not a big deal, imagine all the fall out from that.

I'm still hearing (reading) screams from SmartTV owners (mostly sony+samsung) where the guides vanished over night.

This case has sent a chilling effect to those that would dare think of making a replacement.

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which is now Kodi might be of some benefit in that search.

Also MythTV, and they have a list of supported hardware. Best way to find out what works is check linux sites where they list hardwares and what does or doesn' work with that particular distro.

Here's hardware search area for Linux Mint, which is fork of Ubuntu. Look for TV Tuners.

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