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66 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 164337 5-Feb-2015 21:28
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Hi everyone, thought I would post this in case anyone was interested.

Previously I had made available alternative firmware for the MagicTV 3600. This firmware changed the fixed skip buttons from +/- 10 minutes to + 1 minutes and - 8 seconds (makes skipping ads painless). It also allowed other things such as downloading videos using a web browser. That was some time ago, and I have had a lot of use out of my 3600 since then. More recently there have been problems with the unit (unrelated to the firmware patching) with the unit crashing and rebooting. This appears to be across the board with most 3600 units affected. More recently the manufacturer appears to have released newer firmware versions that solve this problem.

During this period of instability, I revisited my MagicTV 3700 that had been imported from Australia. I had already managed to convert the firmware from Australian to New Zealand and it worked as a normal 3700 would, but I didn't get much further at the time. More recently I have been able to gain access to the firmware, and patch it in the same way as the 3600 for skipping forward and backwards. I have not enabled the web interface as the media files are still encrypted so that would be of no use - still progress might be made on this in the future.

I have not yet looked at packaging this as a firmware upgrade - but there are some issues I know of that are likely to make this very difficult. So for now, patching the firmware requires taking the lid off the machine and connecting a serial console. So perhaps that doesn't help most people out there with a 3700. 

My father has purchased a 3700 and I have patched it for him. He has moved from a patched 3600 and says he has had no problems so far - and that it's a relief from the crashing and erratic operation that his 3600 has had in recent times.

Before I do much more work, I want to get my 3700 set up on my TV. The problem is the tuner doesn't seem to be as sensitive on the 3700 as the 3600 as I get much more breaking up - so it's pretty much a deal breaker for me to move over just now. I have an antenna installer coming next Friday to have a look - fingers crossed that he will be able to improve the received signal. We are not in a good signal area, currently 50km from Waiatarua.

So that's where I am at. Just thought I would let people know. If anyone has any questions technical or not - ask away.

Cheers.

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191 posts

Master Geek
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Trusted
MagicTV

  Reply # 1232032 5-Feb-2015 22:29
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The MTV3700TD that's sold in New Zealand has a hardware improvement for tuner reception (for NZ) over the original design for Australia.




LUMIN Network Music Player, Magic TV New Zealand and Australia firmware lead



66 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 1232034 5-Feb-2015 22:33
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wklie: The MTV3700TD that's sold in New Zealand has a hardware improvement for tuner reception (for NZ) over the original design for Australia.


Bummer, that might explain it then. I will compare it to my fathers 3700 that was bought in New Zealand. I'll probably still go ahead with getting the antenna checked just to be sure. Thanks for the feedback :-)


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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1232069 6-Feb-2015 00:44
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Hi Ian. I'm also in a poor reception area (I'm in Sunnynook with big hills between me and pine hill, waiatarua and the sky tower). My Sony TV had no problem but my (at the time) new MTV3600 kept breaking up (despite its diagnostics indicating an easily adequate signal level). I improved matters by removing a soon-to-be useless VHF antenna. I solved the problem completely by installing a Kingray UHF filter/20dB masthead amplifier. Cheers, Jef.

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1232083 6-Feb-2015 03:09
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For what it's worth, my 6.08 B2 3600 is behaving as if it's got a memory leak.  It barely copes with UI interaction while it's playing live TV.  If it's recording one channel it becomes a bit laggy.  If it's recording 2 channels it becomes laggier still.  Over time (from restart) it slowly bogs down until every remote press takes minutes to respond.  Selecting menu | system | restart will take up to 10 minutes to shutdown (depending on how laggy it has become) and restores normal operation again for a while once it reboots.

cb1

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1232133 6-Feb-2015 10:56
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JefWright: For what it's worth, my 6.08 B2 3600 is behaving as if it's got a memory leak.  It barely copes with UI interaction while it's playing live TV.  If it's recording one channel it becomes a bit laggy.  If it's recording 2 channels it becomes laggier still.  Over time (from restart) it slowly bogs down until every remote press takes minutes to respond.  Selecting menu | system | restart will take up to 10 minutes to shutdown (depending on how laggy it has become) and restores normal operation again for a while once it reboots.


I have the same problem. Haven't had any issues with the startup reboot yet, so looking good on that front. Thanks Wklie




cb

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Geek
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  Reply # 1237510 13-Feb-2015 17:46
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I have not enabled the web interface as the media files are still encrypted so that would be of no use - still progress might be made on this in the future.


Note that only the HD channel recordings are encrypted - you can still pull off the SD channel recordings [Prime, Choice etc] & watch them on another device.




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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1237546 13-Feb-2015 19:17
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Note that only the HD channel recordings are encrypted - you can still pull off the SD channel recordings [Prime, Choice etc] & watch them on another device.


Thanks, didn't realise this. Will look into putting the web server back in :-)
I wonder if the encrypted files are with some per box key, or if every box records the same.


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Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 1237788 14-Feb-2015 10:19
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Hi, Any chance you could provide details of how to patch via the serial port method?

My 3600 recently failed after a power cut and I managed to pick up a 3700.

The better half is giving me grief about the lack of the ad skip (I was using your older patched firmware - thanks for the efforts ;-)

I'm pretty comfortable with the tech details, but starting from scratch. Cheers for any help.



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1258190 14-Mar-2015 00:06
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Checked the forum rules, don't think this post or subsequent posts will violate them.

Firstly, please note: these posts assume some level of electronics knowledge. The MTV3700 is powered from an external 12V power supply so there is not really any shock risk. But certainly doing things wrong can blow up your MTV/computer/TV. I am not responsible  if things don't work out for you - if this worries you then stop reading. Also, I am not associated with Pixel Magic, MagicTV or the NZ importers. There got that out of the way.

So this is the first of probably quite a few posts on what I have done so far. First step in accessing the MTV3700 is getting to the serial console. The MTV serial console is available on a 10 pin header marked J6, the signal levels are at 3.3V. Because I wanted permanent access I added an external serial port.

 

     

  1. order the following MAX3232 board from eBay (not affiliated, just what I got): http://item.ebay.com/281577338977
  2. solder headers into J6 and J4 as they are normally unpopulated
  3. cut a hole in the back case to suit a DB9 connector
  4. file out a section of the hdd caddy to clear a connector plugged into J6

 

mtv J6-5 is wired to RX (it is an RX input to the mtv)
mtv J6-6 is wired to TX (it is a TX output from the mtv)
mtv J4-1 is wired to VCC (the is a convenient source of +3.3V)
mtv J6-10 is wired to GND

Here's some pictures of inside, without the hdd caddy:
Click to see full size

and with the hdd caddy:
Click to see full size

You can then use an old fashion RS232 port to talk to the serial console. The settings are 115200 8n1.

Another option is to wire in a USB FTDI type interface, e.g. from sparkfun
        https://www.sparkfun.com/products/9873
        https://www.sparkfun.com/products/9717

With this you can see the messages as the system boots, and can also get the linux shell login. But we do not know the password.

That's all for this post.



66 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 1258197 14-Mar-2015 00:15
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2lostkiwis: 
Before I do much more work, I want to get my 3700 set up on my TV. The problem is the tuner doesn't seem to be as sensitive on the 3700 as the 3600 as I get much more breaking up - so it's pretty much a deal breaker for me to move over just now. I have an antenna installer coming next Friday to have a look - fingers crossed that he will be able to improve the received signal. We are not in a good signal area, currently 50km from Waiatarua.
Cheers.


Forgot to mention the antenna installer resolved the signal issue. Basically there were issues with the signal, and now after raising the antenna it's all good :-) So I am now using my MTV3700 full time.

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1258200 14-Mar-2015 00:17
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Ian mentioned installing an RS232 transceiver (chip) in his 3600 in order to initially get into it.  They probably load firmware via a custom bed of nails in the factory and don't need a transceiver after the prototype build.

I wonder how big the 3700 community in NZ is - and how much it would appreciate gaining a +60 sec / -8 sec skip capability?  It seems to me that say 10 people could pitch in $65 each and easily buy Ian a new 3700 by way of "thank you" for such an improvement.  One more donor and he can get a masthead filter/amplifier to help with his remote signal issues.

How about a show of hands?  Would you put a small amount of money into a paypal account to get Ian a new 3700 so he can figure out how to improve it?  At the very worst everyone else might renege so you might lose that money and get nothing for it.



66 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 1258262 14-Mar-2015 09:53
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JefWright: Ian mentioned installing an RS232 transceiver (chip) in his 3600 in order to initially get into it.  They probably load firmware via a custom bed of nails in the factory and don't need a transceiver after the prototype build.

I wonder how big the 3700 community in NZ is - and how much it would appreciate gaining a +60 sec / -8 sec skip capability?  It seems to me that say 10 people could pitch in $65 each and easily buy Ian a new 3700 by way of "thank you" for such an improvement.  One more donor and he can get a masthead filter/amplifier to help with his remote signal issues.

How about a show of hands?  Would you put a small amount of money into a paypal account to get Ian a new 3700 so he can figure out how to improve it?  At the very worst everyone else might renege so you might lose that money and get nothing for it.


I think you're right, the serial port really is only a development tool - left on the PCB because it costs nothing to do so.

It's a nice, appreciated sentiment - but probably best not to accept any money because with that comes responsibility :-) I just work on this in my spare time and sometimes long periods can go by with no progress.

One thing I can offer is I would be prepared to do a manual upgrade on a limited number of units. To do the upgrade you don't have to install the serial port and modify the case, you can just solder in the header and temporarily connect to that. But it does involve removing the cover so would definitely void any warranty. The upgrade does not work across firmware upgrades and doing a factory reset reverts back to the normal functionality. I guess the 3700 has been stable for a while now so shouldn't be too big a deal.

The upgrade would be free as in I wouldn't charge anything for it. I guess realistically you'd need to be close enough to drop it off as I don't really want to get involved with posting things around - so I am in Pokeno south of Auckland. PM me if you are interested.

118 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 1259332 14-Mar-2015 14:17
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2lostkiwis:
I wonder if the encrypted files are with some per box key, or if every box records the same.



I think each unit will use a different key. Refer to the following extract from the MagicTV 3700 manual:

    Recordings made on a New Zealand Magic TV™ MTV3700TD unit are encrypted and can only play on the unit which originally made the recordings.


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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1259339 14-Mar-2015 14:35
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2lostkiwis:
I wonder if the encrypted files are with some per box key, or if every box records the same.

RingoTB: I think each unit will use a different key. Refer to the following extract from the MagicTV 3700 manual:
Recordings made on a New Zealand Magic TV™ MTV3700TD unit are encrypted and can only play on the unit which originally made the recordings.

I deduced exactly the opposite last night from the dish tv website.  They say that files saved on a network drive from one 3700 (eg in the lounge) could be played back on another 3700 (eg in a bedroom).  That strongly implies that there is either one common security key across all 3700s or they communicate across the network to share encryption duties or that they all infer their keys from the same network wide source.


118 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 1259340 14-Mar-2015 14:45
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JefWright:
2lostkiwis:
I wonder if the encrypted files are with some per box key, or if every box records the same.

RingoTB: I think each unit will use a different key. Refer to the following extract from the MagicTV 3700 manual:
Recordings made on a New Zealand Magic TV™ MTV3700TD unit are encrypted and can only play on the unit which originally made the recordings.

I deduced exactly the opposite last night from the dish tv website.  They say that files saved on a network drive from one 3700 (eg in the lounge) could be played back on another 3700 (eg in a bedroom).  That strongly implies that there is either one common security key across all 3700s or they communicate across the network to share encryption duties or that they all infer their keys from the same network wide source.



It will be trial and error them to see what actually happens. Both statements may be correct as the section I was looking at was to do with an external USB drive.

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