Here's some notes and links regarding the firmware for Realtek 1186 media players.
The Himedia 900b is today the most supported box as far as firmware updates.
Although other boxes have the same System on Chip, and some even have the same main board, Himedia has had the most support written about it. For other vendors of 1186, firmware is practically nonexistant, or hasn't been located through reasonable search attempts.
Firmware is being improved with new features by 3rd parties. This is the way new apps are installed.
An example of a 3rd party application is a "jukebox" that displays cover art and descriptions for media files, so that when users search the library that the player is connected to, they have access to describe each title in detail. This could be like a similar PCH (popcorn hour) application. It is the ultimate menu for files.
It may be possible to flash the firmware updates and improved applications added by 3rd parties, originally for the Himedia ,into other 1186 boxes, as long as the boot sector is not overwritten with the boot sector from another vendor. Note: See the Important Consideration below, first.Safe Mode Emergency Recovery
This changes or restores the firmware and also restores the boot start-up firmware. The boot start-up firmware is unique to each brand of box vendor.
The boot start-up firmware is only re-written by this Safe Mode Emergency Recovery. I re-wrote the procedure from the follwing link. http://bbs.himedia.com.au/index.php?topic=700.0Begin
Turn player off. Disconnect power cable, remove all HDDs, USB and network media connection cables.
On a PC, place a firmware image, specifically for that box brand, in the root of a connected USB disk / flash media, which is renamed to install.img. The PC may not show the .img extenion after the file is renamed, so the firmware file may be named simply, "install"
If you have a battery backed up UPS, it is best to do the firmware upgrade with the player plugged into that for power, so that the power is not interrupted by a power failure.
With this disk / flash that has that "install" image as the only media connected to the player's USB port, press and hold the Restore button in the hole on the player, turn the player on, while still holding the Restore button pressed. Five seconds after power up, release the restore button. The firmware upgrade screen will now show. Do not turn the power off nor remove the USB drive / flash until at least five minutes after the player self-reboots and shows the "finished" message. This allows time for installation of an optional "key" file that follows the, "finished" message.Important Consideration
A careful user of this player would not cross flash any firmware from another vendor if replacement firmware from the specific box you own isn't available. This is because the Safe mode recovery described above should only be done with a firmware file that exactly matches the vendor that the box was purchased from.
Today, I do not see replacement firmware for all vendors of these "1186 boxes," available from the internet. Some vendors included this firmware on a CD that's included with the player when it's initially purchased. Check that you have it before cross flashing.Non-Emergency Firmware change
The procedure to install changed firmware, or firmware from another 1186 vendor, uses the same setup for the USB connected drive with the file renamed to install.img that is used for the safe mode recovery (above).
Instead of using the "power up with the restore button pressed," which is the aspect that makes it a "safe mode recovery," use the menu on a working player that is already powered up, and navigate to select Setup>MISC>USB upgrade. The player will reboot and begin the firmware upgrade. Then continue as per the safe mode recovery.
In summary, the first method with the restore button pressed does the full recovery, even potentially fixing a dead bricked player.
The second method, that starts with the menu access, does not re-write the "vendor unique" boot start-up portion of the flash memory. It is this second method that may be suitable for cross flashing the firmware with 3rd party applications from one vendor player to a different one.List of Firmware numbers and dates for Himedia 900b*
Note: the 1186 boxes first started shipping In October 2011. Newest version is listed first.
Version 18.104.22.168 (2012-2-28 Beta)
Version 22.214.171.124 (2012-1-30 Beta)
Version 126.96.36.199.120116 (customized by Olly)
Version 188.8.131.52 (2012-1-6)
Version 184.108.40.206 (2011-12-30 Beta)
Version 220.127.116.11 (2011-12-22)
Version 18.104.22.168 (2011-12-18)
Version 22.214.171.124 (2011-12-14)
Version 126.96.36.199 (2011-12-08)
Version 188.8.131.52 (2011-12-06)
Version 184.108.40.206 (2011-11-21)
Version 220.127.116.11 (2011-10-31)
Version 18.104.22.168 (2011-10-28)
Version 22.214.171.124 (2011-10-24)
Version 126.96.36.199 (2011-10-19)
Not all firmware for all vendors is shown.
"Compiled from the following sourceshttp://www.mediaplayer-info.eu/index...ewbetareleaseshttp://www.futeko.com/forum/index.ph...thread&id=2125http://www.nikingstore.com/blog/hime...pdate-release/http://www.futeko.com/navpage/support.phphttp://bbs.himedia.com.au/index.php?topic=701.0