iView-3500STB Tuner & DVR Owners Thread - Page 130 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #3871 of 4273 Old 12-27-2014, 06:12 PM
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Watch out for boxes in the $60-$70 range though. They are often just overpriced clones of the iView.

To get a truly better product, you'll probably need to look for something in the $200 range (or a TiVo, which is under $200 but you must buy a $15/mo "subscription" for it to work).
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post #3872 of 4273 Old 12-28-2014, 12:08 PM
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Has anyone tried hooking up TTL serial on one of these yet to see what kind of console is available and to watch the boot messages, etc.?

I have seen some discussion on the mediasonic forum about making requests for U-Boot because it is GPL'd and getting no response, even having the thread deleted! Someone said something about GPL violations, and also about how mediasonic wouldn't release source because of a license agreement with MSTAR. Someone else mentioned a possibility to install Linux on these boxes.

I would be EXTREMELY shocked if this entire box is not running on a linux kernel, developed with GNU tools, and distributed in binary only closed source format. I mean everything from the menu system to the device drivers. I bet the whole firmware is one big GIANT GPL violation!

I mean think about it. You're in China, freaking patent, logo, and copyright infringement is totally rampant and unenforceable. Why would they bother taking the time and spending money to develop their own kernel, filesystem, etc. when it's already freely available? I mean come on the processor is even an open design, but still must be licensed for commercial use(although mips 34Kf is highly customizable and the processor design is likely highly specific and proprietary). But basically GPL is also totally unenforceable there.

I can understand the reluctance on their part to release source because it would reveal proprietary information about the specific nature of their processor (pipeline size, cache config, number of concurrent thread, etc.). Also in the new boxes (ch 3/4 switch) about their demodulator. In a market like china, if another semiconductor manufacturer got hold of this information they would be stamping out clones next week and selling them as authentic.

Still, if any of it was linked to a GPL'd library file, or even compiled with GNU tools then all of those parts are required by GPL license to be available as source. I would be willing to bet money that nearly all of it was created using GNU assemblers and compilers, but I seriously doubt that we will ever see that source code.

I bet all of these manufacturers are buying licensing from MSTAR for the base system kernel, menus, etc and probably have very little access to source themselves. Possibly only that which relates to the PVR software itself(if even that). But if the source was available, why license it from MSTAR when you can just compile it yourself, right? Here again there would be 20 manufacturers jumping out to make clones and MSTAR wouldn't generate any revenue from it, so I can understand their logic, but I also think that they shouldn't be breaking licensing agreements in GPL. If they want closed source, they should have to pony up for a non-GNU compiler that someone wrote in assembly and that they must pay for, but I bet they didn't! Why? Because it's china...need I say more? No offense to the Chinese, I like the people, but this kind of thing is so commonplace.

Worldwide, GPL violations are so common it's unbelievable. I don't think ANYONE could compute the number of products available which are closed source and include Linux and/or lots of other GPL or BSD style licensed code. It goes all the way from TV's, to cars, from embedded devices, to mp3 players, satellite recivers, and video gamess and everything in between, and we will probably not see source for 95% of that(or more). Even really large manufacturers are doing this...

In spite of all of that I would LOVE to see MSTAR release this source to us. We could do some pretty awesome stuff with this hardware if we had it. Imagine if we could add networking on the USB via a hub? We could stream the raw source to a computer or other device, download useful guide information for QAM, make the clock synchronized, etc.. With source we could improve the menu system, possibly add something like XBMC for streaming video playback, the limitations would be based on RAM a lot, but the ROM size isn't much of an issue if it's only used to boot up a basic system and then load the rest from an external drive, or even a network share.

This box could do so much, but likely it will remain as it is. Don't get me wrong, I just got this device as a christmas gift and I am really enjoying it. I would love to see it become a community development, though.

Cheeers!
-SB
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post #3873 of 4273 Old 12-28-2014, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by ftateche View Post
Hello all...
This week, I received a new IVIEW 3500STBII with ch 3/4 switch and the new remote. It has software version 20140305V2 and the hardware version is ATSC7816XD-02-Z00. The IVIEW seems to have a more sensitive tuner than my Homeworx HW-150PVR when hooked up under identical conditions. This is good, but the bright LED display, which only displays numerical channel number information that is not related to the digital channel ID, is very distracting. It should have an ON/OFF or DIM setting somewhere. I like the IVIEW remote much more than the simpler Homeworx remote. The menu option which displays the channel by LCN, Service Name, Service ID, and ONID does not seem to have any effect on the LED display. I have not done any recording as yet. Most likely I will end up using black electrical tape over the LED display.

Antenna in use: 91XG plus Y10-7-13 with a Winegard LNA-200 preamp pointed toward Sacramento (90 miles). Most channels are at or near 100% signal strength (using the INFO button).
I seem to have this same model with firmware version 20140522V1, which appears to be newer despite being labeled version1?

Does anyone have a download of a FW yet for the model with the ch 3/4 switch? I'd be interested in what versions are out in the wild.

If I ever get time I might try connecting to the serial port to see if I can dump the firmware through u-boot.

Cheers!
-SB
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post #3874 of 4273 Old 12-28-2014, 03:38 PM
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I did encounter a site claiming to have a zip of v1 v2 v2a and v3 (supposedly obtained via email from iview) for ch 3/4 model but when I clicked the link I never could get the zip to download on android.

I visited same site on PC and my antivirus blocked the site bc it tried to transmit a malware.

Cheers,
-SB
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post #3875 of 4273 Old 12-28-2014, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sawbones999 View Post
I did encounter a site claiming to have a zip of v1 v2 v2a and v3 (supposedly obtained via email from iview) for ch 3/4 model but when I clicked the link I never could get the zip to download on android.

I visited same site on PC and my antivirus blocked the site bc it tried to transmit a malware.

Cheers,
-SB
Contact iView for the firmware.
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post #3876 of 4273 Old 12-28-2014, 08:27 PM
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You can use the following link to avoid malware: http://www71.zippyshare.com/v/79955630/file.html. The only thing is, there are several "decoy" download links from unscrupulous advertisers on the page. The one you want is labeled "Download Now" and will display a zippyshare.com url when you hover over it.

It has V1, V2a, and V3 (but not V2) for iViews with the ch. 3/4 switch

Last edited by JHBrandt; 12-28-2014 at 08:30 PM. Reason: Warn about unscrupulous ads
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post #3877 of 4273 Old 12-28-2014, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by sawbones999 View Post
I would be EXTREMELY shocked if this entire box is not running on a linux kernel, developed with GNU tools, and distributed in binary only closed source format. I mean everything from the menu system to the device drivers. I bet the whole firmware is one big GIANT GPL violation!
That's quite possible. The main limitation of the GPL is that you need money to sue people who violate it, and most FOSS developers don't have that money and thus can only use public shaming as a disincentive for license violations.

Not everybody does it, though: if you look at the manual for an LG TV, for instance, there are GPL disclaimers and links to where you can obtain source code for the relevant software modules.
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post #3878 of 4273 Old 12-29-2014, 12:28 AM
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Originally Posted by sawbones999 View Post
Has anyone tried hooking up TTL serial on one of these yet to see what kind of console is available and to watch the boot messages, etc.?
Yes, I've done that.

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Originally Posted by sawbones999 View Post
I have seen some discussion on the mediasonic forum about making requests for U-Boot because it is GPL'd and getting no response, even having the thread deleted! Someone said something about GPL violations, and also about how mediasonic wouldn't release source because of a license agreement with MSTAR. Someone else mentioned a possibility to install Linux on these boxes.
Sounds like you're describing posts I've written.

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I would be EXTREMELY shocked if this entire box is not running on a linux kernel, developed with GNU tools, and distributed in binary only closed source format.
Then be extremely shocked.
There is absolutely no indication that Linux is running on these boxes as shipped.

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You're in China,
FYI MStar is a Taiwanese company.

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Originally Posted by sawbones999 View Post
Still, if any of it was linked to a GPL'd library file, or even compiled with GNU tools then all of those parts are required by GPL license to be available as source..
I'm not a lawyer, but as an embedded Linux kernel developer, I'm aware of the GPL, and think you're wrong.
For example, many GPU and VDUdrivers are closed source in Linux. The Nvidia drivers for Linux are only available as binary blobs, and do not violate the GPL.

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I bet all of these manufacturers are buying licensing from MSTAR for the base system kernel, menus, etc and probably have very little access to source themselves.
You obviously don't know how this business works.
The SoC manufacturers are selling semiconductors, i.e. tangible hardware. A reference design (circuit boards and software) is often available for free to developers, but some manufacturers (e.g. Broadcom, MStar) restrict access by using NDAs. SoC manufacturers on the industrial side rather than the consumer and multimedia products tend to offer complete datasheets, reference manuals, and open source Linux device drivers (e.g. TI, Freescale, Atmel).

Regards
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post #3879 of 4273 Old 12-29-2014, 01:11 PM
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I've been reading this thread and the MediaSoft HomeWorX thread (Homeworx HW-150PVR, Support and Discussion). Lots of useful information. Thanks.

When it's all said and done, and even though the hardware appears to be virtually identical, it seems like the iView product might be the one to purchase because:

a) Better firmware
b) Better remote
c) Better support

This unit is to be used to drive an HDTV without ATSC tuner via an HDMI port.

Is there any real difference one way or the other? They are about the same price on Amazon.

TIA

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post #3880 of 4273 Old 12-29-2014, 01:56 PM
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The new iView units don't let you use RF passthrough when the unit is on anymore, so you can't feed a secondary device with the iView's RF out when the iView is on. The Homeworx doesn't have this problem.
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post #3881 of 4273 Old 12-29-2014, 02:00 PM
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I generally concur with your summary. I think the current iView firmware is slightly better than the HW firmware. There's not really any significant difference though.

I was a skeptic at first, but having tried both, the iView remote is indeed better. There is support, but it isn't very good for either product.

The main advantage of the HW is that it still has the RF loop-through function, but in your environment (TV w/o an ATSC tuner) that's not really an advantage unless you still have one of the few remaining analog LPTV stations where you live. (My area has one, but it just simulcasts a digital channel so I don't really need to receive it anyway.)
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post #3882 of 4273 Old 12-29-2014, 02:54 PM
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Thank you, gentlemen. One other thing I have noticed from both these threads and posts at Amazon is that a fair number of people don't think much of these tuners... mostly because of inability to pull in weak stations. For example, on Amazon the Iview gets a score of 3.5 with 128 5-star scores and 64 1-star scores. The HomeWorx scores 3.8 with 414 5-star reviews and 134 1-star reviews. Looks kinda crappy.

But then I take a look at much higher priced ATSC tuners. The ChannelMaster CM-7001 at $115 only manages a 3.0. The PrimeDTV boxes at $115 and up barely make 3.7. And other high priced boxes like Samsung, Hauppage and others don't have ratings that are any better. Thus, I conclude that in terms of overall performance, at least as related to viewing OTA TV channels, more money doesn't get you more channels.
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post #3883 of 4273 Old 12-29-2014, 07:53 PM
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Next to the antennae cans is a serial ftdi interface. Has anyone attached an ftdi connector to their computer to see what debug data and menu options are available via that interface yet? I am wondering if it is worth my effort to try or not. Here is a picture of the underside of the board with the pinouts labeled.

This is the ch 3/4 version, but I confirmed that both boards have the interface in a similar location.
I plan to connect my serial adapter to this box at some point in the near future for testing purposes.

I couldn't help noticing the labeled pinout for USB there on the bottom. Is this the front USB port, or is this a second, unpopulated USB port, which might possibly be used to attach another device?

My dream for this device would be to get kernel source and add networking support, but it will probably never happen.

For now, I have my hard drive connected to a Monster OTG Cloud device, which when powered off acts as a USB hub. Providing 1 micro SD card slot, 1 full sized SD card slot, and 1 USB port. All of these are available to the stb3500ii ch 3/4 version as disks.

When I flip the Monster OTG Cloud power switch on, it disables the USB hub function, but turns on Wi-Fi and acts both as a NAS and a Wi-Fi repeater. So then I can connect to the Wi-Fi on the OTG and am able to connect to the various disks via samba, http, ftp, etc. Allowing me to steam the .mts videos from the hard drive to anywhere in my house and I can use android tv box with XBMC to playback my recorded tv shows wirelessly in another room. I could just as easily use a pc, my phone, or any other device which can playback mts encoded filestreams.

Since the Monster OTG Cloud also works as a wireless repeater I can still maintain an internet connection at the same time, although the connection speed to internet is significantly reduced(i have 15mb down, 1.5-2mb up cable connection and download speed through OTG drops down to about 6mb/s).

The Monster OTG stays powered on through stb3500ii USB port, but it also has it's own battery. It's not a perfect setup, but the next best thing to having live tv streamed to my other devices. I wish that the OTG would work as USB hub and fileshare at the same time so that I could stream the output from time shift mode to watch live tv. It does run Linux, so possibly I could change this function to make it work.

I was so going that these pvr boxes ran Linux, but I think there is a good chance that they use MIPS' MEOS real-time operating system instead. MEOS is open source but not GPL and I highly doubt it requires the release of source code.

I ran the .bin firmware file from stb3500ii through a decompiler last night and didn't find out all that much. I ended up with a ton of MIPS assembly code. I was able to learn that the hardware operates in big endian mode. Also, much of the code defines itself to be 16 bit, which I would assume is the compressed MIPS 16e ASE, used to save memory space, but function on par with MIPS 32(similar to to ARM Thumb instructions).

I think it's a great product for the price and am having fun playing with it. It's really nice to have the ability to stream my recorded shows at the flick of a switch.

Cheers,
-SB
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post #3884 of 4273 Old 12-29-2014, 08:01 PM
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I plan to connect my serial adapter to this box at some point in the near future for testing purposes.

I couldn't help noticing the labeled pinout for USB there on the bottom. Is this the front USB port, or is this a second, unpopulated USB port, which might possibly be used to attach another device?

My dream for this device would be to get kernel source and add networking support, but it will probably never happen.

For now, I have my hard drive connected to a Monster OTG Cloud device, which when powered off acts as a USB hub. Providing 1 micro SD card slot, 1 full sized SD card slot, and 1 USB port. All of these are available to the stb3500ii ch 3/4 version as disks.

When I flip the Monster OTG Cloud power switch on, it disables the USB hub function, but turns on Wi-Fi and acts both as a NAS and a Wi-Fi repeater. So then I can connect to the Wi-Fi on the OTG and am able to connect to the various disks via samba, http, ftp, etc. Allowing me to steam the .mts videos from the hard drive to anywhere in my house and I can use android tv box with XBMC to playback my recorded tv shows wirelessly in another room. I could just as easily use a pc, my phone, or any other device which can playback mts encoded filestreams.

Since the Monster OTG Cloud also works as a wireless repeater I can still maintain an internet connection at the same time, although the connection speed to internet is significantly reduced(i have 15mb down, 1.5-2mb up cable connection and download speed through OTG drops down to about 6mb/s).

The Monster OTG stays powered on through stb3500ii USB port, but it also has it's own battery. It's not a perfect setup, but the next best thing to having live tv streamed to my other devices. I wish that the OTG would work as USB hub and fileshare at the same time so that I could stream the output from time shift mode to watch live tv. It does run Linux, so possibly I could change this function to make it work.

I was so going that these pvr boxes ran Linux, but I think there is a good chance that they use MIPS' MEOS real-time operating system instead. MEOS is open source but not GPL and I highly doubt it requires the release of source code.

I ran the .bin firmware file from stb3500ii through a decompiler last night and didn't find out all that much. I ended up with a ton of MIPS assembly code. I was able to learn that the hardware operates in big endian mode. Also, much of the code defines itself to be 16 bit, which I would assume is the compressed MIPS 16e ASE, used to save memory space, but function on par with MIPS 32(similar to to ARM Thumb instructions).

I think it's a great product for the price and am having fun playing with it. It's really nice to have the ability to stream my recorded shows at the flick of a switch.

Cheers,
-SB
Qualifier, when I say, "it does run Linux, so possibly I could change this function to make it work." I was referring to the OTG device and not stb3500ii.

Cheers,
-SB
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post #3885 of 4273 Old 12-29-2014, 08:35 PM
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I'm not a lawyer, but as an embedded Linux kernel developer, I'm aware of the GPL, and think you're wrong.
For example, many GPU and VDUdrivers are closed source in Linux. The Nvidia drivers for Linux are only available as binary blobs, and do not violate the GPL.
Yes, binary only drivers and programs do exist on Linux, I wasn't saying the fact that it's possibly Linux requires the source to be open.

Legally under the GPL, binary only files of this nature may not be built with GNU compilers/assemblers or linked to GNU libraries. They must be compiled with other, alternative libraries and compilers which are usually pretty expensive and are typically written in assembly with their own non-GNU libraries(so as not to be linked or compiled with any GPL licensed files due to the nature of GPL, which is that the license extends from the original work onward to any derivative, in turn making any derivatives defacto GPL'd).

I believe that there are quite a few programs out there, even for platforms other than Linux, which are created using GNU tools that ignore this and are distributed on a closed source, non-GPL, basis.

I do agree with you that these boxes don't necessarily seem to be running Linux. My money is on MEOS or some other licensable RTOS kernel that is not GPL.

It is still a possibility, though. Without the source we may never know. I decompiled one of the bin files, but I'm certainly not an expert in MIPS assembly

I was able to trace function calls, cache access and clears, memory access, etc. But I have nothing to compare it against.

I suppose I could decompile a MIPS big endian MEOS kernel (or Linux, BSD, etc) into assembly and look for similarities, but I don't really think it's worth the effort. Plus to get an accurate comparison it would have to have been compiled for the same hardware and I highly doubt I could find binaries of any of those laying around.

Cheers
-SB
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post #3886 of 4273 Old 12-29-2014, 08:49 PM
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You can use the following link to avoid malware: &lt;a href=&quot;http://www71.zippyshare.com/v/79955630/file.html&quot; target=&quot;_blank&quot;&gt;http://www71.zippyshare.com/v/79955630/file.html&lt;/a&gt;. The only thing is, there are several &amp;quot;decoy&amp;quot; download links from unscrupulous advertisers on the page. The one you want is labeled &amp;quot;Download Now&amp;quot; and will display a zippyshare.com url when you hover over it.&lt;br /&gt;<br />
&lt;br /&gt;<br />
It has V1, V2a, and V3 (but not V2) for iViews with the ch. 3/4 switch
Thanks for link! Do you know what the main differences are between the different versions?

Will any of them allow you to view other sub channels while recording a different sub channel the way some HW firmwares will?

I would like to try a different one to see if some of the channels are fixed. There are a few QAM channels that I am missing on current firmware that my tv picks up (there also seem to be a couple that my tv didn't pickup, too, though). I watch Antenna-TV fairly often and it seems to be missing right now on qam.

Regarding the post above about reviews on Amazon saying that these have a weak tuner, my experience with OTA is the opposite of this. I pick up more channels, and at higher signal strength without having to move my antenna nearly as much, with this box than I do with any other ATSC converter I have in the house (2 different models of RCA, and 1 digitalstream).

Cheers again!
-SB

Last edited by sawbones999; 12-29-2014 at 09:00 PM.
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post #3887 of 4273 Old 12-29-2014, 09:40 PM
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Legally under the GPL, binary only files of this nature may not be built with GNU compilers/assemblers or linked to GNU libraries.
This is not true. You are allowed to use gcc to compile closed-source programs. Using GPL libraries in your closed-source programs, however, is not permitted.
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post #3888 of 4273 Old 12-29-2014, 10:49 PM
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Here is a collection of some of the other MSD7816 ATSC boxes and my findings.

After considering the new info about the MSTAR demod versus the Samsung demod I starting experimenting further with these boxes, I have mentioned my findings in the past about sucessfully running firmware on the ematic but now it also turns out that the even the 12V Naxa NT-52, the 5V Supersonic Ikonvert SC-55, and the 5V QFX CV-100 all happen to have the same Samsung demod in combination with the msd7816 CPU and are compatible in some ways with the HW and IV firmwares.

I show the boards below.


First, I started with the one that came with the worst factory firmware which was the QFX.

Now even though it was 5V external power supply the version AA and V9 loaded fine and it responds to the V2 iview remote. The analog audio did not work except during a resolution change, and the analog video was at a low level, however the HDMI, USB and tuner all worked as expected and the recordings with the timer now work great.

So I then loaded HW v13 firmware on the QFX and now even the analog audio also worked. I also determined that the reason for the low level on the analog RCA video was because they left out a part that in comparison the SC-55 happens to include so even the RCA video works on the SC-55 v2. See picture 5.

I then also tested the naxa NT-52 which does not have the HDMI out just a component out. With the HW firmware it worked fine for the component out, the analog audio out, the tuner scan was successful and the USB works fine, the naxa just requires a HW150 remote now. On the Naxa the analog composite video level was low because they also left out that one part on the board.

The original (V1) 3500stb V6 and VR firmware load fine but the tuner finds nothing with these so something in that firmware must be powering the tuner differently.

I also tested the RF pass through on the tuners and the modulator functions and have found varied results which aren't worth mention here because I doubt anyone would use the ch 3/4 outputs anyway.

I should also mention that even though the QFX and the SC-55 have the ch 3/4 switch because they use the original Samsung demod and not the newer mstar demod the firmwares were compatible.

I will also note that I tested the SL DT-1200 firmware and found it to be compatible with the above mentioned boxes in the same ways and also utilized the same remote code as the factory firmware for the naxa nt-52, ikonvert sc-55 and the qfx cv-100. The firmwares may disable the front panel lights or the power buttons but never impact the HDMI, USB and the IR eye connection back to the CPU. I kind of suspected this would be the case since I had found a diagram of the MSD7818 chip I/Os through baidu

These findings lead me to suspect that should Iview ever release the firmware for the new V3 with the ch 3/4 switch that it would be compatible with the sunkey based boards that use the new mstar MSB demod chip. I had posted about that board a few weeks ago here as well as the picture of that board.

Axess CB-3001 / Lutema AirTV / Sunkey SK-903H firmware ATSC USB recorders Supersonic ikonvert SC-57


Also see my other post above about the demodulator chips

iView-3500STB Tuner & DVR Owners Thread


http://mstar.wikia.com/wiki/MBoot

http://mstar.wikia.com/wiki/Firmware_update

http://mstar.wikia.com/wiki/MSD7818

http://mstar.wikia.com/wiki/Debricking

http://mstar.wikia.com/wiki/Flash_Backup

http://mstar.wikia.com/wiki/Special:NewFiles
When you used the iview firmware on these boxes, especially the ikonvert, were you able to tune clear QAM? Or maybe these boxes already have that functionality and it's just not advertised on the packaging?

I have seen ikonvert sc-58 for sale locally and wondered if I might use ch 3/4 iview stb3500ii FW on it. Been pretty happy with my stb3500ii so far.

Cheers,
-SB
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post #3889 of 4273 Old 12-29-2014, 11:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Aleron Ives View Post
This is not true. You are allowed to use gcc to compile closed-source programs. Using GPL libraries in your closed-source programs, however, is not permitted.
Yes I suppose if you use entirely hand made libraries you could. But under normal circumstances any C code that you compile with GCC will use GNU libraries.

Take a very basic C function call, say printf, if your code uses this, it is part of a GPL library and when compiled, that library code becomes part of your binary. Under the terms of the GPL your binary must now also conform to the GPL licensing as well because it is considered a derivative of a GPL licensed piece of code. That means freely available open source. The exception may be dynamically linked libraries which are not directly compiled into the binary, which may not be distributed with the binary(although even here there is some confusion and disagreement). Your code still could be considered a derivative and therefore subject to the original licensing agreement.

http://ubuntuforums.org/archive/index.php/t-1432713.html

Why else so you think that companies have been advertising alternative non-GPL compilers(including libraries) for Linux in the Linux journal for the past 15 years. It's so developers can legally create software to be distributed in binary only format with much stricter licensing terms.

There are other less strictly open source licensed libraries than GNU available of course(BSD and apache licenses are much less restricted to forcing open source, probably there is a BSD licensed glibc?) Any modern BSD distro I've ever used comes with GNU tools and libraries.

The GNU libraries are the most common and readily available for most platforms and it's the easiest, cheapest way to cross compile for other architectures as well.

Of course there are people that will take advantage of that and disregard the GPL. Why pay thousands of dollars for a proprietary set of compilers and libraries when you can get them for free.

Other build tools are very expensive, and coding full featured libraries, especially for functions that are primary to whatever specific language would be extremely time consuming and expensive in man hours.

This just my opinion I guess, I'm no lawyer, but I have been a member of the free software foundation and financial contributor to Linux.org since the late '90s.

Cheers,
-SB
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post #3890 of 4273 Old 12-30-2014, 12:12 AM
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Originally Posted by sawbones999 View Post
Thanks for link! Do you know what the main differences are between the different versions?

Will any of them allow you to view other sub channels while recording a different sub channel the way some HW firmwares will?

I would like to try a different one to see if some of the channels are fixed. There are a few QAM channels that I am missing on current firmware that my tv picks up (there also seem to be a couple that my tv didn't pickup, too, though). I watch Antenna-TV fairly often and it seems to be missing right now on qam.

Regarding the post above about reviews on Amazon saying that these have a weak tuner, my experience with OTA is the opposite of this. I pick up more channels, and at higher signal strength without having to move my antenna nearly as much, with this box than I do with any other ATSC converter I have in the house (2 different models of RCA, and 1 digitalstream).

Cheers again!
-SB
I just confirmed that I can record one channel and at the same time watch a different sub channel concurrently with stb3500ii ch 3/4 model. Firmware 20140522_V1. Sweet!

Need to hookup serial console so I can dump current firmware before I try others.

Cheers,
-SB
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post #3891 of 4273 Old 12-30-2014, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sawbones999 View Post
Take a very basic C function call, say printf, if your code uses this, it is part of a GPL library and when compiled, that library code becomes part of your binary.
The printf function is part of the standard C library, not something GNU developed. I doubt you'd get in trouble for including stdio.h in your closed-source program.

For instance, if you look at the stdio.h that comes with CodeBlocks, you'll see that it's public domain and not GPL:

Spoiler!


This discussion is getting off topic from the iView, though.
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post #3892 of 4273 Old 12-30-2014, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue_z View Post
Yes, I've done that.

Sounds like you're describing posts I've written.

Then be extremely shocked.
There is absolutely no indication that Linux is running on these boxes as shipped.

FYI MStar is a Taiwanese company.

I'm not a lawyer, but as an embedded Linux kernel developer, I'm aware of the GPL, and think you're wrong.
For example, many GPU and VDUdrivers are closed source in Linux. The Nvidia drivers for Linux are only available as binary blobs, and do not violate the GPL.

You obviously don't know how this business works.
The SoC manufacturers are selling semiconductors, i.e. tangible hardware. A reference design (circuit boards and software) is often available for free to developers, but some manufacturers (e.g. Broadcom, MStar) restrict access by using NDAs. SoC manufacturers on the industrial side rather than the consumer and multimedia products tend to offer complete datasheets, reference manuals, and open source Linux device drivers (e.g. TI, Freescale, Atmel).

Regards
Sooooo...we can rule out Linux, right, but what can we
definitely rule in, and who owns what, and what is the
availability of an SDK/PDK for the platform such as it
is? Like others in this thread, I've expressed an interest
in improving the software in this box, but not by trying
crack or disassemble it...if you tried to Google(TM) the
information, would you have to speak Chinese to
understand the results?

Oh, and drivers for a platform running Linux not being
subject to GPL just strikes me as the "well, duh" statement
of the century, or not, since a lot of this stuff just makes
my head hurt and I just want to go someplace else...

--
maxreactance
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post #3893 of 4273 Old 12-30-2014, 03:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aleron Ives View Post
The printf function is part of the standard C library, not something GNU developed. I doubt you'd get in trouble for including stdio.h in your closed-source program.

For instance, if you look at the stdio.h that comes with CodeBlocks, you'll see that it's public domain and not GPL:

Spoiler!


This discussion is getting off topic from the iView, though.
Yes it is, but I couldn't help but point out that an
implementation of the C standard library could be
considered proprietary in the same way than an
implementation of any standard, for example, IP
or HTML et. al., is a proprietary piece of coding work.

You also use as an example the .h file, rather than
the underlying library itself. The operation of printf(),
and the declaration of printf() may be freely open for
anybody to implement, but they are then free to charge
money for and restrict the use of their implementation.

Also, nobody really cares about printf(), you can
just use a free Microsoft compiler, if you can tolerate
all the warnings about the entire C standard library
being deprecated as dangerous defecation...

--
maxreactance
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post #3894 of 4273 Old 12-30-2014, 03:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxreactance View Post
Sooooo...we can rule out Linux, right, but what can we
definitely rule in, and who owns what, and what is the
availability of an SDK/PDK for the platform such as it
is? Like others in this thread, I've expressed an interest
in improving the software in this box, but not by trying
crack or disassemble it...if you tried to Google(TM) the
information, would you have to speak Chinese to
understand the results?

Oh, and drivers for a platform running Linux not being
subject to GPL just strikes me as the "well, duh" statement
of the century, or not, since a lot of this stuff just makes
my head hurt and I just want to go someplace else...

--
maxreactance
Oh, I'll just answer my own questions in case nobody
else does. If this box is actually a "MStar" SOC, then
a 0.00000015 second Google(TM) search and a quick
link from the home page reveals this passably good
English (even though I was both bemused and modestly
terrified by the "Copyright 2010" notices, did they
go out of business four years ago?):

Set-Top Box
MStar is the worldwide leader of FTA (Free-To-Air) and Pay-TV STB
controller SoC. We provide the "total solution" which includes the full series
(DVB-C/S/S2/T/T2, ATSC, DTMB, ISDB-T) demodulators by our own technology, and
gain market proven success with worldwide CA security vendors certification. Our
products support standard definition (SD) and high definition (HD) broadcast and
broadband content resolution, and IPTV, Video on Demand (VOD) and Personal video
recorder (PVR).
MStar provides full line software portfolios, which includes MStar total
solution, MStar software development kit (SDK) to accelerate time-to-market for
set- top box manufacturers. MStar also cooperates with worldwide top middleware
companies to provide more completed STB user experience and functionalities.
---end of 2010 copyrighted material excerpt

I wonder if they would consider me to be a "manufacturer"
if I just modified some of their code for my own use and
returned the modifications back to them free of charge?

--
maxreactance
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post #3895 of 4273 Old 12-30-2014, 04:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aleron Ives View Post
The printf function is part of the standard C library, not something GNU developed. I doubt you'd get in trouble for including stdio.h in your closed-source program.

For instance, if you look at the stdio.h that comes with CodeBlocks, you'll see that it's public domain and not GPL:

Spoiler!


This discussion is getting off topic from the iView, though.
I don't know anything about codeblocks, nor did I claim that GNU developed the printf function, but it is specifically implemented, coded and included in glibc, which is lGPL.

Here is the comment at the beggining of glibc's printf.c source file (from stdio.h)

/* Copyright (C) 1991, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2004, 2006
Free Software Foundation, Inc.
This file is part of the GNU C Library.
The GNU C Library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or
modify it under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public
License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either
version 2.1 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.
The GNU C Library is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU
Lesser General Public License for more details.
You should have received a copy of the GNU Lesser General Public
License along with the GNU C Library; if not, see
<http://www.gnu.org/licenses/>. */

So even though common implementation of printf may be public domain, the specific implementation of printf as included in glibc is subject to the terms of the lGPL just like the rest of glibc. So if you statically link a basic C function like printf on your program then you should be required to release source.

It is possible to create closed source binaries under lGPL, but static linking is not allowed. Also, if you make any changes to glibc itself then your linked work will also be considered to be derivative and the source for both must be available.

Source for printf.c:
https://github.com/lattera/glibc/blob/master/stdio-common/printf.c

This is a bit off topic, but it relates to the topic of firmware, concerning whether or not the firmware was developed using any GNU tools/libraries or other possible GPL violations.

Back on topic, have you tested each of the ch 3/4 firmwares, and did you notice any differences between them?

Thanks and cheers!
-SB
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post #3896 of 4273 Old 12-30-2014, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aleron Ives View Post
The printf function is part of the standard C library, not something GNU developed. I doubt you'd get in trouble for including stdio.h in your closed-source program.

For instance, if you look at the stdio.h that comes with CodeBlocks, you'll see that it's public domain and not GPL:

Spoiler!


This discussion is getting off topic from the iView, though.
Obviously the stdio.h file from codeblocks is not glibc. Stdio.h from glibc begins with lGPL license disclaimer as well

"/* Define ISO C stdio on top of C++ iostreams.
Copyright (C) 1991, 1994-2012 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
This file is part of the GNU C Library.
The GNU C Library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or
modify it under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public
License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either
version 2.1 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.
The GNU C Library is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU
Lesser General Public License for more details.
You should have received a copy of the GNU Lesser General Public
License along with the GNU C Library; if not, see
<http://www.gnu.org/licenses/>. */

/*
* ISO C99 Standard: 7.19 Input/output <stdio.h>
*/"

Source:
https://github.com/lattera/glibc/blob/master/libio/stdio.h

Cheers,
-SB
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post #3897 of 4273 Old 12-30-2014, 04:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxreactance View Post
Oh, I'll just answer my own questions in case nobody
else does. If this box is actually a "MStar" SOC, then
a 0.00000015 second Google(TM) search and a quick
link from the home page reveals this passably good
English (even though I was both bemused and modestly
terrified by the "Copyright 2010" notices, did they
go out of business four years ago?):

Set-Top Box
MStar is the worldwide leader of FTA (Free-To-Air) and Pay-TV STB
controller SoC. We provide the "total solution" which includes the full series
(DVB-C/S/S2/T/T2, ATSC, DTMB, ISDB-T) demodulators by our own technology, and
gain market proven success with worldwide CA security vendors certification. Our
products support standard definition (SD) and high definition (HD) broadcast and
broadband content resolution, and IPTV, Video on Demand (VOD) and Personal video
recorder (PVR).
MStar provides full line software portfolios, which includes MStar total
solution, MStar software development kit (SDK) to accelerate time-to-market for
set- top box manufacturers. MStar also cooperates with worldwide top middleware
companies to provide more completed STB user experience and functionalities.
---end of 2010 copyrighted material excerpt

I wonder if they would consider me to be a "manufacturer"
if I just modified some of their code for my own use and
returned the modifications back to them free of charge?

--
maxreactance
This is what I thought and had previously speculated about in a previous post.

Probably most of the code for all of these firmwares is provided by mstar through their SDK kits and through some form of licensing agreement with manufacturers. That is why the firmware for all these boxes from different manufacturers looks identical and start out with many of the same bugs.

The question is, what sort of a license is it, what is in the SDK, and what do you have to do to gain access to it?

Mstar documentation is not very open. I can't even find the specific capabilities of the 7816, such as cache, number of threads/cores, what type of pipeline structure it has, etc. All things that most manufacturers provide on their websites in marketing materials.

All that I have found is that the CPU architecture is MIPS 34Kf, and I have seen the clock speed reported differently for different products.

The closest thing I have seen to specific documentation is a pinout someone already linked to in this thread, which was for the 7818, and may not be exactly the same pinout add the 7816.

To read the specifics of MIPS 34Kf you need to register for a developer account on MIPS website.

From what I can tell about licensing 34Kf, MIPS will provide you with reference chip designs which are extremely customizable and then become proprietary to the manufacturer.

Cheers,
-SB
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post #3898 of 4273 Old 12-30-2014, 04:47 PM
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All of this license speculation is useless unless you can both a) prove that the firmware is violating the GPL and b) afford the lawyers necessary to force iView to comply with it.
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post #3899 of 4273 Old 12-30-2014, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aleron Ives View Post
All of this license speculation is useless unless you can both a) prove that the firmware is violating the GPL and b) afford the lawyers necessary to force iView to comply with it.
True and so we have moved on to discussion about their SDK and the code provided to manufacturers.

We know that u-boot is used. If we can get them to release their u-boot source then that might clarify some things.

Cheers
-SB
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post #3900 of 4273 Old 12-31-2014, 10:25 AM
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I have learned a few things about this device and about the MSD7816 from the MIPS assembly code that came out of the decompiler. Here is what I've learned so far (just in case anyone is curious).

As I had previously posted, many but not all of the functions in the firmware declare 16 bit MIPS. This is likely to be the MIPS 16e ASE compressed instruction set used to reduce code size and memory requirements.

The 7816 has an FPU (floating point unit) that is capable of single and double precision calculations.

There are at least 2 coprocessors. I saw coprocessor 0 and coprocessor 2 being addressed. I didn't read all the code(I skimmed through it looking for interesting info, it's so long!) but never saw any coprocessor 1 being addressed. It's possible that this is how MIPS handles hardware multithreading (MIPS handles multithreading extremely well if it's implemented on the CPU) but I am unsure.

Most of the code addressing a coprocessor was directed at coprocessor 2, which makes me think that it is either the VPU (video processor, a hardware media decoder), or possibly part of the MMU? (Memory management unit).

Memory addressing can be 64-bit.

The firmware uses the MIPS core in BIG endian mode.

The code defines a fairly large function library and there are many subroutines that function independently on their own and/or call a library function.

I haven't been able to find a MIPS assembly to C converter, so that's about all I can tell at this point. I wouldn't even be able to know all of this, but luckily hex-rays for IDA pro can be set to automatically make a comment for every instruction about what the instruction does. It will also gather subroutines into units, highlight libraries, and even chart everything on different types of graphs.

Also, about that Monster OTG Cloud device that I am using as a hub/NAS, I popped it open last night and found out the CPU is a Realtek rtl8196e SOC. Another MIPS processor, lol!

Cheers,
-SB

Last edited by sawbones999; 12-31-2014 at 03:20 PM.
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