iView-3500STB Tuner & DVR Owners Thread - Page 130 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #3871 of 5069 Old 12-29-2014, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
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 #3872 of 5069 Old 12-29-2014, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by sawbones999 View Post
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 #3873 of 5069 Old 12-29-2014, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by satpro View Post
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 #3874 of 5069 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 #3875 of 5069 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 #3876 of 5069 Old 12-30-2014, 12:12 PM
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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 #3877 of 5069 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 #3878 of 5069 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 #3879 of 5069 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 #3880 of 5069 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 #3881 of 5069 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 #3882 of 5069 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 #3883 of 5069 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 #3884 of 5069 Old 12-30-2014, 04:56 PM
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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 #3885 of 5069 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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post #3886 of 5069 Old 12-31-2014, 01:33 PM
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Bit the bullet and bought one of these animals. I reckon it will work fine for my location in Houston... about 10 miles from the antenna farm... very strong signals on my Samsung 6350 TV and roof antenna.

Thanks for the feedback, folks.
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post #3887 of 5069 Old 12-31-2014, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxreactance View Post
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?
Over a year ago I mentioned that these DVRs boot U-Boot, which then loads a standalone program (which probably uses a microkernel).
U-Boot is licensed under the GPL, and a copy of the source should be available from the manufacturer of the box (not the SoC manufacturer). But it's the SoC manufacturer, MStar, that holds the copyrights to the modified U-Boot, and probably enforces NDAs on the box manufacturers. MStar has been caught doing this (restricting GPL source code through NDAs) in the past with TV manufacturers.

As to the standalone program that runs these DVRs, undoubtedly it's copyrighted by MStar.
To get documentation and the SDK, most likely you have to sign an NDA and commit to purchase a large quantity of chips.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maxreactance View Post
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...
I don't understand your point.
Almost every Linux driver is licensed under the GPL (or should be), as they are typically derived works (i.e. base a new driver on a similar driver rather than start with a clean slate). So the Nvidia drivers are the exception.
And my head hurts too from reading misleading, inaccurate and/or flat-out wrong guesses/statements about the GPL and the code in these boxes.

Regards
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post #3888 of 5069 Old 12-31-2014, 03:41 PM
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We know that u-boot is used. If we can get them to release their u-boot source then that might clarify some things.
I have already tried that.
And to make things worse, there was zero support from anyone here. Posters were making up excuses of it's not modified code, it has alternate licensing that's not GPL, and it's too hard so why try.

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post #3889 of 5069 Old 12-31-2014, 11:16 PM
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And my head hurts too from reading misleading, inaccurate and/or flat-out wrong guesses/statements about the GPL and the code in these boxes.

Regards
There is nothing misleading about the GPL or the LGPL and I suggest that anyone interested should read them both in their entirety. There is nothing ambiguous about what is and isn't allowed about distribution of modified or derivative works.

I'm with you that there is a fairly strong possibility that they are using some other kind of microkernel. There are definitely plenty of licensable MIPS kernels out there. None, however, are as capable and complete as Linux right out of the box. You can't beat the price point either.

Did you consider that maybe they won't release the u-boot code because they may be trying to obfuscate the fact that they are licensing and distributing other GPL'd code?

You said yourself that they have been caught trying to withhold GPL licensed code with NDA's before.

What happened to them before when they were caught doing this? Maybe a little bad P.R. in the open source community? They were possibly forced to share a little piece of code?

This is a dumb and pointless argument because they're not going to give us source, so it cannot be proved one way or the other.

How about let's focus on the topic and stop being negative and down playing the enthusiasm of other members who want to be proactive and get involved.

So in that spirit, back to the topic of the stb3500ii, I can confirm that the ch3/4 version with v1 and and v3 firmware will allow watching of a separate subchannel while recording another. I have not tested yet to see if my missing QAM channels will be there but plan to in a few minutes.

A bit off topic, but sort of on topic because I use this device directly with my stb3500ii. I did find out that my sometimes USB hub, sometimes NAS/Wi-Fi repeater(monster otg cloud) is running Linux (rlx Linux) and I have made a formal request for firmware source to their support team. There really isn't much hacking going on with this tiny little realtek MIPS based device and I'm looking forward to seeing what I can make it do. The only other ongoing work I have seen with this soc, besides factory Linux based router firmware is openwrt, and I don't think it meets my requirements.

The sbc inside looks really cool and is so tiny! It's like the size of a first class mail stamp(or maybe 2 regular stamps side by side). It has one connector which goes to the bigger board which has power switch, LEDs, SD card slots, and the one USB port. All that is holding it in place is the connector and a bob of glue. Looks like it could be easily disconnected and repurposed if you had the pinout of the connector.

I also found out it streams much better if you disable Wi-Fi repeater bc 50% of bandwidth(from their online documentation) is being allocated for Wi-Fi repeating and 50% for NAS functionality. Probably due to it only having one rtl8188e Wi-Fi adapter which must act as both client to your router and host/bridge to your client.

It really is nice to have the option to stream all my recordings anywhere in the house without having to plug the hard drive up to a computer to share it or carry it around with me. In not sure what else I can make it do, but I plan to find out

Cheers all and happy new year!
-SB
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post #3890 of 5069 Old 01-01-2015, 12:53 PM
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## MIPS Registers #
# MIPS has four sets of coprocessor registers.
# The integer (GPR) registers are NOT one of the four sets.
# Each set has 32 registers.
#
# Co-processor 0: Processor and system control.
# Co-processor 1: MIPS-32 floating-point
# Co-processor 2: Reserved for special-purpose designs.
# Co-processor 3: MIPS-64 floating-point

Source: http://www.ece.lsu.edu/ee4720/2014/lfp.s.html

The decompiled firmware annotations from hex-rays are noted in a way that access to the floating point unit are commented as such, and coprocessor 1 is not used in these cases.

Example: lwc1 $f0, 4($t4) will be commented "load double precision word to floating point unit" and not as "load double precision word to coprocessor 1".

So that is why I wasn't seeing references to coprocessor 1, because the decompiler was aware that this is the FPU.

I ran a search for all instances of the word "coprocessor" in the commented assembly text and got thousands of results. Nearly all of which are directed to coprocessor 2. In fact coprocessor 0 only occurs a relative handful of times and coprocessor 2 is addressed the remaining thousands of times.

This, coupled with the knowledge gained from the educational document above, that coprocessor 2 is reserved for "special purpose designs", leads me to believe that my first guess was correct and these registers are used by the hardware video decoder, or VPU.

Does that give us anything useful to work with? Not really, but I find it interesting.

Obviously coprocessor 3 is not addressed because we already know that the msd7816 is MIPS 34Kf, a MIPS 32 variant, and therefore would not have a 64 bit FPU.

Hex-rays may not be able to convert MIPS assembly to C, but it does have the ability to load a reference library and compare code to that reference. So, I might try taking a standard C library(probably start with glibc or uclibc), convert it into MIPS assembly and then use that as a basis for comparison. I might also try this with a couple of different MIPS kernels which are freely available as well. That is, when I get some free time.

I wonder if hex-rays can compare the assembly directly to an uncompiled C library which hasn't been converted to assembly...

I could dig out my old indigo 2 and dump the kernel to decompile, but I'm pretty sure there would be pretty much nothing in common between this firmware and IRIX, lol!

Cheers, all! And happy new year again!
-SB
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post #3891 of 5069 Old 01-01-2015, 04:36 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.
Well, it's not the best tuner, but it's usually good enough.

Its main problem is susceptibility to overload. You may have to feed it a weaker signal than you feed other boxes. But that may make other stations too weak to receive. You'll have the most trouble if you have a mix of weak and strong stations; but if all your stations were weak, with a good preamp you'd probably do OK.

BTW I wouldn't put too much stock into Amazon's ratings. Folks usually either love a product or hate it, and there are many reasons to love/hate a STB besides its tuner. For example, I hated the CM-7001, but it had a pretty good tuner; just a crappy UI and feature set. I realize the iView is a much newer product, but it blows the CM-7001 away IMO despite not having as good a tuner.
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post #3892 of 5069 Old 01-01-2015, 04:42 PM
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Thanks for link! Do you know what the main differences are between the different versions?

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.

Cheers again!
-SB
Not much difference AFAIK. V1 is probably the best if you're using the iView for QAM; it will find every channel whether or not PSIP is provided. That includes encrypted channels that you can't watch, though; so if you try it you may end up spending a lot of time deleting hundreds of useless channels!
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post #3893 of 5069 Old 01-01-2015, 05:44 PM
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Not much difference AFAIK. V1 is probably the best if you're using the iView for QAM; it will find every channel whether or not PSIP is provided. That includes encrypted channels that you can't watch, though; so if you try it you may end up spending a lot of time deleting hundreds of useless channels!
Thanks. I wish I had seen this a few minutes ago.


I had installed v3 firmware for stb3500ii ch3/4 version and now the only clear qam stations that it picks up after auto scan are the local OTA stations! WTH!

Just a few days ago(right after Christmas) I had almost 100 stations working on QAM(after deleting even more of the scrambled ones). That was with fw 20140522_V1.

I tried to load FW 2a but it just restarts.

Oh, ok. I removed the USB hub and was able to install fw 2a. This time I did do factory reset (when I installed v3, I did not because previous posts indicate it may not be necessary).

Running scan now, will report back.

Looks like I'll probably be going back to v1 after this scan finishes. Already at 380mhz with no stations, although my carrier does store them fairly high in the frequency range. I don't think my tv will start picking up stations until it's beyond the 50% mark. That's why I was wondering if the couple stations I was missing might be above the maximum frequency of this tuner and hoped a newer firmware might resolve it.

Well I can live with deleting the scrambled channels, so long as I can view the rest of the stations. I installed a switch so that I can go back and forth from antenna to cable to get epg and recording info at least for the local stations.

I plan to run auto scan on cable, delete scrambled, then switch to air and manual scan local channels (I already wrote down where they are located).

Cheers,
-SB
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post #3894 of 5069 Old 01-01-2015, 06:03 PM
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Back on v1, MUCH better!

Has anyone noticed that there is a little dollar sign on some channels? I first noticed it being on all the scrambled channels and thought that is what it meant. So my logic was, well if they can detect that this is a pay channel why can't they just have the auto scan automatically kick that channel out.

Then I hooked up my antenna and ran a scan and there is one station there which has this dollar sign indicator, which is a free OTA channel that works perfectly.

The virtual channel is sub divided into six stations 21-1 through 21-6(physical OTA transmission is channel 8). The one with the dollar sign indicator is 21-2 GetTV. A station which primarily plays really old movies.

Strange, huh?

Cheers,
-SB
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post #3895 of 5069 Old 01-01-2015, 08:09 PM
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Hmmm. Well I did the full cable scan and deleted all the scrambled channels...

Then I connected the antenna, changed the setting to air and tried to manually add channels. The signal meter of the selected channel is high, but when scanned no channel is added to the list. This goes the same way for all my local stations. So I guess with v1 you can't mix and match cable with ota. I even tried restarting the machine to make sure it was in air mode and not cable.

I noticed when doing my original scan that somewhere around 640mhz I already had 400 channels(i think someone already mentioned that as a limit) and no channels were added beyond that point.

So after deleting all the scrambled channels, I went to the last channel (74), and did a manual scan on all the remaining channels. No additional channels were found, despite some channels having a high signal.

I do have more channels than the last time I did a full qam scan(100 now vs 95 previously).

The one thing I noticed when I was briefly on v2a and v3, is that the virtual channels were correctly identified and placed where they would be OTA. I didn't keep it long enough to notice if EPG was also working or not. But the only channels found were the OTA channels (on their cable frequencies).

Now I have what I assume are all the clear QAM channels but they are in totally random order, well maybe not totally. They are in order of the channel frequency and not the virtual channel.

The one exception seems to be the channel guide, 8-14, it is where it belongs. This channel just lists what channels are available without a cable box, and what the channel numbers are. Unfortunately these are virtual channels and none of my other channels match this list. I have tried changing the setting for order in the program guide settings, but they are still not correct.

So it seems like in the later versions the fw is able to read the virtual channels, but only for OTA stations.

I wish there was some firmware in the middle that could find all the channels and also put them in the correct place. Tv's don't have any problem with this.

I was really counting on being able to manually add the antenna stations so that I could use that for EPG and recording function. I guess until there is a much better firmware update I will just manually rename my stations so that it's easier to see what they are and then use tvguide app on my phone for program information. I was just getting into using the EPG to see what's coming up and using it to record shows.

Kind of a big let down to have to choose between having 100 channels with zero guide, or having around 25 channels and seeing what's on, a description of what's said program is, and what will be on over the next 24hrs.

I really hope that iview can figure out a way to at least let the antenna program list exist alongside the cable program list so that if we want to we can use a switch to go between the two.

I would be happy with that as a compromise. Until then, I guess I'll have to make do. If anyone has suggestions I would welcome them!

Cheers,
-SB

Last edited by sawbones999; 01-01-2015 at 08:21 PM.
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post #3896 of 5069 Old 01-01-2015, 08:21 PM
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If you hit the 400-channel limit, you may have to do things the other way around: auto-scan the OTA channels, then switch to cable and manually scan the frequencies with clear QAM channels (now that you know, from this scan, which ones they are). Sounds like that's the only way to avoid hitting 400 channels and running into a brick wall. Hope that works.
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post #3897 of 5069 Old 01-01-2015, 08:57 PM
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So even though I no longer have 400 stations in my program list (there are 100) I cannot add anymore stations bc I hit 400 already?

That sucks. They should at least make it so that if you delete a channel the list is open for more channels. What's up with the 400 channel limit anyway? There are FTA satellite receivers using mstar 7816 that have channel memory of at least 1000!

Cheers,
-SB
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post #3898 of 5069 Old 01-02-2015, 12:03 AM
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I wonder if I updated the firmware to v2a or v3, without running scan, if my channel list would remain intact.

Probably still have the 400 ch. problem. That would be a valuable fix if they could include it in next release.

I can see why the latest firmware for these isn't available on their website, though. it basically breaks QAM.

Cheers,
-SB
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post #3899 of 5069 Old 01-02-2015, 07:29 AM
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Ok, here is the 3rd draft of the (may I say) Laundry list. (I told you I had a list

2. This needs to display the actual channel numbers on the display and in the favorites list as it is elsewhere! This is very confusing and not user friendly!
3. The display is too bright. You could never use this in a bedroom or any dark room. Fast fix, add a sheet of gray film or some color to reduce brightness and/or change the color to something other than red,
4. There needs to be a manual method to enter the correct time. Relying on stations time isn't always accurate. There is also a problem using the GMT offset which can be off by one hour.
5. The guide has a serious problem receiving PSIP data. When you switch back and forth between channels, the listings appear for the previous channel. If you enter the guide from a channel, the full listings appear. Switch to another station, the same problem, listing from that previous channel show, or limited entries for the new station will show.,
6. No ability to initiate a record entry directly in the Guide instead of entering it in separately. This defeats the purpose of the Guide. This is a huge disadvantage.
7. There is a limit of 11 program listings no matter how many the station is actually providing. Is this a hardware issue?
8. Switch to 12 hour clock format. Or provide a choice of both,
9. Rename “Hold” to “Schedule” and “Recall” to "Return” on the remote.
10. Rename "Program" to "Channel" in the menu. You are editing channels, not programs,
11. When scrolling through the recorded programs, eliminate the need to press “Ok” each time to activate playback of the next entry. Use 'Play' to play the recording in full screen,
12. Apparent serious issue with some CATV systems. All the channels are labeled "0-0". Also, 1/3 of the encrypted channels are not 'skipped',
13. Add a 'skip' function with adjustable times. Using FF & Rew to juimp past commercials is a linger process,
14. The info banner stays on screen to long. It's also too large. Reduce 10 sec. down to 4 sec or add adjustable timeout options.
15. There is no record indicator on the display. You can't tell if it is recording or not if the TV is not on.
16. Unable to schedule a program that spans midnight. Workaround is two recordings, one stopping at 2359, the next starting at 0001,
17. In schedule, remove the "Type" entry and combine channel number and call letters to one line,
18. When using the 'Manual search', confirmation to save when new channels are found and it returning back to the manual search screen after any entry is saved instead of closing out. It's a real annoyance to re-enter the screen again to add additional channels.
19. A conformation step is needed when using the 'Auto search' since it's easy to hit it by mistake and wipe out all your channels when you wanted to do a manual search,
20. The GoTo button duplicates what is already in the menu that needs a password. Remove the need for a password and use the button for something else.
21. Change the word “Book” in the manual record screen to Schedule and remove the “Book Info” since both do the same thing,
22. Remove the "View - Record" entry at the bottom of the manual record screen, or at least change the default to 'Record”. One less thing to click through,
23. Change the default HDMI audio to “Raw HDMI On”,
24. When in the menu, do not show the term “boot” on the display.
25. The RF loop through output is dead if the DVR is in standby,
26. These four choices for sorting the channels do not have any affect on channel order. Also, their labels are mostly unknown here. Since the ability to move individual channels is already there (a huge plus), remove this function,
27. Change “Movie” in USB mode to “Recordings”. These aren't always movies that are recorded.
28. Volume & mute have no effect on the HDMI output when in Raw mode (for 5.1 audio),
29. There is no slow motion function,
30. Remove “Radio” channels. This doesn't always see audio channels as “Radio”, placing many under the normal video. This just makes things more complicated and confusing,
31. Change time zone names of cities to 'standard time” designations: EST, CST etc.
32. There is no 'space' entry when editing the program names to separate words,
33. Remove the “TV Format” entry in the menu since there is no “PAL” format in N. America
34. These “colored keys” that are mentioned on page 14, where are they on the remote?
35. What is this “service mode” that is mentioned in the manual?
36. There is no mention of the term “ATSC” in any of your literature or in the on line manual. References to “DVB-T” should be removed,
37. Revise the features on page 3; change DVB-T FTA to ATSC OTA, remove that incorrect “400 channel capacity”, change 570i & p to 480i & p.
38. Revise the specs on page 18; change frequency range to 57-803 MHz, bandwidth to 6 MHz, add "ATSC" to demodulation and remove “DVB-T”.
39. During recording, when you click on 'Info', there are two entries that should be removed; “Max record size” which seems to be a duplicate of “Disk free space” and “Cur play size” which always shoes “0KB”,
40. Is that above pop up suppose to display during playback? If so, it doesn't.


removed the first item which was hardware related

It seems that iview has indeed fixed some of the items on this list (at least as of v1 fw for the ch3/4 model). I sincerely wish that they could increase the 400 channel maximum station list, or at the very least make it so that once you delete encrypted channels in the "edit program menu" those empty channels' space in memory should be available again for storing new channels.

Fw v2a and v3 are a step backwards in regards to tuning qam stations, although they do seem to place channels with more complete psip info into the correct place for the virtual channel(on my cable provider this is only local stations). If iview is listening we don't want to lose all channels with incomplete psip. I'm even ok with deleting the hundreds of scrambled channels picked up in v1 firmware, so long as what I described above is true and once those channels are deleted, the channel memory totally deletes these channels from memory so that more channels that are not scrambled (300 deleted in my case) can be utilized to program more channels which are not scrambled, such as more QAM stations and with antenna ATSC.

I have, right now, 100 clear QAM stations and cannot add anymore. The exception is I can scan the encrypted channels I already deleted and it will happily add this back into memory. This suggests to me that the deleted channels are not removed from channel memory but merely hidden. Adding new clear channels, or OTA, forget it. The signal meter clearly clearly shows a high signal but no channels will be added to the available "programs".

Thanks iview for listening and trying to improve your product. The frequency of firmware updates from iview makes this tuner stand above most of the rest in comparison. please continue to improve and both your current and future users can enjoy the result!

Thanks,
-SB
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post #3900 of 5069 Old 01-02-2015, 11:46 AM
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For a grid view channel guide (android), I've been using USA TV droid from the play store.
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