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When do we start hacking the CECB's ?

post #1 of 164
Thread Starter 
I was thinking quite a bit about this subject as other members have been cracking open their CECBs and posting photos of the guts.

I wonder what the first hacks will be and if there will be a possibility of getting into the firmware?

Some of the models appear to have capability for extra connections (S-video / Smart Antenna) and if those connections can be made live we would need to access the firmware to turn them on.

Also thinking about the EPGs and if there could be a possibility of expanding them through software mods.

Or am I just being fanciful in thinking there will be any interest in investing good hobby time and effort into these $50 devices?
post #2 of 164
Well, I think that the time is now before the weather gets too nice to be stuck inside the house. The other reason is that because these are now available the time to start hacking is now. I am involved in a number of electronics pursuits, i.e. amateur radio, computers, GPS, scanners, flashlights, etc. so based on all of those where it is possible to take something and make it better there is no reason to think these would be any different.
post #3 of 164
Flashlights?
post #4 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcbrine View Post

Flashlights?

Yes, I hacked my MagLight, by replacing the Krypton bulb with the LED module.......
post #5 of 164
If you have any interest in flashlights, you owe it to yourself to snoop around here a little bit.
http://www.candlepowerforums.com/
post #6 of 164
I wish someone would hack the Samsung DTB-H260F. Figure out if anything can be updated or modified through the USB port.
post #7 of 164
I'm thinking of getting one of the Tivax units for use and hacking. They're supposed to have an RS-232 port, so that would make everything WORLDS simpler if we can use it to read/write to the device!
post #8 of 164
The first thing that should be hacked is the time out feature designed to save energy. The CECB's turn themselves off after about 4 hours of no activity. (I think the EchoStar model might have a VCR timer) Thus, if you will be gone all day and want to set your old VCR to tape a show, you're out of luck.
post #9 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by rjune View Post

The first thing that should be hacked is the time out feature designed to save energy.

I've already hacked my Zenith to defeat that feature, using a little known keystroke:

Menu>Option>Auto Off>Off
post #10 of 164
Ditto on my Philco TB100HH9 ..
post #11 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdfox18doe View Post

I've already hacked my Zenith to defeat that feature, using a little known keystroke:

Menu>Option>Auto Off>Off


post #12 of 164
Me three on the Digital Stream DTX 9900
post #13 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdfox18doe View Post

I've already hacked my Zenith to defeat that feature, using a little known keystroke:

Menu>Option>Auto Off>Off

That's the first thing I did on my Magnavox TB100MW9
post #14 of 164
Hacking the Magnavox firmware could prove interesting. It has the capability of doing SPDIF out, S video out, and it if you add a jumper on the PCB you enable RF signal pass. If those options could be turned on it would probably be the most desired unit if hacked.
post #15 of 164
I love hacking electronics of all descriptions. I find with newer products its not so easy to do. There are several reasons, the primary is the difficulty in getting schematic diagrams. Many (most) manufacturers don't issue these any more due to intellectual property concerns. Even the patent site doesn't show schematics for products anymore. Another reason is that most newer products are so feature rich that there isn't that much room for improvement. I've never been able to get the schematic for my Garmin eMap GPS, and there are a couple of things I would've like to do with it. I'd love to modify my big screen TV to report channel selection out the back RS232 port. This could be used to switch antennas, antenna position etc. Hacking a STB is kinda pointless though. If you have to use one of these things to convert HDTV to SDTV then I'm sorry, you just aren't a play-ah.
post #16 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by donnyjaguar View Post

I love hacking electronics of all descriptions. Hacking a STB is kinda pointless though.

Come now! How is hacking or trying to hack a(n) STB pointless? It's not about the kill, it's about the thrill of the hunt!

I understand what you're saying. It's much more worthwhile to try to add features to a full HD STB or TV, than one of our silly CECBs. However, lacking the funds for THAT sort of venture, I'd still throw an hour at a CECB with a serial port, and if I get data out of it, I'd be happy and call it time well spent in a hobby I enjoy.

Time isn't wasted if you're having fun wasting it!
post #17 of 164
Thread Starter 
My wife hacked her Swifter !

It's fun just to do something the manufacturer thought you couldn't.
post #18 of 164
Granted it's off topic, but I HAVE TO KNOW!

How in the pants do you hack a Swiffer?
post #19 of 164
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by aethyrmaster View Post

Granted it's off topic, but I HAVE TO KNOW!

How in the pants do you hack a Swiffer?

hahaha...

she hacked it to work with another brand of liquid. The danged thing is designed to only accept Swifter brand solution which, apparently, is twice the price of her preferred brand.

She was pretty proud of herself.
post #20 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by aethyrmaster View Post

How in the pants do you hack a Swiffer?

sheesh.. everyone knows you take a big knife and start whacking..
post #21 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by tvropro View Post

That's the first thing I did on my Magnavox TB100MW9

Ditto with the C/M 7000.
post #22 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by wblynch View Post

hahaha...

she hacked it to work with another brand of liquid. The danged thing is designed to only accept Swifter brand solution which, apparently, is twice the price of her preferred brand.

She was pretty proud of herself.

Nice.
post #23 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdfox18doe View Post

I've already hacked my Zenith to defeat that feature, using a little known keystroke:

Menu>Option>Auto Off>Off

Especially when it is a requirement that it be an option
post #24 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by donnyjaguar View Post

I love hacking electronics of all descriptions. ... Hacking a STB is kinda pointless though.

No, you're missing a huge possibility. If a CECB could be hacked to tune in channels via QAM that would be a massive breakthrough. There are probably many others like me that have premium cable service only to their primary TV. That works because I can pull in a limited number of analog channels to my other TV's, like the one in the garage. Now, I could buy something like a Samsung 260 but it would be hard to justify that level of expenditure for a seldom used 13" junk TV. Or I could deal with the hassle of an antenna and a stock CECB, but that isn't really cheap either. Optimally, if I could pair a CECB with the cable already run to the TV that would be the cat's meow. Even if I didn't use a coupon for the purchase, it would still be worth $50 to me to buy a CECB for face value and mod it to work.

The trick is finding a CECB that should have the native ability to tune in QAM, and then figuring out how to enable that feature.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wblynch View Post

hahaha...

she hacked it to work with another brand of liquid. The danged thing is designed to only accept Swifter brand solution which, apparently, is twice the price of her preferred brand.

She was pretty proud of herself.

My wife did this too, or something similar. What she did is figured out how to open up the Swifter brand bottles and fill them with whatever cleaner she desired. The way they are made is as a one-time use disposable item. So not only is she saving money and using better chemicals (per her determination), but she's also recycling!
post #25 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by doublejack View Post

No, you're missing a huge possibility. If a CECB could be hacked to tune in channels via QAM that would be a massive breakthrough. There are probably many others like me that have premium cable service only to their primary TV. That works because I can pull in a limited number of analog channels to my other TV's, like the one in the garage. Now, I could buy something like a Samsung 260 but it would be hard to justify that level of expenditure for a seldom used 13" junk TV. Or I could deal with the hassle of an antenna and a stock CECB, but that isn't really cheap either. Optimally, if I could pair a CECB with the cable already run to the TV that would be the cat's meow. Even if I didn't use a coupon for the purchase, it would still be worth $50 to me to buy a CECB for face value and mod it to work.

The trick is finding a CECB that should have the native ability to tune in QAM, and then figuring out how to enable that feature.


I'm really not totally understanding this - you want to hack a CECB to tune "in the clear" QAM channels, which I assume are just HD counterparts to the SD channels already available without a box, and the CECB will downcovert them to SD for an older TV. Why? Are there extra channels on QAM?
post #26 of 164
Not sure if you guys saw my post in the DTX9900 thread, but I have a DigitalStream DTX9900 converter and took it apart after I got it.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/adrianb...75058/sizes/l/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/adrianb...n/photostream/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/adrianb...n/photostream/

I put the serial TX pin on my O-scope and found it to be transmitting data when turning the box on and off and also when pushing buttons and changing channels.

So I bought a serial converter board and am going to see what kind this port can do. I'll post and update when I crack open the box again.

post #27 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whidbey View Post

I'm really not totally understanding this - you want to hack a CECB to tune "in the clear" QAM channels, which I assume are just HD counterparts to the SD channels already available without a box, and the CECB will downcovert them to SD for an older TV. Why? Are there extra channels on QAM?

The reason why is because my cable provider is steadily eliminating analog channels. I know it won't be long before they go all digital and my older TV's are useless without some type of box, be it one from the cable co. (which I'm sure would have a monthly rent fee) or a 3rd party one. I'm fairly certain that they intend to go digital when the OTA changeover happens, even though the law does not apply to cable operators. (after all, there is so much misinformation about the change over among consumers that it's a great time for them to push digital on everyone)

And yes, there are already "in the clear" QAM channels that are gone from my analog service. Local community info channels for example, as well as foreign language channels and the Retro Television Network. So there are valid reasons to want / need an inexpensive QAM tuner.
post #28 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whidbey View Post

I'm really not totally understanding this - you want to hack a CECB to tune "in the clear" QAM channels, which I assume are just HD counterparts to the SD channels already available without a box, and the CECB will downcovert them to SD for an older TV. Why? Are there extra channels on QAM?

The digital clear QAM channels would be of much better video quality then the analog cable ones your old set is now picking up. Also, depending upon the cable system, you may pick up some SD or converted HD channels not available with basic or expanded basic cable. It is also fun picking up the VOD feeds that are available in areas where the cable company has not encrypted such feeds yet.

Tiim
post #29 of 164
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by adrianblack View Post

Not sure if you guys saw my post in the DTX9900 thread, but I have a DigitalStream DTX9900 converter and took it apart after I got it.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/adrianb...75058/sizes/l/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/adrianb...n/photostream/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/adrianb...n/photostream/

I put the serial TX pin on my O-scope and found it to be transmitting data when turning the box on and off and also when pushing buttons and changing channels.

So I bought a serial converter board and am going to see what kind this port can do. I'll post and update when I crack open the box again.

Cool find.
post #30 of 164
The menus of the Digital Stream DTX-9900 include a function to scan for QAM channels.  I'm surprised it wasn't removed for the CECB version.  Naturally I couldn't resist sticking the cable company coax into it and trying a scan, and of course it found no channels.
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