Samsung LNXXA650 InfoLink hacking - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 332 Old 07-09-2008, 01:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Since Samsung hasn't provided a way to add more RSS feeds to the InfoLink service that comes in the a650, I'm starting this thread for ideas on how to "hack" our own in there.

So far I can think of two different ways to go about this:
  1. reverse engineer the protocol so that a 3rd party can host the custom feeds (w/ custom DNS entry in your router to fool the TV into thinking it's talking to the legit service)
  2. get a copy of the firmware the TV uses (since it is GPL), modify it, and flash it to the TV. Initial attempts at finding it on the Samsung site haven't been successful: http://www.samsung.com/us/function/s...searchWord=gpl

    Or asking via live chat support:
    Quote:


    Allan R: I am sorry, I am a level 1 technician through livechat department, I can provide you with a link to download the firmware, regarding the source code required for GPL license, I request you to contact the next level that is level 2 at 1-800-samsung from 9 am to 9 pm EST.

    Or calling Samsung:
    I got level 1 support who had no idea, and then level 2 support said that they can't give me the source code, so they gave me to a product specialist who had no idea what I was talking about, and said he'd have to email Korea and get back to me.

Option #1 is by far easier in my opinion, but it would be good to pursue both tracks.
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post #2 of 332 Old 07-10-2008, 06:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edraven View Post

Since Samsung hasn't provided a way to add more RSS feeds to the InfoLink service that comes in the a650, I'm starting this thread for ideas on how to "hack" our own in there.

Yes, all of those should work. I'm doing the first with my old Series 1 TiVo right now - the protocol is reverse engineered, and I host my own TiVo masterserver with all TiVo requests being steered to my simulated server. However, IMHO it's not really worth it to go deeply into this issue just for the InfoLink stuff.

I have my Samsung hooked up to a HTPC and call up a radar weather map, check IMDB or watch a YouTube video with a few button clicks. OTOH, hacking into the GPL software might give us some controls that a HTPC does not.
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post #3 of 332 Old 07-22-2008, 02:59 AM
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This person managed to get some source code for his TV (LN-T3242H), as per his Jan 9, 2008 post. Perhaps someone with enough patience and determination could follow the same route to obtain the GPL source code for the A650 and A750 series.
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post #4 of 332 Old 07-26-2008, 10:03 AM
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Assuming that the ethernet port can be hacked, are there any other features that could be added outside of RSS feeds?
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post #5 of 332 Old 08-25-2008, 12:32 PM
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I just picked up a LN52A650 this weekend -- and this should be pretty easy. I'll plug an ethernet hub into the TV and use my laptop to sniff the traffic. I'm sure it's just simple HTTP RSS calls to get all of the info. A simple new internal DNS zone and some scripts on my Apache server at home should do the trick.

I meant to use NMAP on the TV to see if there are open inbound ports. (I have a feeling there won't be.)
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post #6 of 332 Old 08-25-2008, 12:47 PM
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Why don't you just ask them nicely (but firmly) for a copy of the source code for the TV? There are seven pages about the GPL in the manual. My understanding is that they have to cough it up if asked.
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post #7 of 332 Old 08-25-2008, 08:24 PM
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I checked out the source code from some of the other TV's -- and I don't think it'll be very helpful to get the source. They seem to be using a Linux Kernel, Busybox, and glibc ... all the items needed to have a embedded system boot up and run the closed source apps that actually run the TV.

So anyway, I did some investigation this evening.

First, the TV is pingable, but does not respond to any open ports. It's possible there is a way to enable the console via the RS232 port on the TV, but I haven't looked in the service mode.

Next, I checked out what Infolink was doing. First it hits Samsung to download an XML file that runs Infolink.

It's this URL:
http://www.samsung.com/global/produc...nfolink/us.xml

You can hit it with your computer -- it works.

That XML just points to all of the various feeds. I redirected www.samsung.com to my local web server, stuck the file on it and went to try to replace the feeds.

Sadly, it didn't quite work.... It seems the XML feed processor inside the TV is pretty primitive and can't handle feeds that don't conform to what it is expecting. If you look at a USA Today feed repurposed for the TV, it's a super barebones RSS feed.

If you replace that feed with a full-on feed like the one from Digg or Jalopnik (the two I tried so far) it doesn't work. It just says "Connection Unavailable" when you try to access that particular channel.

And what sucks is if I edit the feed file on my Web server, I have to reboot the TV to get it to reload the file....

So anyway, getting your own feeds into the TV shouldn't be that hard. A script will need to be created that takes a full RSS feed and repurposes it for the TV.

OH, on a side note, I replaced the US file on my web server with this one:
http://www.samsung.com/global/produc...nfolink/kr.xml

And that worked -- sort of. Seems the US version of the TV does not contain the Korean font ... so the news items are mostly boxes. The images do work, though. Stock ticker and weather don't.
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post #8 of 332 Old 08-25-2008, 10:17 PM
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Two pictures for you guys:

Me trying out the Korean news feed. (Doesn't work properly.)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/adrianblack/2799036570/

Putting up a test feed on my server with my own content and picture.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/adrianblack/2798192931/
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post #9 of 332 Old 11-07-2008, 12:27 PM
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I am about to buy an A650. I'm a long time Linux user with development experience. I am interested in seeing if it would be possible to improve the software in the A650/A50. I'll be working on this when I get some spare time.
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post #10 of 332 Old 11-10-2008, 08:10 AM
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I haven't spent much time on this, but I did learn a few things.

a) On page 133 of the User Guide, in the pretext to the GPL, it states that one can get the source code from [email protected]. I just emailed them requesting source.

b) They list the GPL and LGPL packages in the TV as being the kernel, Busybox, binutils, Glibc, libusb, libgphoto2 and SDL !

c) Someone apparently dug deeper into these televisions and found a bunch of stuff, including how to run a console ?

http://www.vistabug.com/bb/viewtopic.php?id=76

It looks promising.

I tried to register at the VistaBug forum so that I could chat with fearwall. It sounds like he got a console working. I was wondering how he achieved that. Does anyone have an account on VistaBug ?

Thanks

Added in edit: fearwall says that the kernel is set up to talk on a serial port. He speculates there may be one inside the TV. This TV supports USB. I wonder what would happen if one inserted a USB serial device in the USB port and tried to talk to it ? I wonder if the kernel would recognize it or if it could be made to.

Why would they put a serial port on the MB if they have USB ? They might if the USB port wasn't part of the boot loader, ie the serial port could always boot load the firmware, whereas the USB method requires a running kernel. The Phillips LPC ARM devices use the serial port like this.
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post #11 of 332 Old 11-14-2008, 12:47 PM
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Samsung sent me the following email:

=============================================
I am sorry for the late response.

We are updating our website, you will get the files early next week on the website.

Sincerely,
Hyung-Choul
=============================================

Edit: I forgot to mention that I bought a LN52A750 last weekend.
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post #12 of 332 Old 11-14-2008, 12:59 PM
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Nice! Looking forward to your progress.
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post #13 of 332 Old 11-20-2008, 12:04 PM
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Just got a 52A650 (2 days ago)-- very pleased and very disappointed.

The PIP is near useless...on CNET they have a thread from the last two weeks with a
samsung rep -- unfortunately CNET is having major problems with their web site now (it seems -- I can't follow a thread or post [even on IE on XP]. Also the sound output is
fixed (I've had previous TVs with both fixed and variable outputs).

The picture quality is near phenomenal.

Haven't yet hooked up the ethernet port yet (or played with the usb) -- but they have
all the hardware IN place to do really phenomenal things...not very impressed with the software or the remote control...once they have an ethernet, they can do anything... (like remote control from a computer).

Is there any information about the computer hardware?

The have the software for the 52A750 on www . samsung . com / global /opensource (can't post urls yet) :-(

The kernel is alzip'ed (never heard of it to now -- is there a source based linux version? [I've seen free binary downloads] -- I wonder if that's even workable (shroud GPL source with a proprietary encoder).

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post #14 of 332 Old 11-20-2008, 12:31 PM
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The source at /global/opensource does not include the kernel source. The owner's manual says users should be able to get a copy of the kernel.

I have not heard back from the Samsung SW manager yet. I'll wait a bit before I take this further.
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post #15 of 332 Old 11-21-2008, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elmerfudII View Post

The source at /global/opensource does not include the kernel source. The owner's manual says users should be able to get a copy of the kernel.

I have not heard back from the Samsung SW manager yet. I'll wait a bit before I take this further.

I think the kernel is there as an alz file -- this is a proprietary ALzip (korean)...
Its called "linux_A!.alz" -- its 58M..

Interesting...are you allowed to distribute GPL components which can only be extracted by proprietary software (probably not).

I wonder if there's any information publicly around about the internal hardware...

marty
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post #16 of 332 Old 11-21-2008, 12:28 PM
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The GPL is pretty clear that the source must be delivered in human readable form, ie text or something like it. The idea is that people like you and I can take the improvements that Samsung added to the kernel and use or improve them. Which is exactly what we intend to do.

I am going to be gone for the next 4 days or so. Let me know if you can't get the file open and I'll report our trouble to Samsung.
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post #17 of 332 Old 11-23-2008, 11:53 PM
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Looks like there's an open source decompressor for ALZ files here:
http://www.kipple.pe.kr/win/unalz/
Haven't tried it yet as I'm at work.

Edit: I went home and compiled unalz from source and successfully used it to extract the kernel from linux_a1.alz.
On superficial inspection, the kernel seems to be a modified 2.6.18 with Samsung specific architecture additions and backports from later kernel versions, mainly in the arch/arm area.
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post #18 of 332 Old 12-23-2008, 06:24 PM
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any updates here? I know its a long shot, but I would love the channel guide to be able to pull information from the internet. Worse case scenario we figure out how to invoke a specific RSS call when the info button is pressed, and pass on the current channel (and zip code somehow) and pull the channel info down via RSS.

I see that on their source code site the have the 750 code up, I can't find anything on infolink though. I figured that would be a good place to start.
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post #19 of 332 Old 12-24-2008, 08:29 AM
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I haven't looked at anything since my last post. I'm swamped with work and home projects.

I do intend to have a look at things in 2009. I'd like my TV to do a lot more too.

One impediment to implementing new functionality will be to get it into the Samsung menu system. I'm hoping that their system is written in some non compiled language like HTML or something so that we can easily modify things to our liking. If their menu system is hard coded, its going to be more difficult to integrate new functionality into the system.
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post #20 of 332 Old 12-24-2008, 10:12 AM
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I just wanted to express my interest in this topic. I have no hacking or programing skills but I do own a 650 and would like to unlock some hidden functions. Would it be possible to stream video directly to the television using the ethernet port?
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post #21 of 332 Old 12-24-2008, 10:22 AM
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Quote:


Would it be possible to stream video directly to the television using the ethernet port?

Yes, that is very possible.

It might also be quite simple to do. Hopefully the TV display device can be accessed by writing to a device in /dev.
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post #22 of 332 Old 01-04-2009, 12:46 AM
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Just found this through a google search. I'm expecting my 850 to be delivered on Wednesday and I was looking around for possible RSS hacks. This seems very promising and I look forward to what the community can accomplish. I wish I was more familiar with this kind of thing so I could offer some help.
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post #23 of 332 Old 01-06-2009, 08:27 PM
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bump
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post #24 of 332 Old 01-06-2009, 08:27 PM
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the no url rule for beginners with less that 3 posts is not cool
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post #25 of 332 Old 01-06-2009, 08:28 PM
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http://www.engadget.com/2009/01/05/s...gets-revealed/

Looks like Samsung is working on adding internet based widgets to their TVs now. I wonder if this will be an update for the LN series. Either way, this will most likely be open source, and my guess is the software would be compatible with these tvs.

My fingers are crossed that Samsung will go all out and offer this code as an update for our TVs, the idea of multiple widgets including showtimes sounds pretty awesome to me. This definitely opens the window of opportunity for enhancement.
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post #26 of 332 Old 01-14-2009, 09:50 AM
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Ok so I have a question. I am not as computer savy as most of you so I wont pretend to know what you are talking about but I do get the gist of it. What I do know is that the future of TV, meaning 2009, is some form of internet connected TV. We saw this at CES last week. Samsung in particular is combining with Yahoo to put more internet content on next years models.

Im about to buy a new tv. On Amazon, the 650 and 630 are the exact same price. I understand the differences between the 2 after having read just about every post and review on the internet about the two. To me, the biggest diff is the Infolink on the 650. Forget about PQ, screen finish and HDMI ports

So now my question. Should I buy the 650 and wait for you and/or Samsung to update the technology in 2009? How important is the Infolink or ethernet connection going forward? Will the advances for 09 make the 630 obselete fairly quickly? You guys are already trying to figure out ways to make the feed more functional. Once Samsung does, I imagine they will just release a firmware update, which by all accounts should be Q2/Q3 09. And if you have a 630 without the ethernet, my guess is that youre at a disadvantage. Sure there is the USB dongle that you could use for wireless, but that costs money, plus the 630 doesnt have the base code in the MB, at least I dont think it does.

Any thoughts?
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post #27 of 332 Old 01-24-2009, 10:22 PM
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I just wanted to bump this thread and say that I'm also interested in doing a little hacking on these things. I own a LN52A650 and would like to see what I can do with it. Has anyone tried connecting to the internal serial port and been able to successfully use the shell mentioned in the VistaBug post linked earlier? Or, better yet, has anyone been able to update the firmware with a version that has an ssh daemon?
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post #28 of 332 Old 01-29-2009, 11:42 AM
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This thread seemed interesting and wanted to post to all about the progress I made on the Samsung LN52A650 system. I was able to download the 2007.0 firmware upgrade from Samsung website and after spending 5 mins on the zip file this is what I was able to come up with.

The firmware is named as T-AMBAUSC.exe - when unzipped it created the following files

MicomCtrl (binary file)
crc (binary file)
image (folder)
run.sh (shell script to upgrade the software)

in the image directory there were following files

.......(Linux squashfs file system image file)
appdata.img
boot.img
chip.img
exe.img
rootfs.img
(Note: I was able to mount the image files after enabling "squashfs" kernel module on my Fedora 10 linux box using "mount -oloop" command. After extracting the files on the *.img files - copied it to their respective folders on my webserver.... link provided below for anybody who is interested"

.......Binary files
onboot.bin
onw.bin
u-boot-env.bin
u-boot.bin
uImage

..... Text Files
info.txt
validinfo.txt
version.txt
version_info.txt

The entire file system (in the update provided by samsung) and the filesystem *expanded* has been uploaded here http colon slash slash localdomain.redirectme.net slash T-AMBAUSC slash . Download T-AMBAUSC.tar.bz file for more information.

In the initial look of different files - here are my findings.

1) The HDTV uses an ARM processor
2) Kernel 2.6.18


More later...........
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post #29 of 332 Old 02-06-2009, 11:45 AM
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Has anyone tried simply loading the 750 firmware onto the 650? I'm wondering if the hardware can handle the 750's DLNA features, or at least the playing videos from USB
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post #30 of 332 Old 02-10-2009, 12:31 PM
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Hey guys, joined because of this thread. This forum is great!

Let me know when you get that source code, I would love to take a look at it.

Looks like as it is now, it probably runs the feed through Xerces, and only will "look" for certain tags (like Icon, Weather, News, Stock). If we could get that code, I'm sure we could add our own tags on both ends, or maybe (hopefully) come up with something more generic that would open up any capabilities they have on the TV (image, text, flash, etc).

In either case, pretty exciting stuff for us engineers
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