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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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Quote:
Originally Posted by edraven /forum/post/14254550


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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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).


marty
 

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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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Quote:
Originally Posted by elmerfudII /forum/post/15114655


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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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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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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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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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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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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