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Custom firmware - a theoretical question

mike_m

New Member
#1
I'm posting this in the newcomers' section because I can't find an area for this sort of question. Please let me know if I should re-post this elsewhere on the forum!

I have an old 9300T and also an HDR Fox T2 running custom firmware. I'm extremely happy with both machines, and even more happy with the custom firmware (where would I be without flatten and channeldel?) However, the Foxsat that I bought for my 92-year-old mum has been a failure - she simply can't get her head round the (to her) over-complicated menus and the 'hundreds' of buttons on the remote.

I've talked to friends with similarly aged parents, and it seems that this is a widespread problem with no solution in sight - manufactures of TVs and PVRs are making equipment more complicated every year, while the elderly simply want to use a simplified EPG, record the odd programme. They don't want internet connectivity, picture-in-picture, favourites lists, parental controls or anything like that. To be honest, they don't even want HD!

So here's my question: since a Humax is just a Linux box at heart, is it plausible that custom firmware could be devised to simplify the on-screen menus and operation for the elderly? If so, it would be a much more achievable project than designing and building hardware from scratch - it would probably be possible to crowd-fund it, and it might even attract some government funding. I would personally be happy to contribute time and money to such a project, because I think it's desperately needed.

Any thoughts?
 

Ezra Pound

Well-Known Member
#2
There is a problem installing this on the HDR-Fox T2, whereas a few manufactures supply full details the programs running on their units, so that customisers can control every aspect of how the unit operates, most don't. Humax have not supplied that kind of detail of their operating system, so the customisers have had to take a different approach, this involves leaving the running program on the Humax (called humaxtv) to run un-altered and then running new programs in parallel with it, unfortunately doing things this way does limit what new features can be added. So changing the way the menus appear on the TV screen is very unlikely to be achievable
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
#3
The Topfield is a StDef PVR with an open programming environment (or so I am given to understand). HDR-FOX users who were (or still are) Toppy users lament that Topfield didn't make a HiDef model, and some still use it for StDef and only defer to the HDR-FOX for HiDef.

The HDR-FOX is a StDef/HiDef PVR with a closed programming environment - the custom firmware uses the operating system to run extra things under the real time executive, but does little or nothing to interfere with the core processes (which are locked down). Be grateful it does what it does.

In summary, if you want the ultimate in customising and only StDef, try Topfield.
 
OP
OP
mike_m

mike_m

New Member
#4
There is a problem installing this on the HDR-Fox T2, whereas a few manufactures supply full details the programs running on their units, so that customisers can control every aspect of how the unit operates, most don't. Humax have not supplied that kind of detail of their operating system, so the customisers have had to take a different approach, this involves leaving the running program on the Humax (called humaxtv) to run un-altered and then running new programs in parallel with it, unfortunately doing things this way does limit what new features can be added. So changing the way the menus appear on the TV screen is very unlikely to be achievable
Many thanks for that, Ezra Pound. I wondered why nobody was offering custom 'skins' via the customised firmware, now I understand! Oh well, back to the drawing board!
 

mafoo

New Member
#5
You could consider a Dreambox, it's a completely open platform, lacks a few bells and whistles but for straight forward TV with a customisable UI, it would do the business.
 

Mike0001

Well-Known Member
#6
Many thanks for that, Ezra Pound. I wondered why nobody was offering custom 'skins' via the customised firmware, now I understand! Oh well, back to the drawing board!

My mother also struggled with even the remote on her TV, and so did my mother-in-law, whose approach to things going wrong was to press every button until the whole TV was messed up!

The solution we found was a very simple remote, with only a few buttons (Sony RMEZ2T). In your case, you might try one of those power save Intelliplug adapters, where you switch the Foxsat on and that also starts the TV. You then tune the remote to operate the Foxsat and leave the TV on, and on HDMI1 or whatever.

I don't think the Sony remote is still available, but there may be alternatives. There are also Intelliplug alternatives that are much cheaper. E.ON have some on Amazon. Also, this remote might do:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Philips-SRP1001-10-Universal-Remote/dp/B002M9GWAE/
 
OP
OP
mike_m

mike_m

New Member
#7
You could consider a Dreambox, it's a completely open platform, lacks a few bells and whistles but for straight forward TV with a customisable UI, it would do the business.
Thanks for the suggestion - I'll take a look at the Dreambox.
 
OP
OP
mike_m

mike_m

New Member
#8
My mother also struggled with even the remote on her TV, and so did my mother-in-law, whose approach to things going wrong was to press every button until the whole TV was messed up!

The solution we found was a very simple remote, with only a few buttons (Sony RMEZ2T). In your case, you might try one of those power save Intelliplug adapters, where you switch the Foxsat on and that also starts the TV. You then tune the remote to operate the Foxsat and leave the TV on, and on HDMI1 or whatever.

I don't think the Sony remote is still available, but there may be alternatives. There are also Intelliplug alternatives that are much cheaper. E.ON have some on Amazon. Also, this remote might do:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Philips-SRP1001-10-Universal-Remote/dp/B002M9GWAE/
Thanks for the info - the Philips won't control the DVD, but I really like the look of the Sony - very clearly laid out, lots of space between the buttons - the RM-V502 series (in the same style as the RMEZ2T) will control a DVD as well. Unfortunately, as you say, not available any more, though there are some on US eBay. I'm considering it!