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HDR-FOX T2 in Sweden

Discussion in 'HDR-FOX T2 Freeview Recorder' started by DVBgeek, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. DVBgeek

    DVBgeek New Member

    Hi!

    I wanted to tell you that the HDR-FOX T2 is also sold in Sweden, under the name BXR-HD+ T2. However, the Swedish broadcaster has opted to force Humax to cripple the box severely. All internet/network-based functionality is gone (they claim the Ethernet port is a "service port"), as is the ability to copy recordings to an external HDD, let alone decrypt any files. On the plus side it has keyword search based timers (does the HDR-FOX T2 also have this?) and automatic series recording by way of a proprietary EPG datastream that the Swedish broadcaster puts on the air.

    I am a bit curious to know whether it would be possible to combine the various functions of these boxes somehow (since it is the same box, only different software) or unlock the things that Humax had to nerf or kill in order to get the seal of approval from the broadcaster.

    On an interesting side note, the Swedish box is, as far as I can see, the only Humax box for which source code and firmware is not available on the Humax website (nor, for that matter, on the website of their Swedish distributor), despite the GPL license. I can only assume that this is also because of some demand from the Swedish broadcaster, because it doesn't seem like Humax violates the GPL in this manner for any other country.

    In fact, if the HDR-FOX T2 has keyword search timers and the only thing it doesn't have is support for the proprietary "Boxer Navigator" EPG stream, I would be interested in knowing if it might be possible to run the British firmware in the BXR-HD+ to get all the functions they killed off for the Swedish market.
     
  2. Black Hole

    Black Hole Felonius Gru

    Only one way to find out: try flashing it. Unfortunately, if the native code is not available to download you might find yourself with a non-functioning box and no way back.

    One back door might be to telnet in and do the make-an-HD-pretend-to-be-an-HDR trick, but even then you need to be able to flash in the hooks to get a telnet session running. It could be that the "service port" already has a command console if you knew the right username and password.
     
  3. ChrisDaniels

    ChrisDaniels Well-Known Member

    I would urge caution before attempting anything.
    You really need a copy of the firmware first so that you can flash the box back to a working state if it messes up.
    Other than that, the model number details should be in the manual. Once you have that you can use af123's humidify tool to create a custom hdf update file.
     
  4. ChrisDaniels

    ChrisDaniels Well-Known Member

    I meant system ID above. Anyway, I found it on P52 of your manual in the screenshot:
    It's a bit blurred but looks like 80AD.7FD0 but I'd check it on your box menu to make sure.
     
  5. Black Hole

    Black Hole Felonius Gru

    I never intended to suggest anything else!
     
  6. DVBgeek

    DVBgeek New Member

    Being a technician by trade and blood, I am hardly going to rush into modifying anything without proper caution, but I also refuse to pay for intentionally nerfed devices unless I am able to un-nerf them myself.

    The ID from the screenshot is 80A0.7F00

    I haven't actually bought the box yet, so I'm just trying to gather as much information as possible before making a decision. The alternative is a Miraclebox M9 (aka Icecrypt 6000). Since this is to replace a dying Toppy ("dying" in the sense that it can't handle T2 or MPEG4 which is being rolled out on the Swedish terrestrial network), I do have rather high demands on any replacement when it comes to copying recordings to computers, and general extensibility/hackability. I don't want to buy an unseen horse, basically. I need to kno that if the BXR-HD+ is indeed as nerfed as it seems, that it can be unlocked.

    I'm also going to doublecheck the facts with the distributor and with Humax Global. Some Swedish users seem to think it's not the same box (the exterior and ports are identical), as they claim that the BXR-HD+ doesn't have 1080p (it does according to specs, perhaps it's nerfed in software), and that the HDR-FOX T2 doesn't have CI+ (it does according to specs) or can handle MPEG4 (it does according to specs).

    The one thing that seems clear is that Humax have been forced by the Swedish broadcaster to cut any and all network-related functions as well as crippling the OPT+ copy to the point of being completely pointless and they could just as well have cut the entire copy/move functionality for all the good it does today. The Toppy was also an approved box but it seems Boxer (the broadcaster) have made their approval guidelines more draconian since then, and refuse to provide subscription support to any subscribers who don't use an approved box.

    Everything I can find would suggest that these boxes are identical except for the software. I'm going to ask Humax to publish the firmware to their website so I can make a restore in case I buy this box and start playing around with it.
     
  7. Wallace

    Wallace Slightly Pickled

    This may sound silly and I'm sure that you have thought of it already, but do you not know anyone in the UK that can buy a UK HDR and 'ship' it to you? That is if it matches your broadcast standard. You mentioned something about the EPG but I didn't really understand if you meant that it worked differently to the UK.

    Just a thought.
     
  8. DVBgeek

    DVBgeek New Member

    Of course it would be easy to buy the HDR on Ebay or something. I'm not entirely positive that it matches our broadcast standard, but it should. The main thing I'm interested in is having a box that is approved, so I can get support from the broadcaster if there is a problem with my subscription or reception (helpdesk checks the serial number to confirm that it is an approved model), and so that I can easily switch between a custom firmware and one that is approved by the broadcaster.

    The EPG is standard, but covers only 7 days for the free-to-air channels and 2 days for the paid channels. The broadcaster also provides an alternative EPG stream in their own proprietary format that can only be decrypted if you have a special card and a firmware that supports "Boxer Navigator" as the stream is called. With this you get 7 days of guides for all channels and the ability to do automatic series recording or search the guide by looking for specific directors or actors and things like that. (With the exception of the time coverage for pay channels, I could do all that with MyStuff on the Toppy as well, without having the special EPG stream available to me, so meh.
     
  9. Chris Green

    Chris Green Member

    And another 'just a thought'. Now that the news is out there as to how we access the 'Hidden Settings', I wonder what would happen if you bought a UK machine and changed its native country to Sweden. An un-hobbled Swedish version perhaps or does that just change the screen language?
     
  10. ChrisDaniels

    ChrisDaniels Well-Known Member

    Well, from what it sounds like, I would say its the same box, just different software thats nerfed its feature set to accomodate the broadcaster.

    The only way you are going to know for real is to get confirmation from Humax themselves or to throw a custom firmware at it and see if it works.

    One of the problems I can forsee is if the channel scanning or EPG is different to that in the UK (which I am presuming it will be), you wont be able to just take the UK HDR T2 firmware and just convert it to this new box, you would need to decontruct a current Boxer firmware and recompile it with the mods.

    I think the main software - the humaxtv application will be the key ingredient.
    If you were to obtain the Boxer firmware it might be just a case of replacing this app in the UK firmware, converting the System ID of the HDF and updating the box. This could also be tested the other way around to see if the Boxer humaxtv app allows scanning of UK channels and also if the EPG works normally. This might corrupt a few internal databases though at the same time, so again, its a bit of a risky proceedure.
     
  11. DVBgeek

    DVBgeek New Member

    The one difference I know of between the standard EPG stream in Sweden and the UK (ignoring the proprietary Boxer Navigator stream for now since it requires an approved box and an additional subscription as well as a special CI module) would be that the UK uses CRID while Sweden does not (similar functionality is part of the Boxer Navigator stream which is not available to regular subscribers or free-to-air viewers).

    It's no problem buying any old USB TV stick and using with Boxer with full EPG compatibility, so I assume that everything is as standard as it could be as long as you don't have the Navigator datastream available to you.

    If the channel scanning is different it would probably just be a matter of setting the correct country in the service menu to get the correct bandwidths and such for scanning, much like you do with any USB TV stick.

    The reasons I do want a Swedish-sold box are several. Firstly it would be much cheaper: Boxer has heavy discounts on boxes for their subscribers, so a Swedish BXR-HD+ would set me back around £190 in total if I renew my subscription, while the cheapest new UK box I can find on Ebay sells for £240 plus £30 for shipping, which would net me at least a Miraclebox M9 (Icecrypt 6000) among the unrestricted Linux boxes. Secondly, Boxer flatly refuses to deal with subscribers who use non-approved boxes. Free-to-air channels are a different story, but if there's a problem with subscribed channels on your box and Boxer finds that it's an unapproved model (or, in their language "untested"), they won't provide support for your subscription.
    Plus, of course, it's just plain fun to own an approved box which can do things like FTP, web interfaces and USB backups, and potentially (since it's Linux and probably therefore runs some sort of soft-CAM to interface with the CI slots) also in-house cardsharing (Boxer has a really dumb subscription model of not providing more than the basic channel lineup on any secondary cards, only one card per subscription will contain all the channels you subscribe to if you have anything beyond the basic lineup).

    I'm going to try to get more information from Humax, and a copy of the default firmware, before committing to a buy, but if I do, I'll be happy to experiment with it to unlock all the crippled stuff.
     
  12. Black Hole

    Black Hole Felonius Gru

    Such dedication!
     
  13. DVBgeek

    DVBgeek New Member

    Mostly annoyance with the (uncalled-for) limitations imposed by Boxer on any manufacturer who wants their blessing - far beyond what the standards require (I can understand CI+ and HDCP must be adhered to, but that doesn't exclude SD material from being decrypted, or functions like FTP or YouTube or telnet or....). So it's mainly about the joy of taking a heavily crippled hardware and uncrippling it, so I can still have an approved box "by name and serial number" and thus have support from Boxer for my subscription yet have all the functions I love in the Toppy and not have to downgrade because of stupid new approval rules that have nothing to do with the requirements put in place by the industry standards.
     
  14. DVBgeek

    DVBgeek New Member

    It seems there are minor differences between the machines - both are listed as handling 1080p, but according to users here in Sweden, the BXR-HD+ can only handle 1080p24-25 while the HDR-FOX T2 can handle 1080p50 - though with all the other similarities, I'm inclined to believe it's only confusion on the part of the people who write the spec sheets.
     
  15. Chokofant

    Chokofant New Member

    I recently purchased a BXR-HD+ from Boxer in Denmark and have exactly the same thought regarding the crippling. So if you have made any progress or more information regarding firmware modification please share.

    I asked similar questions on the danish site (recordere.dk) and got an answer from the distributor that it was not possible to update to a UK firmware. Have not tried out of fear that I could brick it - and the wife would brick me ;)

    Currently firmware is updated OTA. A friend suggested that it might be possible to extract the firmware (for fallback purposes) by "sniffing" the transport stream.....

    Just like you my previous (precious) box was a Toppy. :)
     
  16. DVBgeek

    DVBgeek New Member

    I've sort of let this slide, as I mostly use the online web "Play" services of the various providers these days. My trusty old Topfield box which is breaking down, is soon going to be replaced with an unspecified OEM box from my ISP when I get 100Mbit optical fibre, and I'm guessing it will be just as closed down (and harder to replace with an open alternative) as the nerfed Humax "BXR" models.

    Of course the distributor will say that it can't be "cross-graded" to a less restricted firmware - Boxer would brick the distributor if they admitted it or hinted at the proper methods. That is NOT to say I believe it is an easy task attainable by any technically savvy user - I do believe it will take considerably more intricate hacks that I would ever be able to come up with other than in theory, in order to open up the box for proper firmware mods.

    The one thing I seem to have found (through other users on the Swedish site Minhembio.com, though since I don't have a Humax box myself I have been unable to verify it) is that the Boxer versions may not actually run Linux and that the firmware may not be replaceable at all due to the USB and Ethernet ports being unused and lacking drivers in the Scandinavian firmware. Boxer are certainly doing everything they can to make sure that their users won't ever get another box as "open" as the Toppy. In fact I did ask Boxer about it and they explicitly said that they will never again approve a box that can run thirdparty firmware or use any homebrew/thirdparty software. They hate backups with a passion, it seems, and shared network storage even more so. In fact I am totally amazed that they kept ext3 around as the filesystem of the Humax, since in all other boxes (including the Toppy) they have required the use of proprietary filesystems to prevent users from connecting the disk to a computer to extract recordings from it, otherwise the box has not been approved for use with their service. I have, in fact, rarely seen a technology company so extremely determined to make their products as useless as possible while meeting the absolute minimum of required functionality for the absolute maximum amount of money they can get Joe Average to cough up.
     
  17. gabbe

    gabbe New Member

    Is there anybody who knows what could be done with the raw files that you extract from the .hdf files which you update the box with? Unsquashfs works on the custom firmwares but not on the stock ones. I have the swedish box.
     
  18. Ezra Pound

    Ezra Pound Well-Known Member

    There are a few users on this forum who have this knowledge, unfortunately I am not one of them, af123 could propably help with this but you may have to be patient as he is a bit busy at present catching up after a 'summer break'
    BTW
    The Custom firmware has a utility called Humidify 1.0.2 which is a HDF file utility, it is meant to run on the Humax but I guess it would run on other Linux based systems after unpacking the files with opkg-unpack humidify_1.0.2_mipsel.opk
     
    gabbe likes this.
  19. xyz321

    xyz321 Well-Known Member

    Try running the 'file' utility on the raw files. Do they show up as squashfs files and if so, are the endianness and the version numbers the same?
     
    gabbe likes this.
  20. Chokofant

    Chokofant New Member

    The humidify tool runs on linux and windows boxes. And now that the firmware has been released by the distributor in DK (probably same box as in sweden) I
    have run the humidify tool on the released hdf file to extract 2 raw files. See below:

    Z:\Humax>humidify.exe BXR_HD_PLUS_upgrade.hdf
    HDF Tool v1.0.2, by af123, 2011.
    Opening BXR_HD_PLUS_upgrade.hdf, 12253518 bytes.
    Blocks: 377
    Model: 4
    System ID: 0000.0000 - ffff.ffff
    File Offset Address Type Flags Size Uncompressed Size
    ---- ------ ------- ---- ----- ---- -----------------
    1 0000014 0000000 1 0 262 -
    2 0000146 0000400 1 0 12248672 -

    But all my attempts to determine the contest of the raw files has been unsuccesful.
    They dont seem to be squashfs and running "file" on them does not provide results.
    Any suggestions ?