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Initial thoughts and learnings

Discussion in 'HD/HDR-FOX T2 Customised Firmware' started by osmyth, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. osmyth

    osmyth Member

    Seeing as lots of people have helped me over the last few months then I thought I’d put down a few thoughts and learnings on the HDR and HD to help new users.
    I’m not going to repost instructions to do things, but if you can’t find what you’re looking for then I’m sure someone will point you in the right direction. This is also written from a limited techy point of view and is only my comments on how/why I have got things to work. I hope things are factually correct. They may not be the ‘best’ way of doing things so if there are alternatives and they are easily explainable and, more importantly, implementable then please shout.


    You could, of course, just use the HDR with the standard firmware, but if you like to tweak or get the most out of your kit then you’ll want to install the custom firmware (CF).
    As the CW doesn’t have access to the Humax API it doesn’t change the way the std Humax menus work (as it might on the Topfield for example). That means it is more limited in what can be achieved but there are lots of things to play with, especially if you’re technically minded. A lot of the CW functionality is controlled in a browser from your PC/laptop using the Web-If package. You’ll need to connect the HDR to your network (e.g. router) by means of a wifi dongle or AV homeplugs for example. This is needed as a minimum to get the Humax Portal working on the standard FW.

    Initial packages

    There are a number of CF packages you may want to install to make the HDR work better. Some include ‘Disable OTA’, ‘Disable DSO’, Auto-Update and Auto-Unprotect. If you want to have a recycle bin for deleted recordings then use the Undelete package. If you want the HDR to start on a certain and with a certain volume then use the Poweron-Channel package.


    The first thing I looked at was how you view the files in the Media List. The standard is to save series recordings in their own folder. One-off recordings are saved in the top folder. If this is the way you prefer your view then you could use SeriesFiler to customise this more, although it can’t be used with Undelete at the same time.
    Coming from a Topfield background I prefer all recordings in one folder so what follows in this section as all to do with that. There is a package called Flatten which does just this, moving a finished recording from the series folder to the top folder and then deleting the empty folder. You can decide which folders you want Flatten to apply to. Jobs a good un, well not quite! In the Media List you see programs by program name. If you press I you will see more info including the synopsis (which could be classed a the episode name). So if you use Flatten and you record QI, for example, you will see lots of ‘QI’ programs in the Media List (assuming no deletion). This is more obvious if you record lots of Octonauts for the kids!
    So my requirement for the first change was to show the program AND episode info of a program in the Media List.
    I installed the Dedup package and started to customise it for my own usage. The Dedup package works well with the series folder format, as it renames files to their episode name and removes duplicates. However, if you use Flatten and then run Dedup in the top folder you’ll lose the program name in the recording which isn’t good.
    I have created my own Dedupforflatten script which renames the filename to ‘program: episode’. I can share this if people want.
    There is a small problem with Dedup/Dedupforlatten in that if the episode name is always the same for all occurrences of a program then it will create duplicates even when they are not. Also, where a film is recorded in 2 parts, split by the News for example, it will think the second part is a duplicate. If you’re using Undelete then it is easy to get re-instate those programs.

    Series recording

    Naturally the HDR does series link recordings, recording all episodes in the same series (using info set by the channels). Sometimes this doesn’t work correctly because the data is incorrect but this is not Humax specific. Also, you may want to record all occurrences of a program regardless of what the series info is, e.g. all Octonauts. A way of doing this is to use the Remote Scheduler functionality. Amongst other things it allows you to set recordings for all occurrences of a program using certain key words. This, in combination with Dedup, means that you should be left with all occurrences of a program with no duplicates.


    The standard FW only allows one or the other for all recordings. The CF allows you to select either on a channel or program basis through Web-If. I’m still playing with this as there have been a number of recordings fail for some reason, usually when there is one AR recording and one padding recording at the same time.
  2. osmyth

    osmyth Member

    HD CF

    I have installed the CF on the HD. The process was to format a usb hdd on the HD using the std FW (this uses Ext3 format). Then use a usb stick to load the CF (this is a FAT32 stick as I have Windows). Then plug the usb hdd back in so the CF can be stored on it. The CF needs a usb stick/hdd to be connected to store files on it. You can’t use the same FAT32 usb stick to install the CF onto.
    Note – follow the instructions carefully, make sure you press and HOLD the on/off button until the update starts.
    The usb hdd is a temporary solution until I get things up a running and can see if the end result is delivering what I want (see below). If it works ok I will probably use an Ext2 formatted usb stick to store the CF.

    Viewing the HDR via another device

    There are various ways you can do this. My requirement was to view the HDR on a second tv in a different room. My current set up (from the previous pvr) is that I have a coax output from the HDR going upstairs and can control the HDR via a remote magic eye. This leads to 2 problems – the most important being the quality of the picture on the second tv is not brilliant because the coax is split a few times. The second is that you can only control the HDR once, so if you a playing a recording that becomes the output for all tv’s connected via the coax.
    I have bought an HD to hopefully rectify these problems. My aim is be able to view the HDR as much as possible via the HD as if you were viewing the HDR itself.
    The other options are to get an HD remote sender, but that won’t solve the second problem above or to boost the coax signal to something more acceptable, again not solving the second problem.
    This is now work in progress.
    A process for viewing the HDR recordings on the HD is to ‘mount’ the HDR drive so it looks like it is ‘attached’ to the HD, thus enabling better control of the recordings (as if you’re looking at the HDR Media List).
    You need to install the Samba package on the HDR and Network Shares Automount on the HD.
    I’m just in the middle of this process so more to follow….
  3. Black Hole

    Black Hole May contain traces of nut

    Thanks Osmyth, although I have gone to considerable effort to make similar information available it is always useful to have a different perspective.

    Newcomers interested in the custom firmware should take a look at the Quick Start Guide (click).

    Package notes are to be found in the Wiki (click), and also (mostly) have their own discussion topics in the Modified Software forum.

    It is possible to set a default channel and volume level without using a custom package - as we do recommend a nightly wake-up (see Things Every HD/HDR-FOX Owner Should Know), whatever channel has been selected for that wake-up will be the current one next time it boots. A power-on timer (which must be accompanied by a power-off time - see Menu >> Settings >> Preferences >> Time) will equally default the channel and also volume. However, the power-on channel package has the advantage of forcing a channel and volume every time the Humax boots, regardless of whether there have been interfering fingers since the last reminder or timer event.

    Yes, the UPD used for firmware update must be FAT32, and a UPD used in place of a USB HDD to store the custom packages must be Ext2. My set-up is exactly what you are trying to do, and I confirm it works!

    Most information can be found via the links in my signature panel below, or the pinned topics at the top of each forum listing, and the Wiki (always available via the tab at the top of the forum pages).
  4. osmyth

    osmyth Member

    Using a usb stick to record to via the HD hasn't been proved. It looks like you'll need a 20Gb+ stick as the HD requires that amount to alloacte to storage.
  5. osmyth

    osmyth Member

    The HDR mounting worked but I couldn't see any files. In the end this was because the files had invalid characters in them (from my own version of dedup). Once this was corrected I could see them.
    I have set up the cron job to run flatten, mydedup and unencrypt one after another and quite regularly. This way a recording on the HDR will be available to view via the HD quite soon after it has finished.