Custom Firmware - What Is It? Amongst other facilities, the Custom Firmware (CF, or CFW) provides a web browser interface to your Humax HD-FOX T2 or HDR-FOX T2, accessed via your home network and the HD/HDR-FOX Ethernet port. The web interface replicates some of the media management functions from the handset (move/copy, create/delete folders etc), but also extends those abilities by offering functions such as decryption (ie remove DRM), conversion to MPG, or extraction of an MP3 soundtrack. Retuning the standard HD/HDR-FOX loses your current recording schedule, but the custom software automatically backs it up and allows you to restore it after the retune. Some facilities can be automated and triggered on a regular schedule or when a recording has been made: for instance, series recordings that would normally be sent to a series folder can be set to flatten into the top level (if the user wishes), or pushed down to lower folders (send kid's programmes to a "KIDS" folder, for example). By linking your HD/HDR-FOX to an external web service, remote viewing of your EPG and the ability to set up recordings becomes possible from anywhere you can get Internet access. Disk drive maintenance and management is available via Telnet, and even the ability to use GPT-format drives (ie drives in excess of 2TB, with no practical limit). The above examples are just a few of the extras available by installing the Custom Firmware. HD-FOX owners should note that the hardware restrictions (compared with the HDR-FOX) limit the options regarding decryption, but it can still be done - for a summary of the restrictions see HERE (click). The Custom Firmware does not interfere with the normal day-to-day operation of the HD/HDR-FOX, and you will see no difference to the user interface on the TV screen (other than the custom TV portal, which is an optional install). Except under very specific circumstances, all interaction with the Custom Firmware (where necessary) is by way of the web browser interface and your PC (or other computing device). How Do I Install It? To skip the background and proceed with installation, see HERE (click). The Custom Firmware is a collection of components. The actual firmware component inserts the necessary "hooks" into the existing Humax firmware in Flash memory so that other non-Humax code can run, and provides a few basic facilities (for example: Telnet access). The firmware component is added to the standard Humax firmware by means of an update using a USB pen drive (UPD), using the normal process for performing a manual firmware update. The software component is loaded onto the HDR-FOX internal hard disk drive (directly or indirectly) by Internet download. With the firmware component installed, a minimal web browser interface permits download of the software component, following which a reboot brings up the full web interface. The full web interface then provides package management by which you can select and install the optional facilities you require, by further Internet download. Alternatively, it is possible to install the software components of the Custom Firmware via a UPD if necessary (for example, when the target machine is not Internet connected). Although somewhat restricted by the lack of a web interface and Internet connectivity, some of the custom facilities do not depend on them - for example flatten, and OTA update prevention (allowing the unit to update itself from an Over-The-Air firmware update, which it normally looks for at 0430 every day, would disable the custom installation). HD-FOX owners must provide external USB storage to host the software components, before initiating download from the minimal web interface. The greatest day-to-day value of the Custom Firmware is its management of recordings, so a typical user will want a USB hard disk drive connected that has been formatted via the HD-FOX settings menus (so that it is recordable) as Ext3. However, a customised HD-FOX also makes an excellent networked companion to a customised HDR-FOX, and a UPD can be used to host the software component. The installation procedure prepares the UPD in a suitable manner (Ext2). NTFS and FAT32 drives/UPDs are not acceptable for hosting the custom software as they are. Does the Process of Installing Custom Firmware Delete My Recordings or Affect My Recording Schedule? No. The only operation which deletes your recordings is if you ask the HDR-FOX to reformat its HDD, either directly or through a Restore Factory Defaults operation. The recording schedule gets deleted if you initiate a retune, either directly or through a Restore Factory Defaults operation, or if the unit initiates a retune itself prompted by the broadcast network. These are all factors which affect users regardless of having installed Custom Firmware, and things which the Custom Firmware can help prevent. How Do I Return To "Standard"? Performing a manual firmware update with the standard Humax firmware removes the Custom Firmware "hooks". Removing all trace of the Custom Firmware software components from the internal hard disk drive requires deletion of a specific folder, easiest done before the firmware is reverted using tools on the web interface or Telnet menu (there is no such worry with the HD-FOX). Specific tools are included in the Custom Firmware for returning to standard, the final stage of which is to perform a firmware update manually (using standard Humax firmware). Will I Invalidate My Warranty? Possibly, if you own up to what you have done. However, in the event of a warranty issue we advise returning to standard first (see above). There is just the slightest risk that a hardware failure prevents returning it to standard, but in that case it is unlikely to be found. The cautious approach is to not install the Custom Firmware until you are satisfied the unit is working and does not need to be returned straight away (in which case it will probably have a long and happy life). The ultra-cautious approach is not to install the Custom Firmware until the warranty period has expired. Note that HD/HDR-FOXes have not been manufactured for years, and none remain in warranty. What's All This Fuss With Decryption? The HD/HDR-FOX makes all recordings encrypted with a key unique to that particular unit, and not playable on any other unit if the recording file were transferred as it is. The HD-FOX with standard firmware has no way around this; the standard HDR-FOX will decrypt Standard Definition (StDef) recordings if they are copied to a USB drive, but not High Definition (HiDef) recordings (ie recordings from BBC HD, BBC ONE HD, ITV HD, Channel4 HD). If you want to use your recordings for anything other than playback on the same unit (eg transfer to your PC), they need to be decrypted somewhere in the process. For the HD-FOX, the Custom Firmware HDR Mode package gives it the ability to decrypt when copying using the handset. The HDR-FOX, on the other hand, gains full web browser access to decryption functions, including decrypted downloads to PC, and even automatic decryption in the background. HDR-FOX owners should note that without the Custom Firmware (despite the encryption) it is capable of streaming StDef recordings to PCs and other media players (and it is possible to capture that stream), and HiDef to another Humax (eg HD-FOX) but in a protected stream. It is also possible to decrypt HiDef when copying to USB, having first performed an off-the-box file manipulation (for which you can use FTP). For more information see Things Every... (click) section 5. Is Decryption Legal? Possibly not, any more so than recording the hit parade on a radio-cassette was legal. As long as you do it in the privacy of your own home for your own personal use without profit and without affecting the business of the legitimate copyright holders, the damages and punishments that could be awarded are so minor that it wouldn't be worth anyone's time pursuing the case. If you are an ultra-stickler for morality and legality, don't do it (but there's still a lot of life in the Custom Firmware even so). If you have ever copied a CD to cassette (or ripped it to a computer), you're with us. However, if you are still on the fence, note that the actual broadcasts are not encrypted (not even HiDef), and they are only encrypted by Humax as a result of a deal between Humax and the broadcasters for the use of the EPG, so if anything it is only a breach of contract (on the part of Humax) and not an offence in crown law. The remaining question is whether the Custom Firmware breaches any of Humax's legal rights, and since it is legitimate in law to reverse-engineer code for certain purposes, we believe not. I'm In, What Do I Do Now? The Wiki is our evolving on-line manual to the Custom Firmware and software packages, see the Index post #2 for short-cut links (and there is a master link to the Wiki at the top of every forum page). It distils information that (usually) originated in discussion on the Forum, and if it's not in the Wiki it has probably been covered in a forum topic (somewhere). Index post #2 also provides hints for searching the Forum and Wiki. Any remaining questions you have, please post in the relevant topic if there is one, or start a new topic in the appropriate forum. Alternatively, to proceed with installation, see HERE (click). Check out the following forum topics for more information: Differences Between HD-FOX and HDR-FOX Things Every HD/HDR-FOX Owner Should Know Video Guide to Installing Custom Software Index to Forum Topics Glossary of Terms (lots of info) NEW READERS START HERE Important - PLEASE READ Users of the custom firmware and software packages must please note that, although there are a great many satisfied users and the risks are very low, NO WARRANTY IS ACCEPTED OR IMPLIED and anyone installing it must do so AT YOUR OWN RISK. This is not meant to put you off, but it is stated in case you don't realise this. If it does put you off, maybe you don't have the appropriate sense of adventure anyway. Also, although a great deal of effort has gone in to ensuring a smooth user experience, some aspects (particularly of newly-developed software packages, or if there is a new release of Humax firmware which must be accommodated) are in a state of active development. If you find something which does not appear to work properly, please be so kind as to raise it on the forum stating as precisely as possible the exact circumstances leading up to the problem, what did or didn't happen as a result, and any error messages you may have received. Just posting a complaint that such and such "didn't work" is not sufficient for the experts to work out what is wrong, even better if you can describe exactly how to reproduce the problem.