Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hack Patriot Box Office for Watching Chinese Videos and TVs

As requested by friends, this blog is dedicated to explain a simple way for watching Chinese TV programs and movies on a television or monitor for free using a special media player instead of a computer.  Compared with many well-known approaches watching Chinese TVs on a computer, this one seems much more operation-friendly as well as eco-friendly.  It is attractive for many Chinese families who may not always be technical savvy.  In addition, as I know, the operation cost or power consumption of this kind of MIPS-based media players is relatively low.  Its total power consumption usually is no more than 15 watts.  Meanwhile, a typical power consumption of a PC CPU, even some mobile or laptop CPUs,  itself is known to be between 50 watts and 100 watts.  Even a power efficient Intel Atom CPU usually is inside a range between 5 and 20 watts, as I remember.  Nowadays a typical home desktop demands a power supply of no less than 250 watts, not to mention that a powerful game desktop or work station easily require a power supply of at least 400 watts.

The media player which I am introducing here is a Patriot Box Office High-Definition Media Player PCMPBO25 which a Realtek RTD1073DD SoC based networked player and made by Patriot Memory.  It has about 128MB SPI flash, 128MB DDR2 SDRAM and a 400MHz MIPS core.  One nice thing about this player is Patriot Memory hosts a very OPEN and friendly support forum for it and shares a lot of details of its firmware.  This not only makes this player hard to be bricked but also enables many mods and hacks.  One simple mod I am going to introduce here is to update its firmware for watching Chinese movies and TV programs.

The procedure for updating its firmware has been posted on Patriot Memory support forum.  Now, it is slightly modified and reposted here for your convenience.
  1. Watch over composite hookup if possible ( Comment: Though I have hacked many PBOs with watching over HDMI without any issues so far, YMMV);
  2. Download firmware;
  3. Unzip/unrar;
  4. Copy "install.img" file to the ROOT directory of an FAT32 FORMATTED USB drive ONLY;
  5. Put the USB drive into the front usb port of Patriot Box Office;
  6. Power up both PBO and TV and choose the PBO input on TV menu;
  7. Go to SETUP -> SYSTEM -> SYSTEM UPDATE, & select SYSTEM UPGRADE;
  8. The screen will black out for about a few seconds until the update process initiates. The whole update process may reboot & resume, please DO NOT remove the usb drive UNTIL the screen goes back to the setup page; and
  9. (Optional) Additional update might be necessary if the remote doesn't work after the above update.
As far as I know, the newest unofficial firmware supporting China videos, movies and TVs is the one posted on HDP Fans Forum [11/2011].

4 comments:

Jianbin Zhu said...

I have upgraded the firmware and connected the network cable, but I cannot play the media when I try to use the IMS. Can you please tell me what to do next?

Shu Wang said...

Check the network setting from SETUP -> NETWORK. Two things. 1) check the default DNS setting, which should be your router IP address, e.g. 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1, instead of 127.0.0.1 . 2) check if DHCP assigned a reasonable IP address to this box.

Anonymous said...

Are you still using your Patriot Box Office? I set mine up in late 2011 and recently it stopped working. HaoIMS fully stopped working, and the other services just don't work well, so slow. Any suggestion on how to fix this?

Many thanks!

Shu Wang said...

Not any more. Sorry for this.