Philips DVP 3260/5990 FAQ

Philips DVP3260

Philips DVP5990

As you’ve propably read in my About section, Tech Flaws isn’t just about bitching about inapt engineers & designers but also about finding userfriendly devices that are designed with some common sense. That’s why – despite my previous bad experience with Philips – I’ve tested both 5990 and 3260 and decided to compile a FAQ from various forum entries. This is due to the player’s potential as well as to find people willing to donate so further features can be added by firmware modders (please check out this thread). I’m also gonna break blogging procedure by updating this post instead of adding new blog entries whenever this FAQ gets updated.

What USB devices are supported?

You can attach pretty much any device with an USB slot like USB sticks, card readers (in case your pics are stored on SD card) and USB HDDs albeit the latter aren’t officially supported. That is because Philips can’t guarantee compatibility since some of the 2.5″ drives need more power on startup than the 500mA defined in the USB specification. Also there’s been some concern that attaching USB-powered drives for extended periods of time might put too much strain on the Philips’ power supply and fry it eventually. Since some enclosure manufacturers do sell different HDD brands with their label one can’t know in advance what drive will work which means you gotta try or be on the safe side by using 3.5″ HDDs with external power instead. You are welcome to share your experiences in the comment section below.

What file systems are supported?

Unfortunately FAT32 is the lowest common denominator since it is supported by almost any OS out there so we’re stuck with it on standalone devices for the time being. If your external drive has several partitions with other filesystems like NTFS, you’ll only get to see those that are formatted to FAT32 (no matter if they are primary or extended partitions).

What partition/folder/file/filename sizes are supported?

According to the manual the DVP can handle 300 folders with 648 files each. FAT32 supports up to 8 TB for partitions (1 TB drives have been reported to work fine so far) and 4 GB for files as well as Long filenames of which the Philips filebrowser displays only a puny 14 chars.

Micros~1 limited FAT32 partition creation on Windows 2000 and newer to 32 GB. To create larger partitions on these systems use “fat32format.exe” (Google) under Start > Run > cmd [ENTER].

What media/file types/formats/codecs are supported?

As mentioned in the manuals (also downloadable as pdf from Philips) the players can handle avi, mpg, vob (also with AC3 sound), mp3, wma (no DRM), jpg from USB as well as CD-R(W) and DVD±R(W) DL. The 5990 additionally plays: mp4 (Nero Digital, xvid/mp3), wmv, ogm and transmits DTS audio via digital output to a receiver and handles GMC and QPel on xvid/divx. Please bear in mind that avi/wmv are containers that can hold a lot of different streams as well as codecs which are not necessarily supported. The player can handle divx 3, 4, 5, 6 (5990: + divx ultra) and xvid but only up to the max standard resolution of 720x576p i.e. no High Defintion. Subtitles must be srt or idx/sub (not compressed with rar) and should be named according to the video file since they’re not listed in the filebrowser, e.g.

my.favourite.show.1×01.avi   or  my.favourite.show.1×01.idx

my.favourite.show.1×01.srt        my.favourite.show.1×01.sub

What about DVD-Video playback from USB?

The Philips does not display IFOs so if you do have a DVD-Video ripped to HDD you can only playback VOBs. This means you’ll have short but noticeable breaks between VOBs, messed up subtitles and no correct aspect ratio, menus nor chapters. You also have to manually adjust audio streams whenever a new VOB is started automatically if you’re not listening to the first stream in the file.

Contrary to some Multimedia-HDDs there’s currently no standalone out there that does playback DVDs properly from USB. There’s no official confirmation on this but there may be several reasons, a) legal: the DVD-Forum license does not permit it; b) technical: ifo files on DVDs address titles by sectors which are not present on a HDD filesystem so at least mapping sectors would be required. According to New_Age (one of the best MTK firmware modders) one would need to get their hands on ARM source code to add such a feature which is not likely to happen.

What about file order in the file browser?

Due to limitations of the FAT32 file system standalones as well as car radios and mp3 players that don’t have a database suffer from the same problem: files are displayed in the very order they’ve been written to the FAT which even gets more messy in case you deleted some files from in between before copying over new files. Cause if the new files/entries are larger than the previous ones copying over files numbered from 1 to 20 might get them listed in a different order. So your best bet to get files sorted in alphabetical order is using DriveSort.

Avis over 2 GB take forever to load, what do I do?

You need to remux them with AvimuxGUI which is done in a few minutes without re-encoding as explained by Squash on the Videohelp forums.

Some files are displayed with a wrong aspect ratio, what do I do?

First of all you should stop downloading crappy encodes from the net and/or use AutoGK for encoding your originals to xvid. If avis just weren’t encoded properly you can try rewriting headers with MPEG4Modifier from moitah.net or use DVDpatcher for setting the correct DAR in mpegs.

During playback of some avis video stops for a few seconds while audio continues, what do I do?

The Philips seems to have trouble with packed bitstream files. You can recode them on the fly with MPEG4Modifier from moitah.net.

What is the front display used for, ID3 tags?

You wish! Unfortunately the display only shows elapsed time with 5 digits (h:mm:ss) and the track number on start of a track for 1 (MP3) and 5 (Audio CD) seconds. Pressing ‘display’ on the remote doesn’t change that and of course there’s no button to switch folders on MP3 discs nor a ‘play all’-mode so that the player would start playback of the next album folder automatically.

How do I set the player to Region Free?

Goto Setup > Preferences and press 138931 on your remote. Press up to select “0” and hit setup to exit.

Is there a firmware mod available?

Fortunately yes! Vb6rocod has done a marvelous job modding them with great new features like:

  • new skins, OSD font (text and graphic) and filebrowser (with scrollbars, outlined font, new icons)
  • filebrowser lists up to 48 chars
  • Auto-load adjustable subtitles (font, size, position)

Read more about it on his homepage and blog. Other firmware modders might start adding further features but this might require donations to enable them to purchase the player(s) first. Please read more about it.

How do I flash the player with new firmware?

First of all open the tray and press ’55’ on your remote to see what player version you have, e.g. 12 is the european model and 37 the US model, you must not flash your player with the firmware from another model or you will brick it! Then check your current firmware by selecting Setup > General. Press 1379 on your remote to check the last two digits of the version number.

Download the latest original firmware from Philips and follow this procedure:

  • extract the bin file from the donwloaded archive to the root of an USB stick
  • remove any disc from the unit
  • reset your player to default settings so it is in a defined state and set to english language
  • attach the stick and switch to USB if the unit doesn’t do so automatically
  • press play when advised to do so on the screen
  • WAIT until the tray opens and the LED on your USB stick stops blinking
  • plug off the stick
  • WAIT till the player closes the tray automatically and reboots
  • do another reset to default settings for good measure.

Remember to delete the bin file from the USB stick before you plug it in next time to playback media so you don’t accidentally flash the player again. Download vb6rocod‘s latest firmware mod (be sure to use the same version number as Philips’ original firmware) and extract the bin file with the corresponding codepage, e.g.:

  • 1250 — East European Latin
  • 1251 — Cyrillic
  • 1252 — West European Latin
  • 1253 — Greek
  • 1254 — Turkish

and repeat above procedure. Note that you can also revert to the original firmware applying the very same steps. Of course any problems resulting from flashing are your responsibility. In case you bricked your player you may be able to revive it using this cable.

How do I change volume with the remote?

The 5990 remote cannot change analogue volume except on a Philips TV. That is because you are supposed to connect the player via HDMI to your AVR or TV which in turn will decode the digital signal and only then adjust volume. The 3260 remote lacks volume keys completely but you can change analogue volume by mapping them to less used keys like Repeat/Repeat A-B easily with this tool: Remote Philips 3260.

What chipset is used?

Both players are equipped with Mediatek chipsets, the 3260 uses a MT1389DE, the 5990 a MT1389DXE (picture thanks to Huey) as shown below:

Click on a thumbnail to get a larger image and then again on the larger image to get the original size.

How do I mod myself?

For starters check out this, this, this and this.

124 thoughts on “Philips DVP 3260/5990 FAQ

  1. Yury

    I notice very slow file open from USB devices (up to few minutes, people in forums talk about tens minutes). The problem resolved quite easy – you should reformat your USB device to use FAT32 with 64K cluster (by default clusters smaller, I believe 32K). This significally reduce time to open large .avis from USB devices. fat32format can do this.

  2. Marvin Post author

    My bus powered WD Passport 2.5″ drive works just fine as well as a self powered 3.5″. Haven’t tried any hubs so far but an active one might work.

  3. Rob

    Nice FAQ – Helped me decide to buy the 5990 and flash the firmware….

    Has anyone tried to connect a USB powered 2.5″ HD to the 5990 via a powered USB Hub ?

    From hasso’s 29/12/08 comment when he got a USB Hub not supported error, I suspect not, but has anyone tried ?

    I have a portable drive not doing much so a Powered Hub would be a cheaper buy than a a Powered 3.5″ Drive :)

  4. Luciano

    Guys,

    How difficult is it to change the USB port to the back panel of the player? Can i just unplug the actual connection and connect a new usb extension to the mainboard, or the plug used by the USB port is used for other stuff too, so i can’t disable it?

    thanks!

  5. matt

    Mr. Mike, mine does the same thing. I just type a number of the chapter i want to go to on the keypad.

    btw what number should i call for the flash drive problem im having? the file is shown correctly if i just drag it on the flash drive, but if i rename it and then drag it on, it is displayed twice…

  6. Mr. Mike

    My 5990 has a big problem when you hit the “back” button twice to go to the beginning of the current chapter and then to the previous chapter. If you hit the back button twice, it is hit and miss as to whether it will actually go to the previous chapter or not. Often it goes to the beginning of the current chapter, then goes back to the beginning of the current chapter again, since there was a fraction of a second going “forward.” I don’t understand why it has such a problem with this, the previous Philips players I have owned worked fine in this regard.

    Oh well, at least I found that setting which will display non-anamorphic and 4:3 discs correctly on my TV without having to mess around with the TV settings!

  7. Marvin Post author

    I’ve read on the forums that some players do have 2 lasers, one for DVD and another for CD so if one is broken flashing the player wouldn’t help with your initial problem.

    I’ve found another how-to that you might use with translate.google.com. Haven’t read anything about soundcard or not so you should ask on avs-forum.com or softpedia.com for more info on that.

  8. Joe

    I have a 5990/37 US version bought in the Summer of 2008. I’ve been playing all manner of media on it with no problem using the original firmware. Last night it stopped reading DVD disks while still recognizing CD, CDR with *.avi, and the USB drives with avi and mp3s. I thought I’d try a flash upgrade via USB but the install seemed to ‘hang’ on me for 10 minutes. I pulled the USB and powered off and fear I have killed the player. I would like to try a serial cable flash, but other than mentions of the tiny3_wires schematic and vb6rocod’s directions, I don’t see much explicit advice about carrying out such a project.

    I think I saw mentioned that this cannot be done from an actual serial port, but must be done from a sound card. Is this correct? Also, is there another option for a serial data cable other than DivXpert’s hack?
    Any help would be appreciated.

  9. Ravi

    Nice work. Just got my 320gb transcend storejet usb drive. will try it an update the result. I have been using my ipod 30g to viewing movies on 5990.

  10. Shobuddy

    I’de like to know what the difference between the DVP5990 and the WD TV Media Player area. One big one is that the DVP5990 doesn’t support HD and the WD TV unit does. Other than that, what are some other significant differences?

  11. Marvin Post author

    Renaming works for me, dunno what’s happening with your stick, have you tried another or formatted this one completely? The Philips defaults to loading the disc so you gotta take it out of the drive before shutting it down to get the stick read automatically upon start.

  12. matt

    tried it again…same problem. one time a file i had on the flash drive showed up normally, but later when i changed the name it showed up twice. maybe that has something to do with it ? btw can i stop a disc from loading when the unit is powered on so i can switch to flash drive?

  13. Marvin Post author

    Dude, you have some weird stuff happening. I haven’t seen/read of this so far, not from stick nor from HDD. Reformat the stick and copy over the files to try again. If it still happens, contact Philips support.

  14. matt

    i also noticed each movie off a usb stick is displayed twice, for example it will show:
    – Sample.avi
      – Sample.avi

    The second one doesn’t play. Any idea why it does this?

  15. Marvin Post author

    @barry
    First time I’m reading about this kind of problem.

    @Steve
    No idea, I don’t have a TV with HDMI (yet).

    @matt
    Thanks, but like said above, DL seems to cause some problems (but do so on most players).

  16. matt

    I just bought a refurb 5992 also.

    It works fine except DVD DL’s take forever to load and sometimes it will take long to load a DVD and say No Disc. Other times it will load the same disc fine. I flashed it with the Update 2 Firmware from a link in your post. Very helpful FAQ by the way.

  17. Steve

    Just bought refurbed 5992.
    2 bugs?
    1. I have to turn the unit off and back on 2 or 3 times to get an audio signal over HDMI.
    2. The images from sd-dvd’s on my Panny th-50pz80u are not sharply defined. I am very disappointed by this lack of focus. Am I expecting too much? Do I have a defective unit?

    Thanks, all

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