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
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?