Tag Archives: Philips

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.


Bruce Schneier: Warum ein offener Umgang mit Sicherheit auf lange Sicht besser für alle ist

Why Being Open about Security Makes Us All Safer in the Long Run

Bruce Schneier
August 7, 2008

Londons Oyster Card wurde gehackt und die letzen Details dazu werden im Oktober veröffentlicht. NXP Semiconductors, eine Tochterfirma von Philips, die das System herstellt, hat den Kampf vor Gericht verloren, der die Veröffentlichung verhindern sollte. Es könnte sein, dass jemand diese Info dafür nutzt, Verkehrsmittel ohne Bezahlung zu nutzen, untergehen wird die Welt davon jedoch nicht. Es ist sogar so, dass die Veröffentlichung dieser schweren Sicherheitslücke uns allen künftig zu Gute kommt.

Darum geht es: jede Oyster Card hat einen RFID-Chip der mit Lesegeräten an den Drehkreuzen kommuniziert. Dieser Chip, der “Mifare Classic”,  wird auch in Hunderten anderer Verkehrsbetriebe – z.B. in Boston, Los Angeles, Brisbane, Amsterdam, Taipei, Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro – eingesetzt und zudem als Zugangskarte in Tausenden von Firmen, Schulen, Krankenhäusern und Regierungsgebäuden in England und auf der ganzen Welt.

Die Mifare Classic ist total unsicher. Das ist keine Übertreibung, es handelt sich um Kryptographie auf Kindergartenniveau. Jedem mit Erfahrung im Sicherheitsbereich wäre es peinlich, seinen Namen mit diesem Design in Verbindung zu bringen.  Um nicht bloßgestellt zu werden, wollte NXP dieses Design geheim halten.

Ein Team der Radboud University Nijmegen, Holland hat die Mifare Classic geknackt. Sie demonstrierten ihren Angriff duch kostenloses U-Bahn-Fahren und den Einbruch in ein Gebäude. Ihre beiden Aufsätze zu dem Thema (einer ist schon online) werden diesen Herbst auf  zwei Konferenzen vorgestellt.

Um den zweiten Aufsatz ging es bei der Klage von NXP. Sie bezeichneten die Enthüllung als “unverantwortlich”, warnten vor “immensen Schäden” und behaupteten, sie würde “die Sicherheit von Objekten, zu deren Sicherung die Mifare IC eingesetzt wird, gefährden”. Das holländische Gericht ließ keins der Argumente gelten: “Der Schaden für NXP resultiert nicht aus der Veröffentlichung der Artikel sondern aus Herstellung und Vertrieb eines Chips, der mangelhalft zu sein scheint.”

Genauso ist es. Allgemeiner gesagt ist die Idee, das Geheimhaltung der Sicherheit dient, in sich falsch.

Wann immer eine Firma behauptet, dass die Geheimhaltung des Designs ihrer Produkte nötig für deren Sicherheit ist – z.B. bei Zugangskarten, Wahlmaschinen, Flughafensicherheit – bedeutet dies stets, dass die Sicherheit mangelhaft ist, und sie keine andere Wahl haben, als diese Tatsache zu verschleiern. Jeder fähige Kryptograph hätte das Sicherheitskonzept der Mifare nicht proprietär sondern öffentlich angelegt.

Geheimhaltung ist nicht dauerhaft. Das Sicherheitheitskonzept der Mifare basierte auf der Annahme, dass niemand herausfinden würde, wie sie funktioniert. Daher musste NXP den holländischen Forschern einen Maulkorb verpassen. Das ist aber schlicht falsch, Reverse Engineering ist nicht schwierig. Die schlechte Sicherheit des Mifare Designs wurde bereits von anderen Forschern aufgedeckt. Eine chinesische Firma vertreibt sogar einen kompatiblen Chip. Hat da noch irgendwer Zweifel, dass die bad guys schon oder bald genug davon wissen?

Die Veröffentlichung dieses Angriffs mag NXP und deren Kunden teuer zu stehen kommen, aber sie ist gut für die Sicherheit an sich. Firmen designen Sicherheit immer nur so gut, wie die Kunden sie fordern können. Bei NXP war sie so schlecht, weil die Kunden keine Ahnung davon hatten, wie sie zu bewerten sei: entweder wissen sie nicht, welche Fragen sie stellen müssen oder haben nicht genug Hintergrundwissen um den Marketingantworten zu misstrauen, die man ihnen gibt. Die Entscheidung des Gerichts wird sie anspornen, ein vernünftiges Konzept zu entwerfen statt sich auf grottiges Design und Geheimhaltung zu verlassen und zudem davon abhalten, Sicherheit lediglich auf Basis der Einschüchterung von Forschern zu versprechen.

Es ist unklar, wie der Hack die Londoner Verkehrsbetriebe (TfL) beeinflussen wird. Eine Karte zu klonen dauert nur ein paar Sekunden, und der Dieb muß dazu lediglich jemanden anrempeln, der eine echte Oyster card bei sich hat. Man benötigt allerdings ein RFID-Lesegerät und etwas Software, die zwar für einen Techie kein Problem darstellen, wohl aber für den durchschnittlichen Schwarzfahrer.  Die Polizei dürfte Verkäufer von geklonten Karten, gleich welcher Anzahl, umgehend dingfest machen. TfL verspricht, geklonte Karten innerhalb von 24 Stunden abzuschalten, was dem unschuldigen Opfer, dessen Karte geklont wurde, wohl mehr schaden dürfte als dem Dieb.

Das Schadpotential ist weit höher für Firmen, die die Mifare Classic als Zugangskarte verwenden. Es wäre sehr interessant zu erfahren, wie NXP diesen die Sicherheit ihres Systems präsentiert hat.

Und obwohl sich diese Attacke nur auf den Mifare Classic-Chip abzielte, bin ich der gesamten Produktlinie gegenüber misstrauisch. NXP verkauft einen Chip, der sicherer ist und hat bereits einen weiteren in der Pipeline. Führt man sich aber die Menge grundlegender kryptographischer Fehler vor Augen, die NXP mit dem Mifare Classic gemacht hat, fragt man sich unweigerlich ob die “sicherere” Version das wirklich ist.

Philips MCM393 Micro Hi-Fi System with USB Direct Playback

Philips MCM393 Micro Hi-Fi System with USB Direct playback
I’ve recently bought the Philips MCM393 Micro Hi-Fi System with USB Direct playback. My father is not so well so I planned on ripping all his CDs as mp3 to an external USB HDD so he’d have access to all his songs using the remote eliminating the need of getting up from his chair and switching CDs. Or so I thought.

As it turns out the device is limited by a serious flaw:

500 songs max!

Any song above this limit isn’t listed and therefore not playable. There was NO mention of this

  • in the retail chain’s flyer that initially caught my attention
  • on the product website at philips.de
  • at the retail store where I bought it
  • on the product’s wrapping

It is however mentioned on page 19 of the manual albeit not too specific:

  • Number of albums/folders: maximum 99
  • Number of tracks/titles: maximum 500

When I first read this after setting up the system (I usually don’t read any manuals prior to purchase) I thought it meant 99 folders with 500 songs each but sadly I was mistaken. While I wasn’t exactly planning on hooking up a 500 GB drive with tens of thousands of songs to it, I wasn’t expecting my cheap 2 GB USB stick filled with Audiobooks on 64 kbit/s to exceed any limit whatsoever. Certainly not after all the fuss Philips made on having a device with USB Direct playback like the prominently placed USB slot which also glows when selected as source.

Since I’m so used to companies selling hardware that never even left the beta stage of development I hoped it might be fixed by applying a firmware update. So I contacted Philips support which due to their staggering incompetence resulted in a to and fro of mails I’m reproducing here in summary:

I’ve just realized there’s a limit on songs playable by this system which is easily exceeded by my cheap 2 GB USB stick filled with Audiobooks on 64 kbit/s. Is there a firmware update to bypass this limit?

You asked about a firmware update, there’s non available right now. Please explain what seems to be the problem (this mail has a full quote of what I’ve written above so what they are asking of me is already in there!).

Like I said in my first mail, I can only play 500 songs which wasn’t mentioned anywhere on the product’s website or wrapping. What am I supposed to do with a device that’s seriously limited?

This microsystem is designed for home users/end users and therefore not equipped to process large amounts of data from HDDs.

So why isn’t this mentioned anywhere and why such a fuss over an USB slot?

You can use an USB stick with your system (followed by a large quote on external sources from the manual, which wrongly mentions a limit of 1000 songs).

If you insist on quoting from a manual that I do own myself please use the correct one. This system plays _500_ songs max which is easily exceeded by cheap USB sticks.

The system has an USB slot which allows USB sticks with 500 songs max which is within model specs as mentioned in the manual. If you’re not satisfied with your product please contact your retailer for a replacement or return.

I did. The retailer doesn’t care either so I’m stuck with it. Of course I won’t buy there nor from Philips in the future.

We’re sorry about your decision but still advise you to inform yourself next time prior to purchase.

So there you have it, the flaw isn’t a flaw but a feature! Though I was clear on it from the moment they said there’d be no firmware updates I still engaged in this discussion just to see how Philips would try to weasel their way out of it. And this is the kicker: they don’t! It’s my fault I didn’t anticipate this kind of limitation and I should have informed myself better in advance! Way to go!

The question remains to be answered though: why knowingly produce such a limited device? Of course you can’t foresee all possible devices out there that come with an USB connector but by the time of their product’s inital release 8 or 16 GB USB sticks were affordable not to mention cheap and capatious HDDs. And seriously, how much cents did Philips save by using a chip with such a puny amount of RAM?

Philips MCM 393 – The new classic… NOT!