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Hackable Media Center

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Ok, so I went to a store selling cheap electronics today, and I was intrigued by a box that would simply say "Multimedia Center" on it. I looked at the specs, and it would only describe the capabilities of the media center, but there was no brand. The thing is probably refurbished and sold at a cheaper price. Here's a picture of the box:


I came back home and tried finding it online. I found something which looked very very close to it:

The box is exactly the same, except for the fact that mine didn't have any brand on it. The media center itself looks a bit different, but it's similar. Mine has a 250gb hard drive in it, so I guess that was the part that was refurbished as I don't see any model with a 250gb hard drive. In any case, I got it for 189$ canadian, which is quite good (I know you guys will find some of those for a similar price in US dollars, but if you add shipping price on top of currency conversion, I made a good deal).

What convinced me to go and buy it was the fact that I found the firmware was Linux-based: (if you extract it, you'll find a Linux kernel, and some MIPS binaries)

What risk would I take in buying it? Not that much. The thing is pretty cool, and seemed it looked pretty hackable. I was surprised when I unpacked it, it really is well made and robust. It was trivial to disassemble, just a few screws and I could easily take it apart. Not only it was easy to disassemble, but the hard disk inside is just a regular desktop PC hard disk, not one of those smaller hard disks for laptop. Here are pictures I took of the parts:







I tried reading the part numbers:

RTD1262 PA


NANYA 0820


MX 8091931

0922 TGAZ0 C0



I took the hard disk out and connected it to my desktop PC. It's ntfs-formatted, and doesn't hold the OS. I booted the media center without the hard disk, confirming that the OS is installed somewhere else, probably on some small memory chip on the main board. I need to figure out which one it is.

I have two ways of approaching the problem:

1) Figure out the chip where the OS is installed and attempt to modify it. It's risky, as if I break it, it won't boot anymore.

2) Figure out a way of booting on an alternate media. I would much more prefer this way, as it's less risky, and easier to use later on. For instance, I could put debian on an SD card and try to make it boot on the SD card, as it has an SD card reader.

The source code for the firmware doesn't seem to be available, so I'm going to send them an email about it. In any case, this thing definitely looks hackable. Installing debian on it would simply make it an awesome media center I would have gotten for cheap.

Any help is appreciated! Thanks :)


This thing has an RTD1262


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After, I think it's not a CMC1000, but an "MP-800DVR" from Measy:

More information on the parts:

CPU: Realtek RTD1262 (MIPS-based, with hardware video decoding)

SATA Controller: Jmicron JM20330

USB Hub: GL850A

From the manual, it should have a 128MB NOR Flash and 256MB DDR RAM.


The 128MB NOR is most likely a MX25L12845E or something very close to it, I can't read it properly.

EDIT 2: After going through the source code of the bootloader, it is strongly suggested that if the board has a serial console, then it is UART 16550C


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Hi Frenchman,

I´d also vote it being a MP-800DVR, both according to the back and the front of the box itself and of course according to the text on the PCB. I found further pictures at dayfly tech.

You should definately take a closer look at ! Yes I know your box has the realtek 1262 but the 1261 isn´t that different.

Further links:


However I doubt that you will ever be able to make use of the video and audio-functionality with debian rather than the supplied Linux-version (busybox). Yes, you will quite likely be able to get the source-code of the box, but ONLY the GPL-part of it. The audio and video-driver is proprietary and as such NOT GPL. I yet didn´t get the point of your decision to put Debian on the box as there is quite a community out there that takes the supplied OS as a basis for their personal enhancements, such as ftp, samba, bit-torrent, wlan, ...

Nevertheless: Good look with your efforts!


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