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Thread: Using DirecTiVo AS an emulator

  1. #1
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    Sep 2001
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    Lightbulb Using DirecTiVo AS an emulator

    Has anyone looked into using their DirecTiVo as an emulation computer in addition to it's DirecTiVo duties? I have been trying to think of what it would take, but unfortunatly I am new to the emulation scene. On the plus side, I am good with Linux and programming. Here are the issues/ideas I have:

    It looks like all EMU software is DOS based. Is the source availble for any emulator software? Obviously this would need to be ported.

    Need 2 serial ports, but TiVo only has one. I was thinking maybe the IR port is a serial port also, but I am not sure. Regardless, I think the TiVoNET Board from 9thtee.com should get us an ISA port to plug a ISA serial controller card into.

    There are plenty of places to get juice from on the motherboard, so that should not be an issue.

    Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions?

  2. #2
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    Pitou is a linux open source emulator. The DTivo has 4 (I think) serial ports, including the smartcard slot .. golly george..

    REALLY.. though.. As long as the machine has enough CPU power, it should be rather doable.. Configed like this though..


    1) remap the device where the smartcard sits to a pipe
    2) use that pipe as serial port 1 (emulator) port
    3) map the serial port where the smartcard sits somewhere else
    4) use that somewhere else as serial port 2 (smartcard)

    it's all in linux, all it needs is a recompile of pitou for someone to test it.. it requires no external hardware, no trickyness.. very smooth and straight forward..

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the Pitou info Bubba. I grabbed it, and will now get PPP set up so I can compile it. Where did you hear about the smartcard slot being a serial port? That could make this a pure software hack, which is way more than I had hoped for. I just assumed that the DirecTV portion was implemented completly in hardware.

    As for CPU power, I would imagine if it is capable of encoding 2 programs at once, it should be able to handle 1 program and emulating (since I won't be running 2.5).

    Wheeeeee!

  4. #4
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    didn't you know? All smart cards are serial in nature.. whether it is mapped to linux on the DTivo, I'm not positive, if it is, great.. if it's not.. well, just cut and solder..
    (It probably is though) I just haven't tested it (My wife doesn't like me playing with HER DTivo..)

    How to check/find.. put an emulator in the tivo smartcard slot, set up the serial on your PC(connected to Emu) to a known value in a terminal program

    configure each of the linux serial ports to match what you set up on the PC

    enter the following where <port> is each serial port in the system
    echo "BubbaJ kicks Ass" ><port>

    whichever port says I kick ass is the smartcard port..

    of course if none of them work, then somethings either confgured wrong or you'll have to solder something..

  5. #5
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    this is an AWESOME idea.. but unfortunatly you just arent going to have enough cpu power to do this... I do have alot of experience with emulators, and pitou seems to require a minimum of 100mhz... there was a thread about this a few months ago...

    feel free to flame me if you somehow get this to work, cause this would be the best thing since...well.....TV!!!
    -= Glitched =-

  6. #6
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    Actually the DTivo has a lot going for it to make it easier to emulate with..

    1) there's only 1 serial port to deal with
    2) it doesn't have to handle timing (current emulators poll the serial to make sure they get the right data dtivo is already set up for the appropriate timing)
    3) powerpc chips handle simple structured programs WAY better than x86 chips
    4) ??? I'm sure there's more, I just haven't thought of it yet

  7. #7
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    All of this talk about emulating got me motivated. A few years ago I had service with directv. I dug through all of my stuff and found that my card is a H card. My question is - How do I tell if my card is of any use to emulate with. The account has been closed (by me). If I put the card into my receiver will I see anything that would indicate if it is a "good" card. Thanks for any help you can offer.

  8. #8
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    Keep it out of the reciever, just in case.

    virtually all H-Cards are usable for emulation (even damaged one). As your card was not in use Black Sunday, you probably don't have any problems.

    just follow the instructions for set up for the emu and you are on your way. (At present I would recommend you stick to traditional emulation unless you are interested in attempting to hack the DTivo (with little support))

  9. #9
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    Aug 2001
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    Originally posted by Clark
    All of this talk about emulating got me motivated. A few years ago I had service with directv. I dug through all of my stuff and found that my card is a H card. My question is - How do I tell if my card is of any use to emulate with. The account has been closed (by me). If I put the card into my receiver will I see anything that would indicate if it is a "good" card. Thanks for any help you can offer.
    As BubbaJ said, you can use the card regardless, however if its never been hacked with before (just a canceled sub) then I'm sure its good. Stick it in your receiver, if you get the preview station on channel 100 then it fine and all you need is a straight card programmer to use it, if its a BS card or otherwise looped (which yours obviously cant be from what you told us) the receiver will say IVAC (insert valid access card) when its inserted - this means you need to either use an unlooper to emulate with it or a bootloader in conjunction with a straight programmer.

    Regardless of what kind of card it is its better to buy an all-in-one programmer/unlooper/loader that will service all of your current and future needs by changing the code that is loaded on the atmel. The prices have come way down so you can get one fairly inexpensively.

    Here's a site with lots of great info for getting started: Link

  10. #10
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    Sep 2001
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    Thanks for the answer. I didn't want to proceed unless I had a reasonably good chance of success. Can anybody recommend a good programer/looper/unlooper. Thanks!

  11. #11
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    Oct 2001
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    Thumbs up info

    This site has tons of info, and reccomendations on what to buy, and what not to buy.
    http://id-discussions.com/

  12. #12
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    Oct 2001
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    Question question

    I am a test card oldtimer, but a tivo newbie.
    I have been using linux for quite some time (RHCE :-), and when I heard about pitou when it was first released I did a backflip....(well, not really)...
    I haven't had time to try it yet, I've stuck with the standard h card in a bootlseeve, or 3m'd hu...

    this is exciting though...I would definately be willing to give this a try, but I am not understanding a couple of things:

    Your basic emulator is simply a serial communication chip that catches the signals sent to the smart card socket, and routes them to a pc(via serial port) for interpretation...if it is a standard request, it sends signal back to slot to approve...if it is an auth signal, then it is routed to a real card sitting in a standard iso serial programmer(reader/writer) or an unlooper programmed with the atmel for black sunday cards, and a black sunday h card.

    Now, I purchased my t-60 to hack, but I have not opened it up yet, but with the pics on this site and looking at my unit...there are no serial ports accessible.
    http://www.9thtee.com/insidedirectv-tivo.htm

    since the existing smart card slot is supposedly a serial device, has anyone verified that it is accessable from a /dev/ttySxx device number?
    If this is in fact true, and pitou, and the directivo OS can be modified to do this all internally (since the emulator chip is theoretically just a flow control chip) and the existing slot can just read a good h card(with an hu bin in it) for the programmer part of the EMU,
    This could work...
    otherwise, we would have to figure out how to integrate serial ports into the T-60, and do it the old fashioned way.

    This is truly an exciting idea though.
    If the smart card slot can be software modified to be a reader/writer.....then modifying it to work with black sunday cards shouldn't be far behind....
    If this works, it will truly turn the heads of the guys over at http://id-discussions.com
    and a few more I would bet :-)

  13. #13
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    Could we really do this??? I am my no means a programmer, but wouldnt this take nearly a complete code rewrite to acomplish this....You would have to integrate pitou with the normal functions of the reciever..(which might be, i dont know, hardcoded in a chip, and not a part of the linux part of the device). Remember we are dealing with two seperate devices that just happen to share the same box, I know of a guy who has experience with this kinda thing ill drop him a line, and see his thoughts..... I personally just dont think the tivo has the processing power, not to mention the goliath amount of knowlege and programming this would be to acoplish, but if we could do this, it could get no better!!
    ....but what do i know
    Last edited by Glitched; 10-06-2001 at 01:04 AM.
    -= Glitched =-

  14. #14
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    I AM a programmer, and pitou should be fairly portable.

    There is NO need to integrate it with the reciever functionality, an emulator is a man-in-the middle attack on an external serial port.

    The only real piece of information that I am missing at present is actual verification of whether or not the smartcard slot is mapped to a linux serial port. Should I ever get the opportunity to test it I will, or someone here, who may have more time than me could do it..

    As far as the whole concept of seperate subsystems on DTivo, that's retarded. If they were two fully seperate systems then you'd need 2 access cards and the kernel of the tivo side would not matter in the slightest. The TIVO software controls the TUNERS, why would it not control the serial ports?


    A short education in DBS/DSS functionality:
    1) video/audio from content provider is encoded to MPG2

    2) 1 to 15Mbit video streams are multiplexed onto 20Mbit channels

    3) Access control packets are inserted into the stream

    4) the stream is transmitted to the satellite, and rebroadcast to earth

    5) the tuner in your receiver tunes to a 20Mbit channel

    6) a custom programmed GAL (not sure if this is in use on the dtivo) translates the stream into its componant segments and buffers them

    7) the processor (sh20 on most systems, ppc on dtivo) dumps the mpeg streams to it's decoder (internal on the sh20, external on the tivo)

    8) the processor picks up the access control packets and passes them blindly to the smartcard. If the smart card tells the reciever that all is not right, then the reciever blocks sends alternate information to it's mpeg decoder (output device)


    even in a regular reciever, the reciever is quite capable of processing the video stream even without the access card. The software is set up in such a manner that the access card processing is required for continued operation.

  15. #15
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    Aug 2001
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    OK
    -= Glitched =-

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