Geeks With Blogs

News
Welcome to my blog.
Here's what we've got on the menu today:

Lorin Thwaits A geek says what?

If you haven't read this post about dissecting the HD-A1, you should start there.

I got the flash disk connected and checked out the contents a little.  After trying two different motherboards the USB connector was always in a completely inconvenient place, making it impossible to connect.  So I ended up buying a USB cable and cutting it in half to expose the four connections inside.  With a voltmeter I found the +5 and GND lines, and from there was able to figure out which were the balanced signal lines and get it connected and recognized by XP.  The first attempt came up with a standard “autoplay“ message as it started scanning through the disk briefly.  But it soon disappeared.  At first I worried that this may have kicked off a routine to munge the first part of the disk!  But I've since been able to get access to another HD-DVD player, and after doing about the same thing to read the image on its flash disk it still booted fine when placed back in the player.  So no worries there.

When trying to put the daughter card from my unit into this other player it would reference the disk for a little while, but then halt partway through the boot process.  So it looks like there's probably a serial number stored in the firmware, and a check performed during boot to make sure it's the right card for that unit.

In this 256 meg flash disk the Master Boot Record looked completely standard, with the common “Invalid partition table“ and “Missing operating system“ messages.  The partition table in the MBR had a single entry marked as active for a 243 meg partition.  It was set as type 0E, which means FAT16/LBA.  (Not that the actual partition necessaraily has to be configured as such.)  The boot sector was zeroed out.

After looking around sector by sector in the disk some more I saw what looked like ext2fs file entries, with these files and folders in the root:

 lost+found
 TOOLSSB_MASTER.tar.gz
 etc
 STRFLGER
 usr
 vara
 FWH
 exload
 exload_060222
 exvalidate
 exvalidate_060222
 lib
 share
 vfd
 vfdled
 TOOLS
 HD_DVD
 enshell
 enlib
 endrv
 enother

In the first part of the disk there were some remnants of FAT32 entries scattered in a few sectors.  The drive may have been originally formatted FAT32, and then repartitioned with ext2 from Linux.  Early in the disc was the message “Red Hat Linux 7.3 2.96-110“, which could come from either Red Hat 7.3 or 8.0.

Lots of space is consumed with a plethora of PNG files.  Probably all graphics are PNG.

Some of the more interesting messages I saw along the way:

"Copyright protector is working"
"The prohibited transaction was executed by the content"
"This disc is not available for this player"
"Failed to verify the content"
"High resolution output is prohibited for this content."
"Analog output is prohibited"
"This is a twin format disc"
"The certificate of the server you are trying to connect to has not been issued from a trustworthy certificate authority. However, all certificate dates are valid."

With the “twin format“ message it looks like provision was put in place for discs with one layer of old-school 4.7 gig DVD content and another of 15 gig HD-DVD content.  Pretty neat!  I think that the 480p message refers to trying to play back over the analog component output a high def disc that has its Image Constraint Token (ICT) flag set.  Would be too easy for someone with a high def capture solution to simply snag the content in pristine high def and recompress it, so those contributing to the AACS spec put in a provision to dumb down the output if it's not going over an encrypted HDMI connection.

Looks like the unit will reference the Internet to verify the certificate for some protected content.  We're moving steadily towards a more connected and more security-conscious world.  I'm not sure that's all a bad thing.  For sure the pirates out there will complain about the AACS guys strong-arming DRM on us, but altogether I'm not concerned.  I'm not trying to steal content from anyone, so I don't mind if this kind of protection is in place.  I'm just a curious consumer with a fascination with the latest high def video gadget out there.

There are some folks out there who think that Toshiba is losing money on the HD-A1.  I think they are right.  Quite a bit of high-priced silicon is in there, as well as obviously a ton of R&D work.  I still don't know if this will pan out for them in the long run though.  Some people have compared the HD-DVD vs Blu-Ray disc war to VHS vs Beta.  There are strong parallels, but I also like to compare this to the more recent competition of two hybrid automakers -- Toyota and Honda.  You can read more about that in this post.

UPDATE: I had a little more time to take a deeper look into the firmware, and found some additional tidbits.

Posted on Tuesday, April 25, 2006 1:07 AM Video | Back to top


Comments on this post: Toshiba HD-DVD player runs on Red Hat

# re: Toshiba HD-DVD player runs on Red Hat
Requesting Gravatar...
Wow, when you get some spare time you should try some of these hacks:

What would happen if you swapped the A1 USB for the XA1 USB? Will it unlock extra features???

What would happen if you installed a faster Pentium 4 or installed more memory?

What would happen if you got hold of a Pentium 4 computer, pulled out all the hard drives, installed the HD DVD-ROM drive as the primary master, and booted off the USB firmware?

What if you installed a USB based Linux distro onto it? Could it be made into a super cool HTPC with HD-DVD?

Also is it possible to mod the firmware disabling copy protection via HDMI or even component so people without HDCP ie most computer LCD’s can watch HD movies?

Also find some one with a February CTP of Vista and give the HD-DVD drive a test with it?

This is certainly something to watch…
Left by Leith Bade on Apr 27, 2006 12:57 PM

# re: Toshiba HD-DVD player runs on Red Hat
Requesting Gravatar...
Does the fact that Toshiba uses linux for the operating system mean that they would have to release (at least some of the) source code for the operating system?
IIRC linux is GPL, and doesn't the GPL state that all modifications of anything licenced under it must provide sources?

I don't really know if that's the case, but it's what I thought was the case. Anyway, that could be an interesting path for some software hackers to pursue.
Left by Will Robertson on May 03, 2006 7:56 PM

# re: Toshiba HD-DVD player runs on Red Hat
Requesting Gravatar...
"For sure the pirates out there will complain about the AACS guys strong-arming DRM on us, but altogether I'm not concerned. I'm not trying to steal content from anyone, so I don't mind if this kind of protection is in place."

It's not just the pirates - if you buy content that needs playback approval from an external Internet source, what happens when those servers go away? 5-10 years from now, you get to just throw away your movies that you didn't realize weren't actually yours to own.
Left by l.m.orchard on May 04, 2006 1:19 AM

# re: Toshiba HD-DVD player runs on Red Hat
Requesting Gravatar...
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=994accae-1591-4cc0-9d5b-03b0494686a4&DisplayLang=en

Try running the program "iHDSim.exe" that is installed with the above linked package for ms devs. You may be able to view the HD-DVDs folders then.

Left by VA_TAPER on May 10, 2006 3:12 PM

# Toshiba HD-A1 HD-DVD player runs redhat Linux
Requesting Gravatar...
HD-DVD has been seen a firmly a more "Microsoft" technology than Blu-ray. Microsoft considers the java-based interactive menus in Blu-ray a threat, and Sony at the other side doesn't help. However, it appears that even HD-DVD implementers prefer Linux. A
Left by Linux Gadgets on Jul 16, 2006 9:28 AM

# re: Toshiba HD-DVD player runs on Red Hat
Requesting Gravatar...
Hi Lorin
A friend had a power fail during a firmware flash. Do yoou know if a firmware flash replaces the operating system too? I can access the diskonchip module in the same way you did, but do not know how to overwrite the failed flash. I am assuming that the OS is written as well, as the linux filesystem is incomplete since the failure. Any ideas?
Left by T.WARD on Oct 22, 2006 2:49 PM

# re: Toshiba HD-DVD player runs on Red Hat
Requesting Gravatar...
hi
i have the same problem of T.WARD,
anyone have an image of the toshiba's flash disk?
the firmware is in the flash disk?
Left by marco on Nov 21, 2006 9:18 AM

# re: Toshiba HD-DVD player runs on Red Hat
Requesting Gravatar...
People complaining aren't trying to 'steal' anything (incidentally, 'theft' is a misnomer, the correct term is 'infringement'). They are simply wanting to play their purchased HD-DVD (or Bluray) discs on computers with operating systems other than MS Windows.
Left by David Russell on Oct 31, 2007 1:46 AM

# re: Toshiba HD-DVD player runs on Red Hat
Requesting Gravatar...
i like to chEAK
Left by sunil wankhede on Nov 12, 2007 7:42 PM

# re: Toshiba HD-DVD player runs on Red Hat
Requesting Gravatar...
Certain HD DVD players or discs, may contain or have the capability of downloading studio-provided, web-enabled network content. To minimize any potential compatibility and/or connectivity issues, before viewing such content, it is recommended that you perform the firmware update process to ensure that your HD DVD player is using the latest firmware
Left by Birthday SMS on Sep 29, 2009 2:57 AM

# re: Toshiba HD-DVD player runs on Red Hat
Requesting Gravatar...
So it's not wrong, just not useful if you are trying to determine the version of the framework installed!
Left by DDos Protection on Nov 06, 2009 11:17 PM

# re: Toshiba HD-DVD player runs on Red Hat
Requesting Gravatar...
I think that this is it.
Left by external drive reviews on Nov 15, 2009 6:14 AM

# re: Toshiba HD-DVD player runs on Red Hat
Requesting Gravatar...
Great post! i think it will be really helpful for the modern consumers.
Left by Buy High PR Links on Dec 01, 2009 6:59 AM

# re: Toshiba HD-DVD player runs on Red Hat
Requesting Gravatar...
This is a real great improvisation in technology. It will help the consumers a lot.
Left by Best Acne Products on Dec 01, 2009 7:20 AM

# re: Toshiba HD-DVD player runs on Red Hat
Requesting Gravatar...
I think toshiba is the best ever brand i know which is durable
Left by Seeking Women on Dec 03, 2009 6:30 PM

# re: Toshiba HD-DVD player runs on Red Hat
Requesting Gravatar...
I'd also say they are correct in that Toshiba is losing money on the HD-A1. It is very common practice to lose money on the hardware and make up for it in the long run.
Left by Temporary Tattoos on Dec 20, 2009 11:20 AM

# re: Toshiba HD-DVD player runs on Red Hat
Requesting Gravatar...
Yeah it figures with electronics that they're losing money on the A1 but compatibility issues, as frustrating as they are, eventually dissipate as the company finds and fixes whatever the glitch may be.
Left by cortney on Dec 28, 2009 9:44 AM

# re: Toshiba HD-DVD player runs on Red Hat
Requesting Gravatar...
I found this informative and interesting blog so i think so its very useful and knowledge able.I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me.
Left by sbs on Jan 22, 2010 3:46 AM

# Meals to go
Requesting Gravatar...
My toshiba DVD player whistles in standy- Do i take it back?
Ive got a Toshiba DVD player with HDMI upscaling, the model number is SD590EKB
whilst in standby the machine whistles, Its not majorly loud but i can hear it when i sit at my desk next to the machine. Do I need to take it back to Currys? I would appreciate an answer ASAP as we are going their tomorrow to purchase something else.
Left by Mohan Tarneja on Jan 23, 2010 1:24 PM

# re: Toshiba HD-DVD player runs on Red Hat
Requesting Gravatar...
The test is on Red Hat. I just wonder how it works with other Linux variants. Could the installation and set up much easier?
Left by Bonn Wafer on Feb 19, 2010 5:48 PM

# re: Toshiba HD-DVD player runs on Red Hat
Requesting Gravatar...
recommended it to everyone to try out. Of course, there are those like one of the commenters above who were more concerned about the abuse
Left by 广告联盟 on Mar 23, 2010 11:35 PM

# re: Toshiba HD-DVD player runs on Red Hat
Requesting Gravatar...
You sure have an obsession with toshiba.
Left by chegg.com coupon on May 31, 2010 3:15 AM

# re: Toshiba HD-DVD player runs on Red Hat
Requesting Gravatar...
I tried it , but guess what , my dvd is dead now , dont follow what i did buddy
Left by nobee on Jul 06, 2010 2:34 AM

# re: Toshiba HD-DVD player runs on Red Hat
Requesting Gravatar...
That really interesting. If that's the case then the player must be as reliable and stable as the computer sunning the Operating System. Can any one mention the models of such HD-DVD players.
Left by Virus Protection on Jul 13, 2010 2:41 PM

Your comment:
 (will show your gravatar)


Copyright © Lorin Thwaits | Powered by: GeeksWithBlogs.net