The demand for media players are increasing, as they are now highly affordable and moreover are capable of playing full HD 1080p videos. But what you get from any media player is just basic playback of 5.1-channel audio, HD video and photos. If they are network-enabled, you can stream media content from the Internet, too. These include YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, Flickr, Weather, Radio and a few more. What you did not know is that some of these media players have the ability to do much more than conventional HD media players by installing a third-party firmware. It is a similar environment when you install DDWRT firmware on a regular wireless router and tap additional features and functions, such as high wireless power boost, bridge modes, repeater modes, Bittorrent, FTP service and much more.
Breath new life into that aging box
At present, Western Digital WDTV series of media players can be flashed with open-source firmware called WDLXTV to tap a lot of features and enable the media player to do more than what it is supposed to do. In this workshop, we shall show you how to flash the firmware of the WDTV live HD media player with WDLXTV and enable additional features that you can use.
Here are some features that can be enabled using WDLXTV:
- Bittorrent client (rtorrent + rutorrent)
- Usenet download client (nzbget)
- DAAP/Roku server (through mt-daapd)
- NFS sharing (client and server)
- User-generated movie sheets
- Apache web server
- FTP server
- SSH server
- Streaming from online sources through third-party plugins, allows you access to services such as Picasa, Grooveshark, Apple Trailers, and much more - over 30 plugins available at this time
- Custom applications through app.bin or Optware, adding applications such as Asterisk, Mediatomb, etc...
- WDTVExt, allowing custom plugins that can alter the functionality of the Third party OSD themes
- Custom wallpaper and screen saver image
- Customizable IR remote functions
- A WDTV Live HD media player
- A 512 MB USB pen drive (minimum)
- A desktop PC An internet connection
Select the correct version
You first need to download the latest firmware for your WDTV live. You may choose to flash it or update your WDTV from the Internet, but we shall not need it as we are going to install the WDLXTV firmware on it. You might need the original firmware, in case you plan to re-flash it to the original firmware. You can download the firmware from ‘forum.wdlxtv.com’ and it is available under the thread ‘Board index - General Information - Firmware Releases - WDTV Live’. The latest firmware, as of today is the ‘1.05.04_V-WDLXTV-Live-0.5.1.1’ version. Those who have another version of the WDTV live can also try out this workshop, but will have to find the right firmware from the forum website and check if it is compatible with your model type. There are two types of firmware for each player and each version. The one which mentions 'Flash' will flash the firmware permanently, while the one which states 'Non-flash' will boot from the USB pen drive and will not affect the original firmware in the player. You may try any one you wish. We shall show you the flash version. Download the flash version from the link on the forum or simply click here. The file is around 106 MB and is a zip file. Once you have downloaded the file, extract the contents on your desktop in a new folder.
Update in progress
Now format a USB pen drive using the FAT32 partition system. You can use any pen drive, which has a minimum space of 512 MB, if you are using the flash version. If you are using the non-flash version, we recommend at least a 1GB pen drive. Once done, simply copy all the contents of the folder containing the firmware you just downloaded to the root of the pen drive (don’t make any folders). After the firmware is now copied on the pen drive, simply plug it into the WDTV Live media player’s USB port and switch on the power. (Restarting from the remote won’t do. You will have to switch off and switch on the power adapter). That’s it. The media player will boot up and automatically detect the new firmware and ask you if you want to install it. If you select to go ahead, the device will reboot once and install the new firmware. It should take around 2 – 5 minutes. After rebooting again, WDLXTV will be installed.
Locate the .ver file
Those who have the original firmware version 1.06.15 will have a small problem. The device will not detect the WDLXTV firmware and nothing will happen. This is because the WDTVLX firmware version number 1.05.04 is older than the present original firmware version number 1.06.15. You will need to cheat the media player, so that it thinks there is a new firmware available and only then will it install WDLXTV. To do this, plug the USB pen drive back to your computer, open My Computer and browse to the USB pen drive. In the pen drive, you will find a few files. Simply open the file ‘wdtvlive.ver’ in notepad and you shall find just a line ‘VERSION='1.05.04_V.WDLXTV_LIVE-0.5.1.1'LOCATION='wdtvlive.bin' written there. Simply change the line to ‘VERSION='2.05.04_V.WDLXTV_LIVE-0.5.1.1'LOCATION='wdtvlive.bin' and save it. Now you can update the firmware of the WDTV without any issues as the media player will sense a new version for the firmware and install it. After the firmware is installed, you can format the USB pen drive and re-insert it into the USB port. The pen drive will now be used for downloading add-ons in the next phase.