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Troubleshooting a Set Top Box

Back in March I was in the UK troubleshooting a Humax set-top box (STB) that was behaving erratically. Most of the time it would work as expected, but sometimes it would just display a green screen when switching on or changing channels. I approached this in a number of ways: searching online for other people's experiences with these boxes, trying to find any software updates that might have been needed, and looking into alternatives if these approaches should fail.

One option that was left open was buying a new digital video recorder (DVR), though I was a bit reluctant to rush into this given that there seem to be very few reasonably priced ones available these days. The market seems to have moved to smart TVs and streaming services.

In the end, the solution to the original problem was to change from using a HDMI cable to connect the set-up box and television to using a SCART cable instead. The problem seemed to have been related to HDCP content protection.

The unused approach

One of the fallback options I looked at was buying a Raspberry Pi and a TV hat, and I figured that I might as well just do this to see if it was a viable replacement for a DVR. It wasn't, though it could be made to work with a fair amount more effort and a more powerful Pi than the Zero 2 W that I chose for the experiment.

Although various online stores have guides to help with setting up the hardware and software, it was quite frustrating to get the software configured to download program guides and receive broadcasts. There was a window of time when it worked, but it seemed quite unreliable otherwise.

Repurposing the Pi

While it's possible that the Pi I bought might be needed in its original role, I think it's more likely I'd try to buy a replacement for the original Humax box instead. In the meantime, I started looking into porting Inferno to it. Rather, that should be re-porting Inferno, because the original port was for ARMv6-based hardware, and the Pi Zero 2W is actually ARMv8-based.

Slow progress can be observed in the diary.

Categories: Inferno, Free Software

Copyright © 2024 David Boddie
Published: 2024-05-10 15:48:45 UTC
Last updated: 2024-05-10 15:48:45 UTC

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