Iomega Screenplay Pro HD hacks
I already own one (older) version of that (Freecom Media Player) so I was not impressed with the idea, but my friend insisted I should try his unit at home.
I brought the system and I hooked it to TV. I tried some HD content I had around and I liked what I saw, so I was sold. I would be replacing my TV computer whose SAT receiver card is no longer in use as I switched to a cable provider years ago. Still that computer was serving me well, still with its original SUSE 8.2.
The Iomega unit does have HDMI, components and composite video outputs, plus an optical audio output. It has a host-mode USB socket that accepts external storage (i.e. another hard disk). It can also be connected to a computer by USB (a B-socket in this case) to be used as external storage. Video and audio inputs are by means of another set of RCA sockets, and an external power supply completes the connections. Not to forget the RJ-45 LAN connection that enables both remote playback of files stored in the disk or playing in the unit the files stored in your computer. A third possibility mention in the docs that I haven't tried yet is to play streamed contents throught the network.
The unit is powered by Linux and there is telnet server running, so you can telnet to your box (root user, no password). Files can be transfered either over the network or by attaching the unit to a computer through the USB port. The latter option is way up faster. In fact, the performance of network transfers is depressing at around 2 megabytes per second only.
Given the system is Linux-based and the telnet access is open you imagine there is something you can to change your system (hopefully to improve it). Native filesystem is NTFS but that may be a problem if you want to connect it to Linux PCs. The problem is not to read or write while the NTFS partition is clean. However, first time I tried my friend's unit it would not work. The reason: an abrupt detachment of the unit left the NTFS partition needed for a filesystem check. Unfortunately nor the Iomega system nor a PC running Linux can do that. Problem was fixed by connecting the drive to a Windows PC. After that everything went fine with Linux too.
There is an interesting blog about this device. There is also a nice wiki. Among the changes I've done I can recomend:
- Change partition to ext3 (if you main system is not Windows). Or to FAT32 if you use OS X (though FAT32 will limit the maximum size of files to 4GB).
- Install a patch so files over 2GB can be transferred over the network.
- Install a web-based BitTorrent download system. If you do that you'll want to have some swap space (I used a swapfile on the hard disk).
- Install a toolchain so you can compile your own programs.
At 199 Euros in PC-city it is a steal! You can use binaries from OpenWRT project too! Can you guess what gift I've got for Father's day?