Philips MCI730 hacking – preparation

I am owner of the Philips MCI730 device. It runs Linux inside and has WIFI and Ethernet ports. It supports MP3 and Internet Radio. Also device supports UPNP/DLNA, so i am able to listen music directly from my NAS. Device is working mostly fine, but there are some very annoying problems.

  • WIFI works VERY unstable. I tried with 2 different routers. Sometime it just loosing AP. As workaround i am using Ethernet-connected access point in the “Client” mode.
  • No compressed lossless formats are supported. For me it sounds very stupid – there is MP3/WMA support, but no FLAC, wavepack or ape. As workaround my NAS converts lossless files to the LPCM on the fly.
  • No gap-less playback from UPNP device. I think it is limitations of the Firware.
  • Control point is implemented with a lot of bugs.

Despite all this problems i like the device, because it works good with my favorite radio-stations and FM tuner is also very good, i had much more expensive receiver before, but quality of radio was poor (bad reception zone). I think that WIFI problem should be easy-to-fix. Probably software is one-big-blob, so it would not be possible to add more formats. For control point interface probably some telnet-based workaround could be found. Problem is lack of  root access. I tried several options to get root on the device, but no luck so far. Some findings:

  1. There is no web interface. NMAP shows that ports 111/tcp, 1024/tcp and 8888/tcp are open. On 8888 Mediabolic UPNP/DLNA server is running. It is unclear what is on 1024 ports, tcp connection could be established, but it is closed in a short time.
  2. According to NMAP system is running Linux 2.6.X.
  3. I used tcpdump on my router to capture protocol between device and Philips servers. Protocol is HTTP (no TLS) with all data sent in the message body. Data is encrypted somehow.
  4. On USB only FAT formatted drives are detected.
  5. There is no GPL code or firmware sources/binaries on the vendor web site.

So i assume that only way to hack this device is to physically open it.What could be done then:

  • There should be somewhere serial interface, soldered or not.
  • JTAG (likely) or removable flash (unlikely).
  • If CPU is not hidden there will be more chances to find what is running on this box.

I am going to open the box in the nearest time. I found no stickers on the case, so warranty should not be affected. If you have positive experience with hacking this type of the devices – please drop me a comment.

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2 thoughts on “Philips MCI730 hacking – preparation

  1. ruddock says:

    Hi,

    I have an MCI730, primarily for the cd capability additional to internet & FM radio, & streaming – of which there are many.

    Disappointed with the UI speed, especially the cd (!). Recently upgraded to a DGND3700 modem router with attached freeagent usb acting as a NAS – streaming much quicker, and recent Philips ota upgrades have improved internet radio (on ~6Mb BT asdl).

    Have been hoping the internet would rescue this promising piece of kit.

    Appreciative of your efforts.

    Rudd

    • sammczk says:

      Hi,

      I also a little disappointed for both speed and functionality. For me lack of lossless formats support is a nonsense, i can`t understand why it was not implemented. Currently i requested GPL`ed source code and still waiting for it. I want to continue my efforts after getting access to the source code, or at least in case of clear inability to get it.

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