Hacking the Google TV Box Without Rooting It, Part 1

Day 1: Putting in Honeycomb

Hacking the Google TV Box Without Rooting It, Part 1

I’ve lengthy held the opinion that the handiest option to get Web-based content material onto a TV is to easily hook a laptop computer as much as the flat display with an HDMI cable. The laptop computer acts as an outsized distant management. You get a full Flash-based Internet browser, exhausting drive and keyboard in your TV.

It is not the lean-back consumer interface that you simply get with a cable or satellite tv for pc subscription, however you do get a la carte programming via Internet-browser streaming providers like YouTube, Hulu, Netflix and others.

“Set-top” merchandise are on the market that allow you to replicate the cable-like lean-back expertise with Web-based streaming providers. They embrace the US$59 Roku and D-Hyperlink’s Boxee, amongst others.

Nevertheless, none of them permit you to view the ad-supported Hulu service — they power you right into a $7.99 a month Hulu “Plus” service, and none of them present an answer that permits you to watch a Slingbox. Slingbox is the place-shifting streaming gadget that permits you to privately “sling” a stream through the Web from one TV supply to a different location.

This seemed prefer it may be altering. Alongside got here Google a yr in the past with a “set-top” product primarily based on Android, referred to as “Google TV,” that appeared to handle at the very least a type of points, in that it featured a Chrome browser. Hulu is viewable via Chrome.

Did this not imply that for a couple of hundred {dollars} I may tuck away a field in my TV cupboard that might enable me to get my laptop computer again? Nicely, the reply to this query was “No,” as a result of Hulu promptly blocked Google’s product from accessing its streams, together with CBS and others.

Worth Reduce

I forgot about my quest and Google TV over the yr — resigned to my laptop computer being eternally tethered to the TV — till two issues caught my eye. First, Logitech, a maker of Google’s gadget, slashed costs from $249 to $99; secondly, rumors started that the unique semi-failed and poorly reviewed software program would quickly be upgraded to Honeycomb (Android 3.1 — the flagship Android OS.)

This meant {that a} potential resolution for my laptop computer claw-back might be inexpensive, and if it was something like Honeycomb on a pill, might be infinitely customizable — identical to a PC is.

The Hackers

I began to analyze and found a band of builders inhabiting a discussion board and wiki referred to as
“GTVHacker.” This band of modders had efficiently rooted the Logitech field, permitting full management over apps put in, and later had stumbled throughout a leaked, early model of the frequently delayed Honeycomb improve and had unofficially gotten it to work on the field. Honeycomb in your TV? Was a TV not a large pill ready to occur?

I selected the leaked Honeycomb-update route for my endeavor, moderately than the root. The foundation makes use of pre-Froyo Android 2.1 and requires some soldering on a virgin field — a field that is by no means been up to date. Though I purchased a virgin Logitech Revue Google TV field, my final soldering venture — on a smartphone GPS chip — precipitated the gadget to perpetually overheat. I made a decision to play comparatively protected with my now additional discounted $89 field.


Logitech Revue With Google TV

The very first thing I did after unboxing was hook the factor as much as my TV to take a look at the unique software program. Netflix reportedly labored nicely, though I did not strive it, and You Tube functioned nicely. The CBS owned Clicker app wouldn’t let me watch CBS’s newest “Individual of Curiosity.” As I knew, Hulu didn’t work.

After about 5 minutes of fumbling with this disappointing expertise, I Fat32 formatted a USB drive and loaded it with the leaked, long-windedly named replace file. As suggested, I renamed the file “”

The Improve

Following GTVHacker’s directions, together with scary disclaimers about bricking the field, no approach to return and so forth, I booted the Logitech Revue with the USB stick hooked up. Waited two seconds and pressed the button labeled “Join.” I let the field boot to the emblem, mechanically boot once more and get again to the emblem, at which level, suggested by the hackers, I launched the “Join” button. An arrow and a “barbershop scroll” appeared.

Persevering with my potential destruction of a Benji’s value of drugs, I pressed the “FN” key and the left arrow button and the restoration menu appeared. I selected “Apply replace from sdcard:/” with the “Enter” button on the keyboard. The “OK” button between all the arrows didn’t work. The field went via varied boots and flashings till a brand new, revised emblem got here up, at which level I knew I had a profitable replace. My TV was now a big pill — I hoped.

Keep tuned: The following part of my plan was going to be determining simply tips on how to get apps and content material onto the Logitech Revue Google TV field. The leaked Honeycomb 3.1 working system was now, for all intents and functions driving a large Honeycomb pill.
Hacking the Google TV Box Without Rooting It, Part 1

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