Extending HUMAX iCord – part 3

HUMAX iCord HD open source tools become mature

Long long time ago and in between things have changed a lot .. today is “T-Day”, the development team of iCordForum.com community has updated all tools for the HUMAX iCord HD. Find below the official press release (in German and English).

German press release

T-Day beim iCordForum.com
Update aller relevanten Tools für den Humax iCord HD

Das rein privat betriebene und größte deutschsprachige Forum zum Humax iCord HD veröffentlicht heute zu allen entwickelten Tools neue, deutlich verbesserte Versionen.

Der alternative Kanallisteneditor Omega bietet verschiedenste Möglichkeiten, um die Kanallisten des iCord HD komfortabel zu bearbeiten und zu erweitern. Die Kanallisten weiterer HD-Receiver, wie vom HD-Fox oder dem neuen HD-Fox IR, können mit diesem Editor ebenfalls optimiert werden.

Mit der Entwicklung von Platoon wurde erstmals die Möglichkeit geschaffen auch Videos (sowohl SD als auch HD) auf dem iCord wiederzugeben, die nicht mit einem iCord aufgenommen wurden. Somit kann der iCord-Benutzer nun auch für Urlaubsvideos, Aufnahmen vorheriger PVRs oder ähnlichem von der Wiedergabequalität des iCord HD profitieren.

MiniRootFS – Cortex ist die Weiterentwicklung des ersten verfügbaren Patches der Firmware. Dieser erweitert den iCord HD u.a. um die Funktionen eines Media- und Sambaservers. Die zusätzlichen Dienste lassen sich über ein Webinterface steuern. Von dort aus können auch die Aufnahmen auf dem jeweiligen Gerät bequem verwaltet werden und stehen über den Webbrowser im gesamten Heimnetzwerk zur Verfügung. Updates und neue Funktionen lassen sich direkt über das Webinterface von iCordForum.com laden und installieren.

Bei iCordForum.com handelt es sich um eine im Jahr 2007 gegründete, rein privat betriebene Initiative. Inzwischen hat sich um das Forum eine Community von über 14.000 iCord-Besitzern gebildet.

Das Entwicklerteam des Forums hat mit den am heutigen Tage aktualisierten Tools auch außerhalb des deutschsprachigen Raums für Aufsehen gesorgt. Aus diesem Grunde werden alle Entwicklungen multilingual (bisher deutsch und englisch) ausgelegt.

English translation of the press release

T-Day at iCordForum.com
Update of all major tools for the Humax iCord HD

iCordForum.com, the private maintained and largest German forum for the Humax iCord HD, is publishing today new and improved versions of all developed tools.

Omega, the alternative channel list editor, offers different capabilities for comfortable editing and extending of the iCord HD channel lists. The editor does work as well with other Humax HD settop boxes like HD-Fox or HDFox IR.

Platoon allows at the first time to view non iCord HD recorded video files on the iCord HD after a format conversion. It extends the iCord HD to a multimedia player for private videos and recorded video streams from other PVRs. It enables the user to utilize the high quality video playing capabilities of the iCord HD.

MiniRootFS – Cortex is an update of the first iCord HD firmware patch. This extension provides amongst other capabilities a Samba and a media server. All services can be controlled over a Web UI. This user interfaces also provides an access to the recorded video streams to view and organize these. The streams are available for viewing on all devices in a home network. The Web UI furthermore allows the maintenance and update of all provided components and services.

iCordForum.com has been founded in 2007 as a private initiative. In between the iCordForum.com community has more than 14,000 registered users.

The iCordForum.com development team could also gain a lot of attention outside Germany with the tools updated today. Therefore all tools will be provided with multi-language support (currently implementations are available with German and English language support).

You’ll find all tools for download at http://www.icordforum.com/index.php?page=Thread&threadID=6633. The whole stack has been published under GPL license, so far everyone can download and use; nevertheless for download you need to register at iCordForum.com.

MiniRootFS Cortex with Web UI for video streaming and system maintenance

As I’m part of the iCord HD firmware (root filesystem) extension dev team and responsible for the Web UI I’ll write some more in detail about this particular part. “MiniRootFS Cortex” is the name of the firmware extension, “MiniRootFS” stands for the extension and “Cortex” for the release (currently 1.1). What does MiniRootFS Cortex provide in a nutshell?

  • Extension of iCord’s original MIPS Linux (Busybox and uClibc) based operating system with new services like SSH Server, SFTP Server, Samba Server and Telnet Server
  • Package management system ipkg (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ipkg) for further extensibility
  • Web UI for service maintenance, package installation and system configuration / update
  • Video Browser for browsing, viewing and organizing recorded video streams (works with VLC browser plugin)

One of the iCordForum.com members has created some youtube videos that show the different capabilities in detail ..

Overview about the iCord HD Web UI

iCord HD – Web UI overview

  • Overview about the Web UI
  • Demonstration of package installation
  • Video browser capabilities (shown here is the beta version with some missing functions like moving and deleting videos)
  • VLC player usage
Installation of VLC player and browser plugin

iCord HD – Installation of VLC

Access with WinSCP, FTP, PuTTY and other clients

iCord HD – WinSCP and FTP access

iCord HD – PuTTY access

iCord HD – Google Chrome

iCord HD – Windows network

iCord HD – Windows Media Center

iCord HD – (Almost) live TV

Package update with new video browser

iCord HD – Package update

  • Demonstration of package update
  • New capabilities of video browser (still beta with some layout issues, for release layout see the picture below)

Screenshot-HUMAX iCord HD - Mozilla Firefox

MiniRootFS Cortex installation

The installation of MiniRootFS Cortex works with following pre-requisites

  • HUMAX iCord HD firmware 1.00.17 or
  • HUMAX iCord HD firmware 1.00.18;
  • both with any pre-release or beta of iCordForum.com firmware patch

The steps are the following

  • Copy hdpvr.hmx and kernel17.tar to an USB stick
  • Plug in the USB stick into iCord HD
  • Switch off iCord HD and switch on with pressed “Record” key
  • The hdpvr.hmx will be recognized and written into iCord’s flash memory
  • After the reboot message switch off and on again, keep USB stick plugged in!
  • iCord will boot normally with TV on screen, the patch will be executed in background (app. 5 minutes) depending on the file kernel17.tar on the USB stick
  • After patch exexcution the original kernel will be rewritten automatically into iCord’s flash
  • The iCord will restart automatically after patch execution

You should now be able to reach the iCord Web UI with http://<ip-address>.

User: root
Pass: icordHD

The password is always the same for all services. Afterwards you should configure your network over the Web UI (Network), this switches off the original HUMAX iCord HD network configuration and gives you full control about the network properties for all purposes.


It’s important to get help when struggling with some issues. The developers team and the iCordForum.com community provide offline support and in most cases we were able to solve all problems. That’s the advantage of community driven software development, so the easiest way to get hep (in German and English language) is to register, search and read and post questions.

Developers are welcome!

We’re still looking for developers that are willing to provide some time to help making iCord HD tools better. Easiest way to participate is to register at iCordForum.com and ask one of the developer leads how to join the team.

To set the hurdle as low as possible for a quick start I created 2 additional resources for newcomers. The first one is a sample package called hello. It contains an sample extension of the Web UI and can be downloaded and inspected at http://www.icordforum.com/index.php?page=Thread&threadID=6385. If you need some assistance feel free and ask the forum for further details.

Second piece is a virtual environment for testing purposes. It contains qemu (a virtual environment for MIPS (amongst others) running under Linux and Windows and a full configured virtual image running the base iCord HD firmware including MiniRootFS. It’s still pre-release (1.0.1) but the package structure is always the same so development could be started here. You can download the virtual environment at http://www.icordforum.com/index.php?page=Thread&threadID=6384.

What’s next?

Someone might ask for next projects that are in our minds. These are only ideas but to give you a clue what might happen and to motivate you to participate  I’ve collected some thoughts ..

  • Adapting Lua as scripting environment with a browser based Ajax driven UI for the Web UI
  • Remote programming of video stream recording
  • Browser based channel editor and system configuration


It’s important again to refer ro the following statement .. The development team doesn’t take responsibility for any damage on your iCord HD. This is also included in the licenses by now. But anyway, we didn’t experience any case of damage of the iCord HD caused by our tools. You may also downgrade at any time to the original HUMAX firmware.

So far .. enjoy the new capabilities!