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!

18 thoughts on “Extending HUMAX iCord – part 3”

    AND WHAT’S NEW IT THEM ????????


    THANKS ….

  2. The Web UI can be used for video browsing and some basic configuration. iCord HD application parameters and channel list can’t be modified right now. Might be in further versions of MiniRootFS Cortex. I can’t tell anything about HUMAX’ plans to provide something like you asked, it’s in responsibility of HUMAX itself ..

    P.S. Please DON’T SCREAM, my ears are good enough ;-)

  3. Thak you for your anser my friend
    and i hope soon we have ansers for those questions….

    bye bye !!!!

    i will keep in touch…..

  4. Hi
    I am using the latest firmware and its great – thanks for all of your work on this.
    I also have a Technomate 9100S which also has a web GUI but has a few more feature included and I was wondering if you are planning on developing things further for the iCordHD.
    The features I am looking for mainly are:
    1. To view live TV – I believe this would just need a web page that gets VLC to play the permanent buffer file
    2. To be able to change TV channel via the web GUI.
    These features would make the box fully web controllable which would be brilliant !
    All we need then is the Astra2 7 day EPG with series links and I will be over the moon!!
    Thanks again for all the hard work everyone has put into this – the iCord is finally looking to have the potential I believed it had when I purchased it.

  5. Hello, as you can see this is my first post here.
    In first steps it’s very good if someone supports you, so hope to meet friendly and helpful people here. Let me know if I can help you.
    Thanks in advance and good luck! :)

  6. Hi Cat,

    I would love to be able to use the software you have developed. It is exactly what many iCord users have been waiting for. Unfortunately, like many others, my Mac address disappeared after a firmware update so I cannot use it. I will unable to restore the Mac address until someone is kind enough to help translate the German “MAC-Adresse mit dem Loader U7.03 wiederherstellen” instructions.

    Several people have said they do not want to help with a translation in case it is incorrect but the instructions already say that carrying out such an operation is at the user’s own risk. There are quite a few other English speaking users who would like to be able to use your software, so if you or any friends have the time an inclination to assist with instructions for restoring the Mac address, it would be very much appreciated. With best wishes, Hugh

  7. Over at the AVS forum “mogie” has posted upgraded firmware for the Humax Foxsat HDR. Since “mogie” is the familial name for “cat”, I was wondering whether these two people are really the same. I’ve been picking apart “mogie”‘s update using the tools that “cat” mentioned. The only problem I found was that there are a lot of versions of unsquashfs, some of which work, and some which don’t. certainly the version that is available for Ubuntu gives problems. Where is the “official” version of unsquashfs?

  8. Robin, my nick name “catshout” hasn’t anything to do with “mogie” in the other forum ;-)

    To the question .. the latest unsquashfs version in Ubuntu is 1:4.0-8. I haven’t tested yet this version, the working one was the one mentioned in the other threads here.

  9. Your blog on the work with the iCord was a very great help and encouragement to try to “jail-break” my FoxSat. What I’m hoping for is SMB or NFS support to enable integrating the FoxSat with my NAS media archive, maybe even with automated transfer of FoxSat recordings to NAS (that would be easy with SMB support available). After that, some way of setting up recording schedules which is easier than using the FoxSat/FreeSat remote. Onwards and upwards…
    Many thanks for your inspiration.
    To any others interested in the work with the Humax FoxSat, the thread is at AVForums->Forums->Digital TV Receivers and Services->Satellite TV->Freesat->Foxsat-HDR FTP and telnet working

  10. dear humax icord specialists!

    i am in trouble my humax icord doesnt recognize satelite signal anymore and has trouble starting up the system. i am trying to reload the software to see if that was the trouble

    can somebody help me and tell me if they recognize this problem?


  11. Hi Catshout,
    I feel silly, but cannot go thru a simple software update (I’m not a geek, that could be one reason)..

    I have iCord HD, the popup msg now on start up offers me to upgrade from 1.00.37 to 38. I tried installing OTA, it fails after 10-15 seconds bringing E-OS error on.

    I went on humax.com, couldn’t find anything there, found icordforum, got a copy of the upgrade file, put it on my USB stick, switched on the power on pvr with a Record button pressed, the machine reads COPY :000% and the screen shows ‘Downloading sw… 0%”, but nothing indeed happens. It stays like this for a good hour and no transfer happening (UBS stick is blinking at the same time).

    Where do I go wrong? All I want to do is just take that annoying popup window off my start up screen. I am in the woods now, already good half a day spent on this. Would greatly appreciate your help! I browsed icordforum, couldn’t find any posts related to sw update issues…

  12. Hi Aceq, I’m no longer dealing with iCord HD for a while now due to moving to my local cable provider.

    But I’ve something in mind that the USB stick MUST be FAT-32 formatted. Please give this a try; delete and format the USB stick properly with FAT-32 under Windows and retry.

    If this doesn’t help anymore there is an english section in iCord forum. The guys there are still really responsive.

    Regards and good luck

  13. Thanks for a very interesting and informative blog. I have recently bought one of these boxes and I have been playing around with its various capabilities. I am interested in the various ports (populated and unpopulated) on the PCB.

    So far, I have got the EJTAG working and UARTC (the port by the card reader). However, I haven’t managed to find UARTB or UARTA. Does anyone have any info on these missing ports? There is a header in the centre of the board but this does not seem to be a UART. Does anyone know what this port is (possibly a BCM BBS (i2C) port)? Any info much appreciated.


  14. “I’ll try the Panda5 extension. Right now I put the websites I visit everyday in a folder in the navbar. Every morning I right click on it and select “”Open all””. It does what I need but Panda5 might be more user-focused. Thanks for the recommendation.?

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