One boring evening, [XenRE] was looking through service menus on their LG Smart TV (Russian, Google Translate), such menus accessible through use of undocumented IR remote codes. In other words, a fairly regular evening. They noticed an “Access USB Status” entry and thought the “Access USB” part looked peculiar. A few service manuals hinted that there’s a service mode you could access with an adapter made out of two back-to-back PL2303 USB-UART adapters – a few female-female jumper wires later, serial prompt greeted our hacker, and entering ‘debug’ into the prompt responded with some text, among it, “Access USB is NOT opened!!!”.
[XenRE] found the WebOS firmware for the TV online, encrypted and compressed into a proprietary LG
.epk format, but liberated with an open-source tool. A few modules referred to AccessUSB there, and one detour into investigating and explaining WebOS USB vendor lock-in implementation later, they programmed an STM32 with the same VID and PID as the mythical AccessUSB device found in relevant WebOS modules decompiled with IDA. By this point, AccessUSB could safely be assumed to be a service mode dongle. The TV didn’t quite start beeping in a different pattern as we’d expect in a sci-fi movie, but it did notify about a “new USB device” – and started asking for a 6-symbol service menu password instead of a 4-symbol one. Continue reading “What’s That AccessUSB Menu In My LG SmartTV?”
Roku TVs are interesting beasts, which use automatic content recognition on whatever you happen to be watching in order to market online streaming services direct to your loungeroom. [Ammar Askar] realised that this technology could instead be used to feed data to a computer to run a Philips Ambilight setup natively from whatever the TV displays.
The core of the hack came about because [Ammar’s] TV doesn’t work natively with Philips Ambilight technology. Most off-the-shelf solutions involve feeding sources, like Chromecasts or game consoles, to a HDMI splitter and then to a PC running the Ambilight software, but it gets messy real quick. Instead, [Ammar] realised that the Roku-enabled TV should be more than capable of working with the Ambilight system, given the capability of its inbuilt hardware.
The hack consists of a custom app running on the Roku hardware, which uses the in-built Roku libraries to capture frames of whatever is being displayed on the TV. It then breaks up the screen into sections and averages the color in each area. This data is then passed to a laptop, which displays the relevant colors on its own screen, where the standard Philips Hue Sync app handles the Ambilight duties.
It’s a great hack and [Ammar] doesn’t skimp on the granular fine details of what it took to get this custom code running on the Roku TV. We’d love to see more hacks of this calibre done on smart TVs; after all, there’s plenty of horsepower under the hood in many cases. Alternatively, you could always follow the CIA’s example and turn your Samsung TV into a covert listening device. Video after the break.
Continue reading “Roku TV Hacked To Run Philips Ambilight Setup”