WMCE54AG Media Center Extender runnind 3rd party firmware

Discussion in 'Other Linksys Equipment' started by emuman100, Jul 28, 2006.

  1. emuman100

    emuman100 LI Guru Member

    Linksys has an IP set top box platform based on the ATI Xilleon 220 MIPS SoC. It is the WMCE54AG Media Center Extender. I think the reason why it can't playback live or recorded hd content because Linksys opted to use the standard definition Xilleon or a firmware limitation due to not enough testing. Anyway, running Windows CE and operating the way it does it's pretty much useless to someone who wants to run mythtv. I want to do everything in my power to get linux with mythtv frontend running on it, hopefully with hd contend playback. Since a few of you guys must have one, have any of you opened yours up and taken pictures? I have doubts it uses any of the uPnP standard because I think it runs a RDP session for it's interface and decodes video and audio on on the unit itself, just accessing the content behind the RDP session. I want to get rid of the WinCE bootloader and try to get linux booting. Any of you have any experience with this?


  2. Glendor

    Glendor LI Guru Member

    I have absolutely no idea how to do this, but maybe some of the smarter folks on this, or one of the other modding forums, can figure it out. I would even be happy with getting the USB ports to work. Ideally, I would like to put a USB Harddrive & USB DVD player on the two USB ports. Since Linksys has that NSLU2 device on the market, is their any way to combine the firmware from that device with the WMCE54AG firmware to get the ports working?

    Any ideas how to do that?
  3. Toxic

    Toxic Administrator Staff Member

    I would guess even if this was possible the amount of hard work for compiling such a firmware would not be worth the effect as GPL is free. no developer would benifit from it.
  4. Glendor

    Glendor LI Guru Member

    What is GPL?

    Does anybody have an "Idiots Guide to Hacking Firmware" so I could learn how to try it myself?
  5. emuman100

    emuman100 LI Guru Member


    The WMCE54AG doesn't use GPL firmware, it uses Windows CE for Set Top Box applications. I never got one yet (need to save up), but if Windows CE can run on it and if it could utilize such functions as atleast 16 bit color RDP and MPEG2 and mp2/mp3 decoding, I can see quite a benefit.

    The method behind my madness is because there are no fanless set top boxes for mythtv frontends. I want this to be a fully functional mythtv frontend. Lets be honest, the way the software is now the hardware does not get used to it's full potential. Media Center Edition has limitations, is locked down by Microsoft, and ridden with bugs and errors that are Microsoft's own. For the original price, the content restrictions, and the fact you need a Media Center PC means that it's a waste of hardware.

    With that said, I'd like to use this extender for something useful. Mythtv and other PVR programs make it easy to have a subscription free and content restriction free PVR. With frontends like a mythtv frontend, you can have one backend system in the server closet and frontends at each of your TVs which utilize the backend. It's all part of that pervasive computing concept that can benefit your home like it has benefitted businesses for decades. Once I save up I'm going to get one and open it up to see what can be done. Anyone care to open up theirs and give their feedback?
  6. jp42

    jp42 Guest

    v1 linksys extenders


    I think this is a great idea!

    given that MSFT has announced that v1 media extenders (MCX) wil not be compatible with the Vista version of Media Center..

    there will be a LOT of v1 linksys & hp media center extenders on eBay & craigslist, etc very soon...

    Hack on my friends!

    The serious limitation of the stock linksys device (which I own) is that they have very limited support for many video / audio codecs... Linksys only released ONE firmware update for this device and the support has been TERRIBLE on it.

    So - flash the thing, upgrade it, etc... there's no support to speak of from Linksys anyway.

    Also - I opened mine and it is mostly empty .. they could have easily fit much more H/W in here.. even a DVD player could have happily in there..

  7. Toxic

    Toxic Administrator Staff Member

    great so in the 4 months since the initial post have you managed to write your own operating system for this device? :)

    good luck with your project.
  8. crawdaddy

    crawdaddy Network Guru Member

    shoot, with the CE frontend, depending on the version, someone may be able to write a CE frontend for mediaportal to be used in conjunction with their mediaportal TV server. It's inwdows based, and while I have never tried mythtv, it's rock solid and much more useful than stock MCE.
  9. Glendor

    Glendor LI Guru Member

    Today's Woot is a WMCE54AG Media Center Extender

    Anybody looking for a guinnea pig MCE can get them on Woot today (12/27/06 for $99 + 5 S&H.

    I'm getting 3 and hoping for the best. Anybody come up with that "Idiots Guide to Modding the WMCE54AG" I was hoping to see?

  10. KiDD

    KiDD Network Guru Member

    On Woot again for 89.99 + 5sh
  11. MitchSchaft

    MitchSchaft LI Guru Member

    Last edited: Jun 10, 2015
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    MitchSchaft LI Guru Member

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    MitchSchaft LI Guru Member

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    MitchSchaft LI Guru Member

    Last edited: Jun 10, 2015
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    MitchSchaft LI Guru Member

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    MitchSchaft LI Guru Member

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    MitchSchaft LI Guru Member

  18. dragonzkin

    dragonzkin Guest

    Looks like SageTV is selling a media extendor, and there is also an "ubuntu media center" package available for Ubuntu. Anyone think there is any possibility of getting a linux backend to talk to the linksys frontend? Theoretically you should be able to make up for most weaknesses in the device in the OS it is talking to.

    I want to connect my Linksys device to a box running older hardware, so Linux is pretty much a must. Woot! is selling these things for 80 bucks now- some community needing more functionality from the device must be growing!:biggrin:
  19. birdman99

    birdman99 Guest

    Firmware breakin

    I also have two of these devices, thinking they would work with Vista, I am going to dedicate time to get them to work in vista. I have an electrical background and will build on what you have done so far. More to follow.
  20. MitchSchaft

    MitchSchaft LI Guru Member

  21. MitchSchaft

    MitchSchaft LI Guru Member

    Last edited: Jun 10, 2015
  22. MitchSchaft

    MitchSchaft LI Guru Member


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 10, 2015
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