ReplayTV 5040 Disassembly
I am cataloging the parts inside my ReplayTV 5040, with the eventual goal of running
Linux and MythTV on it. Should the Replay not survive as a commercial product, meaning
that the electornic program guide is no longer available and Replays everywhere turn
into doorstops, this may provide a way to still get some use out of the hardware.
Got info about this thing? Email me at replaytv (at) flyingbuttmonkeys dot com
Twelve components are labelled in the photo below.
This is the reverse side.
1. RF Tuner and Modulator
2. Video Decoder
3. MPEG Decoder
4. FPGA - controls decoding process, possible copy protection functions
- XILINX Spartan FPGA
- could be bad news; A Field Programmable Gate Array can do anything it is
programmed to do; it's a roll-your-own DSP/microcontroller/whatever.
- Current theory: it's the MPEG encoder. Scratch that -- the NEC chip does the MPEG encoding.
- "Success Story" about Xilinx and the Replay. Companion document: PDF file
- Looks like the FPGA is for "copy-protection logic." Ewww. Maybe I can just ignore it.
Replay's vice president of hardware, Lynn King, cites the copy protection information that is encoded along with the video stream and which is dealt with by the FPGA; this is one area where standards are changing rapidly and the need to change algorithms while in service is to be expected.
- Here's a little gem: "an FPGA is used to provide the control logic for the MPEG decode process". Diagram: PDF file
In one case, ReplayTV found itself forced to deal with an edge condition that caused video noise in a few systems already in homes. One of the chips in the system had an undocumented clock threshold-switching problem that varied as a function of lot processing. Since the control signals for this device were generated in the FPGA, it was possible to eliminate the problem by changing the timing of the FPGA-generated signal.
5. Sound Processor
6. "Digital TV Decoder"
7. Parallel EIDE/ATA connector
|Standard EIDE/ATA hard disk connector
8. "STB/PVR Controller"
9. Ethernet Controller
10. BIOS Chip
- Looks like a BIOS chip
11. MIPS processor, 250Mhz, 64-bit, little-endian