Flash your Stein DVR 9405
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Last year, in an impulsive mood (I regularly have them), I bought myself a DVD/HDD recorder from the brand Stein.
It costed me 219€, has a 250Gb harddrive, is able to record both to DVD as to harddrive and has analog 5.1 connectivity. Reason enough for me to buy it.
... I thought ...
I connected it and I was surprised by the ease of installation: channel installation was very straightforward and easy to configure. It was only afterwards that it began to bother me how complicated it was to program a scheduled recording. You had to traverse about 5 menus and press tens of buttons before getting it done. But that was something I could live with once I had the knack of it. What really bothered me was the image quality of the TV tuner: colors were very crappy (red was pink) and images had some sort of mist over them. At first I thought it might have due to my cheap TV, but when I replaced my TV a few weeks ago, I noticed it had nothing to do with it (DVD playback was fine anyway).
So I started searching for firmware. Only problem was: Stein has no official site. In fact, there was so little I could find about Stein that I doubted I would ever find a newer firmware for it. And so I turned to forums. And more forums. There I discovered that this machine is most likely a clone of other brands. Other brands that may have newer, better firmware. And so I came across the Yamada 9300Hx, which apparently is compatible AND has more recent firmware.
Only problem was: nobody ever risked or reported flashing his Stein with this firmware.
So there 's gotta be a first time for everything and I decided to go for it. My recorder was otherwise pretty useless to me. If it went wrong, my plan B was to try and return it to the store and make up a story that it "just stopped working one day".
Luckily, I didn't have to revert to plan B. I turned to the FAQ from Yamada/Umax . Apparently the Stein has got the Philips TV tuner (but verify yourself based on the picture shown in that FAQ).
I downloaded the Philips version of the firmware there, burned that to CD and inserted it into my recorder. Upon accessing that CD, I immediately got the option to upgrade the firmware.
And there I went: I flashed it, it rebooted and came up! All my channels were reset, so it started with a setup wizard which scanned my channels. And my IR remote still worked! It found back and reprogrammed my channels.
And what do you know: my image was way better than before, colors were just great now (even a little oversaturated ) and it had offered a new feature: editing your recordings. However, this function only worked after a reformat of the harddisk. In my case there wasn't anything I wanted to keep on it, but maybe you will have to make a backup to DVD first. After reformatting I was able to edit what I recorded. Other functions/menus remained pretty much the same.
But I am happy now, especially for the improved image quality ;-)
I 'm still hoping that one day some firmware will allow file access over the IEEE1394 interface, because it lacks USB.
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