Request for help with MxL608 tuner driver (Tzumi MagicTV etc)

James Dallas jim.dallas at gmail.com
Tue May 29 15:40:58 UTC 2018


Hi everyone,

There has been a considerable discussion in the past couple of days about a
device called the Tzumi MagicTV. This is an Atheros-chipset OpenWRT device
connected to an RTL2832P, which seems to be used as a bridge/DAC for a
MaxLinear MxL608 tuner and a Panasonic ATSC demodulator.

The device is sold at Wal-Mart stores for $13, and is intended to allow the
user to view OTA broadcasts using a WiFi connection to the device, which
functions as an access point by default. There also seems to be an Eardatek
Tevemo device which is similar.

>From tear-down inspection as well as poking around the file system, some
uses have concluded that the device could be used as a software defined
radio with some software modifications (for example replacing the default
ATSC server software with rtl_tcp). However, librtlsdr does not currently
support the MxL608 tuner, and right now rtl_tcp (when placed on the openWRT
device) defaults to direct sampling mode.

There is a general sense in these discussion groups that MaxLinear's source
code could be ported to work with librtlsdr, but someone would have to make
that happen.

I am sending this message to the group, to reach out with a humble
request/suggest/beg that someone(s) please help us out by doing the
following:

1. Sanity-check the claims being made; if what is being discussed is not
workable, it would be of benefit for us to be told so.

2. Start work on forking librtlsdr and porting the MxL608 driver over (if
possible/practical);

3. Coordinate with the broader community to beta-test and refine // help
spread the knowledge so that the community can maintain/improve the fork
and perhaps submit a pull-request in the future.

Please let me know if I can help you help us by procuring/shipping a couple
of hardware units for development purposes.

I understand that asking people to do volunteer work can be
presumptuous/annoying. All I can say in my defense is that there are
already at least a few dozen people who would be really happy and
appreciative if this came to fruition, and "one does not get what one does
not ask for."

Moreover, adding MxL608 support to librtlsdr might help broaden the hobby
to include a whole bunch of other devices; MaxLinear tuners seem to be used
a lot with set-top gear.

Thank you very much,

James "Gwen" Dallas, AD5NL
Reddit user: texasyojimbo
Phone: 1-713-254-4175


P.S. here are the existing discussion threads for reference:

1. RTL-SDR.com blog:
https://www.rtl-sdr.com/tzumi-magictv-wifi-tv-tuner-device-contains-an-rtl-sdr-openwrt-board-and-battery-for-only-13/

2. Reddit RTLSDR group:
https://www.reddit.com/r/RTLSDR/comments/8mlbps/tzumi_magictv_is_an_openwrt_board_rtlsdr/

P.P.S here is a link to the existing MxL608 driver source code:
https://github.com/avlogic/AVL6862/tree/master/2.10.7/tuner/MxL608
and data sheet: https://datasheet.lcsc.com/szlcsc/MXL608-AG-T_C141783.pdf
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