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STB software is a set of programs that is intended to control STB operation. STB software includes Linux kernel and Root File System (Root FS) that contains software components provided by CPU manufacturer and STB MAG manufacturer.

Procedure of combining STB software components (STB software building) is performed at STB manufacturing plant. As result of building procedure the system image (hereinafter - image) is created which is applied for loading and running in STB.
STB manufacturer permits to users of STB (IPTV operators and individual users) to make changes of certain components of STB software and independently create image according to instructions of manufacturer. This process is called as STB software customization. It enables IPTV operators to configure STBs according to its own work environments and preferences, as well as, to integrate STB software with other developers' applications.

Open and closed platforms of STB

The сontents of this electronic documentation refers to open platform STB (except when specifically indicated  that closed platform is described).

Two numbers of the same STB model

STBs of MAG family are produced in two versions - with open and closed platform. Each STB model two number values may be assigned. They refer to open and closed platform, respectively. For example, the model STB MAG322/323 determines: MAG322 - open platform STB, MAG323 - closed platform STB.

Note. Certain STB models (MAG270, MAG349, etc.) are produced in open platform version only.

Difference between open and closed STB platforms

Users of open platform STBs (both individual users and IPTV / OTT operators) are given the opportunity, by ourselves, to make changes (customizations) of STB software and integrate it with applications of other developers.

Closed STBs are intended for operator solutions used CAS / DRM system that is content protection mesure. The CAS / DRM system is a hardware-software complex that is integrated into the operator's IPTV network and, in particular, into a subscriber receiver (STB). To protect media content the encryption of transmiting audio-video streams are used wich allows to play back media content only on registered models of media players (STB) of required IPTV operator. In addition, the content protection system restricts various actions with copyrighted audio-video content (copying, modification, repeated playback, distribution etc.). There are various types of content protection systems that differs in hardware/software implementation, the level of content protection, the type of content being processed, and so on. Specific CAS / DRM system to be used in IPTV project is selected by IPTV operator. STBs that are used on the operator's network must be pre-integrated with the operator's chosen CAS / DRM system.

List of content protection systems supported by specific MAG STB model is indicated in the STB specification: for example, for MAG323 the Verimatrix content protection system is specified (see in MAG323 column: Software / DRM option).

STB software for closed platform is produced at the manufacturing plant by individual agreement with every concerned operator. STB software with closed platform prohibits modifying STB software by users, without participation of IPTV operator, whose signature (operator key) is installed in STB.

Open and closed STBs of the same model are hardware identically and can support the same functionality. However, the functionality of closed STB can be restricted at the request of IPTV operator, which includes STB.

Variants of STB software images for open and closed platforms

To meet various requirements of users, there are several options for open STB software image (public, factory, custom, operator). STB software image is created on basis of software components that are comprised in STB software release and may include customized operator settings.

In closed STBs, targeted on the focus on operator solutions, the operator image is used that signed by operator's digital signature (operator key).

STB software versions

STB software version parameters

STB software version (also called as Image version) consists of the following parameters:

  • Model - model number of STB, for which the version is intended;
  • Version - number that is assigned by developer during image making. For images from the STB manufacturer three-digit number is used;
  • Date - date of image creation that is assigned automatically during image making;
  • Description - detailed description of the software version. It can be assigned by developer during image making. The image creator (developer) can use this parameter to specify the image type, operator name, STB software features, and so on. For example, description 0.2.18-r19-pub-254 means: version 218, release 19, public image, STB model - MAG-254.

Viewing of software version in STB

STB software version can be obtained by user:

  • From Bootloader menu - for MAG250/254/270: via Image info item (see Version, Date, Description items)

Image Documentation

  • From System Recovery Utility menu - for MAG256 and MAG322/324/349/351: from Device information (see Image version number, Image date, Image description items):

Image Documentation

  • From Embedded portal: Settings / System settings / Device info (see Image version, Image description, Image date items):

Image Documentation

Viewing of software version in imageupdate file

Description of software image included in the imageupdate file can be viewed (before installing it in the STB). To get this Description, on the PC to open the imageupdate file in text view mode (by text editor app). Software version information (imageupdate content) is located at the top of the window. For example:

Image Documentation

STB software release

Software release location

STB software release is a set of software components that is provided by manufacturer of STB. STB software releases for all STB models are issued in public access by next URL address:

Релиз

http://soft.infomir.com/mag<model>/release/<version>

where:

 <model>  - number value of basic STB model (for example, 254, 256, 322, etc.);
<version> - release version.

Example of location (URL) of STB MAG322 release: http://soft.infomir.com/mag322/release/2.20.07r2

Releases are divided according to the basic STB models (MAG254, MAG256, MAG322, MAG324, MAG349, MAG351,...). Release of each basic STB model is applied to entire corresponding STB model range: for example, MAG254 release is applied also for MAG254w1, MAG254w2 models.

Release options

Each Release is characterized by:

  • STB model for which the version is intended;
  • Version of release;
  • Date of issue.

Example of STB MAG254 Release is given below: version 0.2.18-r19, date - 2017-11-15.

Image Documentation

Release contents

Release contains the following update files:

  • imageupdate - public image created by manufacturer based on software components included in Release;
  • Bootstrap - is startup file that is used to load image into RAM. Used for updating from bootloader to STB models MAG250/254/270. It is also used for system recovery of STB models MAG-256/322/324/349/351 and higher.

Release also contains software components that are accessible to users for creating next variants of STB software image: public image, custom image, operator image. Software images are made according to the Instructions for building image).

STB software provided by manufacturer - public and factory images

STB software is issued and provided by manufacturer in public access. The following two basic variants of STB software are applied:

  • Factory image is created by factory and installed in STB at factory in manufacturing process. Factory image is distributed for STB updating - last version of Factory image (imageupdate file) is provided to users from manufacturer's web-server. Factory image contains mechanism that prevents updating to other (non-factory) images. This mechanism allows to use only proven (factory made) STB software. In factory image, access to STB root file system on SSH protocol is forbidden.
  • Public image is created by manufacturer and is issued in Release of every STB model. At the same time, manufacturer provides with Release the necessary software components, on base which users can create your own publick image modification (in order to customize image) according to instructions of manufacturer.
    Public versions of the software are signed with the public key (ID_KEY = STB_PUBLIC), included in Operator Utilities to make STB SW image.

    Public image can be updated in STB manually by user at STB booting stage (from Bootloader menu - for STB MAG-250/254/270 or System Recovery Utility menu for STB MAG-256 and MAG-322/324/349/351).
    As a rule,
    Public image
    is intended for debugging, operative changes of internal settings, monitoring and other auxiliary purposes. Public image is open for changing running STB software. To access STB root file system SSH protocol is used.

Update to Factory image

Description of software update for various STB models is given in the following sections:

Update to Factory image is performed from STB  Embedded portal -  automatically or manually (by user commands).
If STB runs the Factory image, for updating only Factory image versions are accepted. Any different image types (public, custom) are rejected when trying to upgrade from Embedded portal.

Autoupdate

Automatic updating to the factory image is carried out over network (HTTP protocol), from URL specified in STB software. Automatic update settings can be accessed by user from STB Embedded portal or performed by Middleware server administrator (if STB connected to external portal).

  • Autoupdating settings in Embedded portal on example of STB MAG254 is described in section Software autoupdate
  • Configuring the auto-update URL in the STB software and update procedure steps are described in developer section Autoupdate module.

Manual update

Manual updating to factory image is performed from embedded portal: from manufacturer's web-server (by HTTP) or locally with USB-drive. For example, description for MAG322/324/349/351:

Factory image versions are issued at web-server of manufacturer by address:

Релиз

http://update.infomir.com/mag/<model>/imageupdate

where <model> is the number value of the basic STB model (for example 250, 254, 256, 322, etc.).

For example, for STB MAG322 the last factory image version address : http://update.infomir.com/mag/322/imageupdate

As a rule, the update server contents only one last stable version of software for each basic STB model. But in some cases update server includes a few software versions of the same STB model to select by user (they are accessible from embedded portal).

Update to Public image

Update to Public image is performed manually only on booting stage of STB (from Bootloader menu - for STB MAG-250/254/270 or System Recovery Utility menu for STB MAG-256 and MAG-322/324/349/351). This way user can update STB to required version of Public image or make transition from any type of image (factory, custom) to Public image.

For MAG-250/254/270: Update with USB-drive (see subsection Update from Bootloader menu)
For MAG-256: Update with USB-drive (see subsection Update from System Recovery Utility menu with USB-drive)
For MAG-322/324/349/351: Update from System Recovery Utility by USB

Public image versions produced by  manufacturer are issued in STB Releases .

Images created by Operators

As described in 'STB software provided by manufacturer' section, operators can create your own publick image modification (PublicImage). In addition, there are two special kinds of SW image intended to be used in operator's IPTV-networks: Custom Image and Operator Image.

Every operator creates image on his own and processes it with your own secure cryptographic key (for this purpose GPG program and digital signature algorithm (DSA) is used - see Cryptographic signature of image). When attempting to update the STB software the digital signature is checked. This ensures that only the software created by particular operator is used in STB.

The image versions which is created by operator  for STB updating are issued at web-server of operator.

Unlocking STB  with installed operator key

Unlock

If certain IPTV operator key is set in STB, then all the issues of "unlocking" (reprogramming, switching to other firmware - factory or other operators), user needs to contact the Operator directly. Neither STB Manufacturer's Technical Support Services nor Service Center will be able to unlock the STB if the operator key is set in STB.

Update to Custom image

Update STB to Custom image is performed from Portal - external or embedded. Under the upgrade is meant the transition to another version of Сustom image of the same Operator.
Note. The description of the first, two-stage, CustomImage installation of certain Operator is described in the CustomImage making instruction.

The Custom Image contains the installed operator (custom) key, which is checked when trying to update the image. Thus, if STB is running Custom image, only the same operator Custom Image versions (containing the same custom key) are allowed to update STB from Portal. Image versions of other type
(Factory, Public or Custom with different custom key) are rejected when trying to update.

Update to Custom image from the Embedded Portal is similar to the one described for Update to Factory image - in automatic or manual mode. However, as the update address (manual or automatic) is specified URL on the Operator's Web server.
Note. The addresses for manual and / or automatic updates are specified during image making - see STB software customization.

Example of how to configure update from External portal

1. Manual Update configuring from the MW Ministra Portal (update from URL):

  Configuring Example

Image Documentation

Image Documentation

Image Documentation

Image Documentation

Image Documentation

2. Configuring STB update in MW Ministra administration panel:

Cryptographic signature of image

In order to prevent running of unauthorized software in STB, every STB software image is signed with a digital signature, using the GnuPG (GPG) program. DSA algorithm is implemented by GPG program. The RSA algorithm is applied to provide data encryption and integrity of image checking as well.

GPG program generates сryptographic key that consists of secret part (private key or secret key) and open part (public key). When the key create, it is assigned unique ID (ID_KEY) - the name of key to be stored in the GPG. Private key is a property of image creator (i.e. Operator). It is kept secret and it is used for image signing during building.
Using public key installed in the STB, the authenticity of image being loaded in STB is checked. When the image is loaded in the STB, the presence and correctness of its signature (matching public and private keys is checked). In case of keys mismatch, the "Wrong Signature" error is displayed, and the image is not loaded in the STB.

To create Operator's images (CustomImage, OperatorImage), the operators uses their own keys. If used by the operator OperatorImage, the public part of the operator key must be signed by the Manufacturer key before installation in the STB. Creating the image by operators and installing the operator key in STB are performed according to the instructions of the manufacturer of STB.

Public images (PublicImage) are signed with the public key of the Manufacturer's default operator key (ID_KEY = STB_PUBLIC). The public key of the default operator key is installed in the STB at the factory. The default operator key is included in the image making utilities (stb_secbin.key file) and is used in the build procedure of PublicImage and CustomImage.

Instructions for building image

Public image making

Images making by Operators

Additional

STB software customization

STB software customizing means setting (adaptation) STB user interface and STB operation parameters at the customer (operator) request, as well as integrating necessary applications, including support for external media portal.

To customize certain model of STB, each IPTV operator make changes to STB image according to STB manufacturer instructions. Basis of STB image components to be changed is provided with STB software release. Customization process consists necessary changes that are made to the root file system, before image is built.

Customization of image as rule is used to create custom and operator image. For purpose of testing and debugging customization can be performed for public image also.
Customization can deal with the following points:

Description of some issues related to customization is given in the sections:

Need Help

Dave is an expert on the MAG STB and the author of this article.

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