TVIP S-Box v.410 LibreELEC installation

Hello all. A few days ago I was gifted a TV box to do whatever with it. It was being thrown out because it didn’t work anymore the way it was supposed to when bought.

The TV box is sold by a Russian company TVIP. This model has been discontinued some time ago (dunno when exactly) and all support is dropped, but it uses an Amlogic S805 CPU which was revealed in 2014, so you can say this device was being sold for at least a few years after.

This is my second device that I bring back to life. The first one was the MXQ S805 with pretty much the same hardware. Until I got it, I didn’t know anything about these things, but they seemed like small computers and the one I got had Android installed on it. Needless to say it was shit with Android – it lagged so much and the user wanted to throw it out also because he didn’t have any need for it anymore. Installing LibreELEC on it wasn’t much of a hassle and worked right away.
Before I got the MXQ, I was using LibreELEC on RPi1. It wasn’t great experience – RPi1 isn’t capable of running the system very well, but it worked. I am so happy with the MXQ device now – it’s fast and works flawlessly.

Getting back to TVIP… These devices were sold with two different firmwares from the manufacturer – some Linux-qt and Android variants, both of which suck. Actually the Android version is still usable, it can launch Kodi (v15 I think?) and the device doesn’t lag too much in general. The Linux-qt variant is pretty much broken and the device becomes useless because it doesn’t have any other functionality other than watching online TV. Might be because the IPTV links configured in the device are dead. But I don’t know for sure, would be nice if anyone could explain more :)

But these CPUs are pretty capable still, they were used in mini computers like Odroid C1. They are considered very old now and it’s hard to find general-purpose OSs built for this. It might be possible to turn it into a home-server by installing Armbian.

I didn’t want a home-server, so I chose to turn it into a usable tv-box and install LibreELEC on it. There also exists a fork of that called AlexELEC (latest version at this time is 3.2.9 and only the V31 worked). I had tried AlexELEC too, it looks like it’ll have more versions in the future, but I ultimately stuck with LibreELEC since it has a much larger community and it’s a very well known OS.

Installing and making it work for this particular device was a little more tedious than I expected. Below are the steps that I took to have a properly working system.

Firstly, I opened up the case to see what’s inside and there was a button on the board. Keeping it pressed while plugging in power would get you to a recovery window which is limited in itself. To install anything more you need to replace that with a custom recovery like TWRP (but it needs to be compiled for this CPU). To get custom recovery booted and installed you need to root the device first. Now it’s probably not necessary to install Android first on this device, but I did that to feed my curiosity to see how it looks and works.

Both Linux-qt and Android images are still available from their wiki page, so following the URL format there we get these:
Linux-qt: http://update.tvip.ru/stb/s410/linux-qt/release/tvip_firmware.ota.zip
Android: http://update.tvip.ru/stb/s410/android/release/tvip_firmware.ota.zip

Installing their update is simple: place the firmware zip file on an SD card, boot into recovery and do the update. More here.

After fiddling around with the system, I tried various rooting apps. None of which worked, might be that the android system was somehow modified or patched or something. After some time searching I found a root update file and it worked great. It must be installed like any update. The root update file can be downloaded here.

Ok, now the device is rooted. Download this custom recovery file and place it on the root of your SD card. Upon inserting the power it should boot into TWRP recovery, from there install it on the device to store it permanently.

Now it’s time to install the OS. Grab this image: http://kszaq.libreelec.tv/s805/8.2.3.1/LibreELEC-S805.arm-8.2-8.2.3.1-m201d.img.gz
Extract that to get an img file and using win32diskimager write it to your SD card. Insert the SD card into your tv-box and when turned on it should boot into LibreELEC.

When it’s done booting, you have the option to install it to your device or leave it like this to boot from your card. I prefer to boot from internal memory, so connect to it via SSH (using putty or some other client), use root:libreelec login (for AlexELEC it’s something else) and issue the command installtointernal.

And that should be it. For MXQ it was, but for TVIP the remote didn’t work at all. I had to create a new mapping file. Following instructions here it was very easy. To save you the trouble, you can try and use my file first.
Few things I did differently was that I didn’t need to kill lircd, only kodi, but it doesn’t hurt to do it anyway.

systemctl stop eventlircd
systemctl stop lircd
systemctl stop kodi

Also if you want to test something with ir-keytable, the command is like this:
ir-keytable -d /dev/input/event0 -t
And the way I got all the remote codes was that I ran the command watch -n 5 dmesg -c and pressed one button at a time, writing down its code into the file.
If you want to test the file right away without rebooting, this command can be used: remotecfg /storage/.config/remote.conf

Also, a remote for this tv-box has a few buttons to control your TV. They don’t work out of the box and must be programmed. How to do that you can read in the instruction manual here on the last page.

That’s it. I hope everything worked for you as easily as it did for me.

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Robertas
Robertas
2021-06-03 22:40

Hi!

Truly a nice article. Sometimes i also love to resurrect old hardware and give it a new fresh live or test it’s egdes or simply out of curiosity so such things are similar to me and i fully understand you :) Anyway, back to business. These days i got in my hands exactly the same TVIP s-box v410. The box is linux based (didn’t try android) but there is a one small problem… It has a modified (previous tv provider) recovery/bootloader and everytime i connect ethernet it overwrites it’s own settings with security code which is annoying. Ofc i could simply check router’s log and filter website or server it connects to but decided play around with the box and try to get it stock recovery/bootloader. Basically i have to go all the way you did and do the same but suddenly got stuck with TWRP installation. Actually i can’t even get there as box simply won’t boot to it from SD card. I also tried stock recovery from official website to no avail. You didn’t mention which partition storage has to be formated to but typically it’s FAT32. Anyways there are 2 options: i could be missing something OR provider modified something what prevents me to boot from SD card. Thought you could help me a little in this situation. I did factory reset, then root, then flashed official linux fw and then i’m trying to boot TWRP from SD card (tried usb also but managed to flash only FW from it). Any thoughts? Maybe root doesn’t work and i have to search for other?

Last edited 3 months ago by Robertas
Robertas
Robertas
2021-06-04 12:40

Well… Actually nothing happens. The box just boots normally into OS. And none, would it be custom or stock recovery loads from the card. The only thing it responds to is additional auto_upgrade file (dunno what’s in there, looks like it’s a simple blank file and nothing more) which comes with stock recovery archive but it boots me to recovery as i would press DEL on remote upon powering box on. So i guess something is modified or like you said i need to try other images maybe. Perhaps i could try flashing through adb but have to search for tutorial. Gonna do deeper research on s805 today

Robertas
Robertas
2021-06-04 13:21

Deal. Gonna do few pics later today. And one more silly question… I don’t have to press anything while powering like with MXQ right? It should pick up by itself?

Robertas
Robertas
2021-06-04 20:40

https://imgur.com/oXpJQAZ

There it is. Still trying different recoveries but nothing works. It simply goes to OS every time :/

Robertas
Robertas
2021-06-04 22:47

Eureka! Nu pagaliau! I managed to make it work but it was a tricky one actually. I couldn’t do it from stock linux FW but at some point i flashed some other which worked with my box. From there i did factory reset, root again and then TWRP but… TWRP didn’t boot upon powering. So what i did i kept pressing DEL and suddenly it booted into TWRP! Pure luck it seems. Trial and fail technology :D From there i flashed it to internal memory and decided to check stock fw. All was ok until i plugged in ethernet and in a minute i got a reboot and everyting reverted to initial state. Provider logo, it’s fw, security code and etc. Even TWRP was overwritten back to stock. Hm.. dunno maybe i stored it in the wrong place… Anyway i had to do everything from the beginning and now wondering what and how should i do to delete and bypass these settings. Can i delete all the crap from internal memory for good? Or upon installing librelec fw for example this problem will go away? (doubt about it)

Robertas
Robertas
2021-06-06 13:22

Sure.

I have a feeling that box is binned to default update server with MAC address. Maybe TVIP has somekind of a feature to redirect upon request or smth because i really doubt that i didn’t wiped out all the stuff. I even see billing and account numbers on main screen. Have no other explanation. I wiped out everything i could in TWRP but it’s still coming back. Guess there is no other way to make it work on stock rom without blocking requests on the router or changing MAC address. Anyway gonna flash librelec to test and maybe stock android later out of curiosity to check provider settings. Just one question where should i place it? I wanted to flash it last time through TWRP but got 2 places for storage: recovery and boot. None of them looked appropriate to me so i decided to give it a go for stock rom.

Robertas
Robertas
2021-06-07 20:42

Yeah, i understand. Anyway, finally managed to make it boot with librelec but run into another problem straight away. Could be wrong image. I will also try another sd card.

There is the error:
https://imgur.com/yZeZGUd