iriver firmware update -to rockbox or not to rockbox?
July 27, 2006 7:36 AM   Subscribe

I have an iriver Hp-140. I've had it for nearly two years and I haven't updated the firmware. I know I should do this, but should I update using iriver's firmware or rockbox?

I've read other questions here on iriver, but none of them seem to address firmware specifically. I'd like to read specific reasons why people went for rockbox, or decided that iriver's firmware is better.
posted by ob to Technology (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: First one, then the other (in fact, I believe Rockbox requires a fairly recent firmware. I think 1.66 might be the newest one). Even if you don't like using Rockbox for its UI and whatnot, it's got a better bootloader. And, after installing Rockbox, you can boot to the regular firmware by simply holding the 'record' button when you power on.
posted by box at 7:49 AM on July 27, 2006

Best answer: You can have both installed at the same time and dual boot. I did that for a while and now I only use rockbox.

Rockbox is better because you can customize more aspects and because you can play lossless files like flac. There is also an active community making it better little by little. In contrast iRiver very very rarely upgrades its firmware.

The iRiver firmware, limited though it is, is rock solid.

It's not a big deal to try rockbox for a while and if you don't like it, (you have to get used to using different buttons for different things and it's somewhat buggier) change back to iRiver.

Go for it.
posted by sic at 7:50 AM on July 27, 2006

Response by poster: Ahah! Thanks for the answers folks, I was reading through forums and the like, but it's much better to read answers here! I've upgraded the iriver firmware and I'll use rockbox too, I didn't quite realise that they weren't mutually exclusive.
posted by ob at 8:02 AM on July 27, 2006

i switched to rockbox and its better. its boots quicker and has all kinds of little customizable features--on the fly playlists, play on startup, a better shuffle, different font sizes, etc etc.
posted by alkupe at 8:18 AM on July 27, 2006

To tell you something you probably already know, the Rockbox forums are quite good, and the Misticriver forums are great for all things iRiver-related.

(Just gossip: I'm soon to install a 60-gig hard drive in my H-140, following the example of several Misticriver users.)
posted by box at 8:19 AM on July 27, 2006

Using Rockbox invalidates the warranty. I recently had to return an H340 under warranty after 14 months, and the replacement looks like it's going back too. Don't know how easy it would have been to disguise if I had used Rockbox.
posted by bifter at 8:42 AM on July 27, 2006

I listen to a lot of lengthy podcasts, and Rockbox is essential for the bookmark feature. I'm shocked more MP3 players don't support this.
posted by surferboy at 9:40 AM on July 27, 2006

Response by poster: I loaded up Rockbox and it works fine except that it says that none of my files have codecs (it goes through every file in a directory telling me that). The files work fine with iriver's firmware. I guess I'd better take it to the rockbox forums...
posted by ob at 9:54 AM on July 27, 2006

Forgive me if I'm asking an obvious question, but you extracted the .rockbox directory to the root of your iRiver's hard drive, right? The rockbox.iriver (I hope I'm remembering the name correctly) file requires the contents of the .rockbox folder in order to work properly.
posted by box at 10:02 AM on July 27, 2006

I have used Rockbox for years, first on Archos and now on iPod and iRiver. I've never had the problem you describe with missing codecs... unless you have DRM'd WMA files (such as Napster/Rhapsody/PlaysForSure downloads), in which case the Rockbox firmware will be unable to decode these files.

What kind of files are you trying to play?

Some of the best things you can do with the Rockbox'd iRiver:
Oggs and FLACs
Soduku, Tetris, Chess, Doom, Gameboy
Gapless and crossfade tracking mixing
Bookmarking for all tracks (as noted above)
Customised, personalised Playing Now ("WPS") screens
On-device playlist management
Pitch shifting
posted by meehawl at 10:04 AM on July 27, 2006

Response by poster: Yeah, I got rockbox up and running except that it won't play any files. Some of the files may have been from Napster etc. but most of them I've ripped myself using Windows Media Player... I'm playing mp3's although some are WMA files. I'm off out now so I won't respond for a few hours, so it's not like I don't appreciate the responses. Has anyone else had this problem, btw?
posted by ob at 10:17 AM on July 27, 2006

Rockbox doesn't play .wma, DRM or otherwise. Somebody's working on it, though.
posted by box at 10:34 AM on July 27, 2006

Best answer: I think Rockbox is immature and not quite ready for primetime, but I'm waiting patiently.

If you use the official Korean firmware (the interface is in English, fear not), you can unlock some features they don't allow with the US firmware, by the way. This is true at least for the H3** generation, and I believe it's also true for the H1** players. Check Misticriver to be sure.

They lie and say players bought in the US can only use the US firmware. Not true.

Using the Korean firmware will, however, kill DRM (digital rights management) on the player, I think permanently, which, to me, is a positive thing rather than negative, but if you have DRM-locked music files, you should be aware of this.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:45 PM on July 27, 2006

Response by poster: Once again thanks for all the answers. I tried getting Rockbox to work but it wouldn't play any mp3's at all (not just DRM), so I got sick of it and deleted it. When I can be bothered (or when it's finally done) I'll try again. In the meantime stavros I might just take up your idea.
posted by ob at 8:19 AM on July 28, 2006

Using Rockbox invalidates the warranty. I recently had to return an H340 under warranty after 14 months, and the replacement looks like it's going back too. Don't know how easy it would have been to disguise if I had used Rockbox.
posted by bifter at 8:42 AM PST on July 27 [+fave] [!]

Very easy. Just install the iRiver firmware and delete the Rockbox folders.
posted by sic at 5:14 AM on August 4, 2006

Assuming it powers up. :-)
posted by bifter at 9:38 AM on August 4, 2006

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