We recently purchased a 40″ Samsung LCD TV (Model No LA40D550) to replace our Jurassic era 29″ Flat screen CRT TV here in India.
Although this model is not a SMART TV, one cool feature is that this TV supports DLNA! Samsung calls it AllShare.
Well, what that means is, from a Windows 7 PC, one can stream movies/music to the TV. Also from the TV, one can browse & view the media thats on a DLNA server (windows 7 has it built-in). Also, now a days, other devices support DLNA (like my Mobile Phone – HTC Desire HD). So basically, I can play the video that I have on my phone on the TV. And for all this to work you need a WiFi network (works on a wired network as well, but who needs wires :D).
Now, to enable wireless DLNA on this TV you need to purchase the optional Samsung Wireless Adapter – LinkStick (WIS09ABGN), which is a total rip-off at Rs.4500 just for the adapter. Its basically a WLAN adapter, which is Samsung branded. Other 3rd party adapters are available for Rs. 1000 or less but the TV does not recognize it.
So, now for the interesting bit on how to get a Non-Samsung wireless adapter to work on this TV!!… Here are the steps that I followed…(the easiest approach that I could find)
- Did some research on the Internet & found that the Samsung USB Wireless adapter (WLAN) was basically using a Ralink chipset within it – RT2870 to be precise. So, basically, the TV has the drivers required to control or interact with that chipset. Oh, the TV internally runs on Linux if you were wondering.
- Now, I had to find a USB WLAN adapter which had the same chip. Did some further search on the internet and found that the Edimax EW-7718Unuses the exact same chipset. Did a quick search on eBay India & found one from Rs. 949 including shipping. Two days, and I had that adapter to play with!
- You can find other WLAN adapters from other brands too, but make sure that the chipset within it is the same Ralink 2870 chipset & the VID/PID can be changed via the EEPROM (more on this a bit later). Also, please keep in mind that these devices come with different hardware revisions and each revision can have a different chipset. So, you need to be a bit careful here. It won’t burn your TV down if you plug an incompatible USB WLAN adapter, but you will have a useless WLAN adapter with you :)
- I tried pluging-in this Edimax EW-7718Un adapter to the TV directly and nothing happened. The TV did not recognize it. Then plugged it to my laptop.. and sure enough it was working fine. So, the unit was good.. but the TV was not recognizing it.
- Did some search again on the net & found this wonderful site called SamyGo.Tv. Not for the faint hearted. Basically they have custom firmware and super cool hacks for Samsung TVs! How cool is that!! This page in particular was very helpful.
- Every USB device has two identifiers VID & PID, which identifies the vendor and the product. These values are in the ROM and on many of the WLAN adapters, these values can be replaced or re-programmed (i.e, they are on EEPROM). So the TV is basically expecting the WLAN adapter to have Samsung specific vendor ID and product ID. Now we know what needs to be done to get the TV to recognize the Edimax Adapter!
- So, basically, the Edimax EW-7718Un had the following values
- VID = 7392
- PID = 7718
- For the TV to recognize the Edimax WLAN adapter, I had to replace the above values to the one present on the official Samsung WLAN adapter/linkstick:
- VID = 04E8
- PID = 2018
- According to this wiki page, the recommended approach to make this change is to run some commands in linux, which re-programs the ROM. I searched for Windows equivalent tools to do the same, but could not find anything simple/easy.
- Well, it had been a while since I had taken Linux for a spin and this was motivating enough to try the latest version of Ubuntu (release 11.1). I set it up in a Virtual environment & started following the instructions on the Wiki page. I quickly learn’t that the drivers did not compile on latest version of Ubuntu.. So had to download the older version of Ubuntu 10.4 and set it up. This time, the drivers compiled perfectly fine!
- I would consider myself a beginner on linux..and I had to spend some time to figure it out. So, to help anyone else in a similar state, here is what you need to know…
- The Linux OS by default does not have the necessary drivers for this Chipset (the Ralink RT2870).
- You download the latest linux drivers from the Ralink website.
- In the linux world, you need to compile the drivers. So, to do that you need to download the latest updates and development tools (like the compiler etc) which are not installed by default when you setup Ubuntu/linux. The instructions for this are covered in the Wiki at SamyGo.tv
- Once the drivers are compiled, you load the drivers using the insmod command (again covered in the Wiki)
- Once the drivers are loaded, you can then run the command to re-program the VID & PID values in the EEPROM.
root@localhost:~# iwpriv ra0 e2p 208=04E8 ra0 e2p:0208=0x04E8 root@localhost:~# iwpriv ra0 e2p 20A=2018 ra0 e2p:020A=0x2018
- Thats it!. Then I plugged the Edimax EW-7718Un adapter to the TV & Viola!!! the TV recognized it as a Samsung adapter without a hitch!
- Then it was just a matter of selecting my WiFi network, and entering the security key (WEP/WPA/WPA2) and within seconds, the TV was on our home network, DLNA enabled!
Hope this guide is helpful! This should mostly work on the B series, C series & the D series Samsung TVs.
Standard Disclaimer applies: I am not responsible to any damage to your TV or the wireless adapter! :)
All the best!