Rooting the Roku HD

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Rooting the Roku HD

Postby Tobia » Sun Nov 14, 2010 8:18 am


I'm looking for an embedded linux platform on which to build a hobby project.

Is it currently possible to root the Roku HD, as in replacing the software stack with a custom linux distro?
Is this encouraged, tolerated, disliked, or actively opposed by the Roku company?

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Re: Rooting the Roku HD

Postby jroark » Sun Nov 14, 2010 11:37 am

It is not currently possible. The Roku Streaming Player is pretty well locked down.

There are a couple of threads on this forum about hacking the software and hardware so I believe that it is at least tolerated.

See here & here for some detailed attempts to gain root.
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Re: Rooting the Roku HD

Postby dupondt » Sun Nov 14, 2010 12:36 pm

Tobia wrote:I'm looking for an embedded linux platform on which to build a hobby project.

Unless your project is related to video you might want to have a look at Seagate's Freeagent Dockstar which is much cheaper than Roku's box. See here for detailed instructions on how to install Linux on it.

Another alternative might be a SheevaPlug or GuruPlug, both come with Linux (Ubuntu or Debian).

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Re: Rooting the Roku HD

Postby Arwen » Sun Nov 14, 2010 8:35 pm

Tobia wrote:Hello

I'm looking for an embedded linux platform on which to build a hobby project.


As mentioned above, their are better choices out their. The Roku streaming
media players, (aka Roku HD, etc...), use a MIPS processor so you would likely
need a cross compiler and cross development tool chain. Since these Roku's
have not been rooted before, there is no one to help.

If you want something with Hi-Def video, (otherwise why choose a Roku HD?),
my suggestion would be either of the following, with the preference on the
second one as it has a serial port and 2 Ethernet ports.

fit-PC2 Value

fit-PC2i Value

They both have Intel Atom processors, (meaning any Linux distro will likely
work), and have lots of support. Since you mention embedded, I listed the
ones without disks, so you just use a mini-SD card for booting.

Both are about $300 without shipping, (much higher than the Roku HD or
some of the other options). But, they are not slugs, (meaning slow), and
can take laptop SATA drives, (flash or spinning disk), and act as full blown
P.C.s if the need ever arises.

I own an earlier model, fit-PC1, and use it as my home server. It works
great even though it's half the speed of the newer models. It supplies the
DHCP for my Roku XR, (which is the ONLY DHCP device I have out of
dozens), and also acts as my media server for my Roku's local media,
(mostly MP3s in my case).
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