Howto: Software Upgrade Boosts Picture Quality
SD TV just got better
HowTo November 7th, 2010

Here in The Hypervisor Labs, we think you don’t need to buy an expensive new TV to get the benefit of HD TV. Rather, it seems its the software in your set top box (STB) that may be the most important factor affecting picture quality.

For example, we purchased a Fortec Star Passion+ STB from Maplin and found the picture quality of Standard Definition (SD) TV to be ever so slightly disappointing. However, we downloaded and installed the latest version of firmware from the manufacturer’s web site and noticed a dramatic improvement in picture quality, particularly of SD channels.

Unfortunately stern warnings that the warranty would be cancelled if the unit is upgraded by anyone other than an approved dealer mean the upgrade process is not for the faint hearted.

In fact we found the upgrade process surprisingly simple and could be done by pretty much anyone. The warranty warnings are even more puzzling because the manufacturer puts all the software you need to successfully upgrade the firmware on its web site. However, there was a surprising lack of instructions on how to perform the upgrade on the Fortec site.

So if you have a Passion+ and want to upgrade the firmware, here’s how its done:

  1. Get the latest version of “loader” and firmware from Fortec Star’s web site.
  2. Copy the software to the root directory of a USB memory stick, and put the USB memory stick in the front panel USB socket of the Passion+.
  3. Use the S/W Transfer option in Passion+ Setup Menu system to upgrade the loader software.
  4. Reboot the Passion+ with the USB stick still in the Passion+.
  5. You will see ‘File 1’ on the front panel display during the boot process.
  6. Use the front panel ‘right’ button to select ‘File 2’ (the new firmware).
  7. Use the front panel ‘OK’ button to load the new firmware.
  8. Reboot Passion+

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