How-To: Combine Multiple Country Apps In A Single ES-Series Samsung Smart Hub
As shown in an earlier article, it is pretty easy to change country app stores on a Samsung TV in order to access foreign apps. But this limits you only to one country at a time. How about bundling widgets from multiple countries altogether on your Smart Hub? BBC & 4oD etc, mixed with RTÉ from IE, SBS from AU or Hulu from the US? You betcha…
Opps: It seems that Samsung’s latest firmware is causing some issues with this process. It still works however, but if you updated to the latest Samsung firmware, you may have to reset your Smart Hub (either via tools or the blue button) and re-install the latest version of the SamyGo widget. Make sure that you run Skype before trying to connect otherwise you may have issues. NOTE: Resetting the Samsung Smart Hub will a) delete everything from your hub, including any widgets you previously moved across to the user folder (a good reason to back them up on your PC), and b) return you to the original app store.
First of all, lets get through the red box stuff. Combining widgets from different stores onto a single Smart Hub is considerably more difficult than just changing country app stores. It includes installing a file on your television which involves a hack of sorts, allowing you to telnet or FTP into your television, copy files off the TV onto your computer and other files back on. Because of this, care should be taken as it is possible to accidentally wipe files off your television or potentially even brick it. Therefore Eye on-Demand considers this a job for “experts” and under no circumstances do we accept responsibility for any damage that may occur to your equipment.
Now that the scary bit has been mentioned, this hack can have the potential to create a truly universal and international Smart Hub with apps from multiple countries all working together on the one platform. As you can see from the example image below, I have combined various apps from different countries onto a single screen. The country store chosen here was the UK’s, but it could be any of your choice. All the apps identified with the USER banner, have been added from other country stores. As long as I use a Smart DNS, I can access these apps from the different countries. (click on image to enlarge)
What can this hack do?
- You can install widgets from multiple countries onto a single Smart Hub. i.e. combine UK widgets with selected ones from Australia, USA, New Zealand, Spain, Germany etc and access them at will.
- You can back up your widgets on to your computer or network.
What are the advantages?
- Normally when you change to a different countries app store, all previous widgets would be deleted from the previous app store. However, now you will be able to retain all the widgets that you wish to keep.
- When Samsung has problems with their Smart Hub, widgets often disappear. This will not happen to any widget you manually save onto your Smart Hub.
What are the disadvantages?
- Outside of the country app store you are currently in, all widgets from other stores will need to be updated manually – i.e. repeating the process of this guide to save and move any new versions across.
- Although this process has worked for me without issue on many occasions, there is always an element of risk involved.
- Rooting your Samsung TV may or may not invalidate your Samsung TV’s warranty. This is a risk you must choose to take alone.
- As long as the SamyGo widget is installed on your television, this may disable your TV’s camera. To return back to normal, uninstall the SamyGo widget when finished. (This won’t delete any widgets you have moved across)
What do you need?
- This works on an E-series Samsung Smart Television. As far as I know, it will not work on other models. Please don’t try this on a C, D or F series television. Head here for a guide on the F-Series Samsung TVs
- A small USB memory stick to transfer files across to your television.
- A computer within the same network that you can Telnet or FTP from.
- A Smart DNS service that works with the widgets you wish to use (see tip below)
As each countries widgets often require a VPN or Smart DNS service to function correctly outside of their region, a normal VPN will generally be impractical as you will have to switch servers every time you use a widget from a different country. Therefore a smart DNS is a far better option. However, not every catch-up or on-demand service works with Smart DNS through the Samsung Smart Hub. There is no guaranty that the service you wish to use will work with your Smart DNS provider. With that in mind, any Samsung Smart Hub app reviewed by Eye on-Demand has been tested through Overplay’s Smart DNS service. For other on-demand services, please contact your Smart DNS service company and ask them to include this service for the Samsung Smart Hub.
The Samsung Smart TV is geographically unblocked by the following Smart DNS companies
Step 1: Preparing the USB memory stick.
a) Make sure you format the USB stick to FAT (This will erase any data currently on the USB stick)
b) Download the following file from this location.
c) Unzip to the root directory of your USB stick.
Step 2: Install the Skype widget.
a) Enter the Samsung Smart Hub.
b) If the Skype widget is not installed, do so from the app store. (This may sound weird, but you need the Skype widget, although you don’t need any camera)
c) Power off the TV
STEP 3: Install the hack.
a) Attach the USB stick to the Samsung television.
b) Power on the TV.
c) Enter the Smart Hub (It may take a little longer than usual)
If the Smart Hub asks to update at this point, CANCEL out of this. Accepting the update will delete the SamyGO widget.
d) Navigate the Smart Hub until you find the Install SamyGO-E widget and select it.
If the Smart Hub generates a network error warning at this point, you can ignore it.
e) When you see the message on the screen as below, follow the instructions by pressing ENTER and wait.
f) When the process is complete, you will see the following message.
g) Exit the widget using the EXIT or RETURN keys.
h) Shut down the television.
i) Remove the USB memory stick.
j) Restart the television.
STEP 4: Select the widgets from the alternative country app stores.
Now is a good time to decide what default store you wish to use, and which widgets from other stores you may want to move across. Generally speaking, choose the default country by which widgets you use the most, as these will be automatically updated. I tend to default at the UK store, as this contains the largest collection of usable apps from any region, but this choice is entirely yours.
a) Change the app store to the country you wish to accumulate additional apps. For instructions on how to do this, follow the steps here.
Don’t worry if your existing widgets all disappear at this point, as you will be returning to your default store at the end anyway. However, there is no reason why later you can’t make backups of the widgets from the default store as well.
b) When you are in the country store you wish to acquire further widgets, install the ones you want from the app store.
STEP 5: Telnet or FTP into your television.
Once you have all the widgets you want from the additional store installed, you will need to copy them across to a computer on your network. It is possible with some methods to simply copy them directly to the correct folder on your television, but I prefer this method as it also creates a backup of your favourite widgets.
There are a lot of different ways to connect to your television within your network, but I find using a good FTP application easy enough. For the purpose of this guide, I’ll be using Cyberduck on a Mac, but other FTP clients may work just as well or better.
a) Ensure your TV is on and note down its IP address. This can be found under the Samsung TV’s Menu => Network Status.
b) Open Cyberduck on a computer within your network and enter the television’s IP address into the top field and press Return to connect.
If you can’t connect to the television at this point, there could be a number of reasons. 1st, make sure your computer is within the same network, 2nd, ensure the SamyGO widget was installed correctly.
c) Navigate to /mtd_rwcommon/common/wgtmgr/info2.xml on your television using Cyberduck and examine this file (I find Quick-Look generally does the job). Here you will find a list of widgets that are on your television.
d) Look through the list and identify the ID numbers for the widgets you wish to retain. Generally speaking they are represented by a long number such as Zattoo which has the ID: 111299001432.
e) Now, navigate to /mtd_rwcommon/widgets/normal on your television using Cyberduck and find the widgets you want by their ID numbers and download them to a folder on your computer (Right-click on folder in Cyberduck and select Download To…). Note: Download the entire folder which holds the widget ID as name, not selected contents within.
You now have a backup copy on your computer. If for some reason you accidentally delete these widgets on your television, or they disappear due to something Samsung has done, it is possible to easily reinstall back onto your television. All widgets manually copied across sit in the USER folder and hold a different status. These USER widgets will not be deleted if you decide to change app stores at a later stage, for instance if you wanted to add new widgets from a different store, or check for updates.
f) Navigate to /mtd_rwcommon/widgets/user using Cyberduck and Upload the widget folder now on your computer back to the television, saving it in the USER folder.
That is basically it. You can repeat the process if you like, visiting other country app stores to acquire additional widgets. When finished, simply return back to your default app store and move the widgets around to more accessible positions.
It is your choice if you wish to delete the Install SamyGO-E widget on your television. If you do so, you will have to install it again to be able to FTP back into your television.
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Full credit to this fantastic hack goes to the clever folk at SamyGo Forums. It is the hard work of these people that allow us to be able to achieve a combined Smart Hub as shown here.
The Samsung Smart TV is geographically unblocked by the following companies