Getting around the 30MB theme limit and repointing the SMP to look for themes on USB

Hi all, first post.

I just got my WDTV Live SMP yesterday. I had done some reading and it sounded like using the media library might be slow. I decided to give it a shot and I agreed; too slow for me.  So what can I do? I read more and discovered linksheets. Hey that sounds like a great idea to me but then I discovered the 30MB theme limit problem with the SMP.  Linksheets have to go into the root of the theme directory and it doesn’t take but a handful of linksheets to hit that limit.  I then read that it was possible to get the SMP to instead look for themes on an attached USB which gets around the 30MB theme limit problem.  So I tried to figure out the 1,2,3 of going about doing that. I found the info sprinkled across these boards and others but to my knowledge nobody had put it all into a single post/package so since I did this for myself I thought I would share and maybe help others.

NOTE: This is nothing but me reading and cobbling together and tweaking some bits and pieces which are the work of others (like b-rad).  I can take no credit for the fine work these other folks have done and continue to do. Hopefully the official WD firmware writers will add the ability in future firmware to repoint the theme location in the WDTVLive SMP.

Firmware: 1.16.13 (but the exploit that is used to get access should work for previous versions as well but I didn’t try any other versions but this)

What is going to happen?

  • Upload a custom theme to the SMP that visually won’t change anything; it just puts one file in place that will lauch telnet on the SMP when its called.
  • Run a DOS batch file to call that telnet file
  • Run your own telnet program to telnet into the SMP (automatically as root)
  • Once in you run a command to find out the path the USB you have plugged in is mounted at
  • Run another command to set the SMP to use the path you want on your USB to run themes from


Instructions: (NOTE: this looks like a lot but it really isn’t. It’s about as hard as boiling water.)

  1. extract the contents of the “” file somewhere on your computer
  2. get a USB drive and create a directory at the top to hold whatever theme you eventually want to use. (ex: I created “.wdtv_themes” NOTE: I created it with a “.” as the first character so that the WDTV won’t show it as a browsable folder. If you want to do that you have to do it using MKDIR at a DOS prompt. Windows Explorer won’t let you create directories beginning with a “.” since server 2003 I think)
  3. attach the USB drive with your new theme directory to your WDTVLive SMP and turn it on
  4. pull up a browser window and put in the IP address of your WDTVLive SMP (on your SMP go to SETUP > ABOUT and you’ll see the IP listed as “Network Info”, default login password is “admin”
  5. In your browser that you’ve now logging in to the WDTVLive SMP pick Appearance > Browse, pick the one of the 3 extracted files called “” and “Submit”
  6. Now the theme that will allow you to trigger launching telnet is in place
  7. Go back to the files you extracted and run “win-WDTV-SMP-OPENTELNET-telnet.bat”
  8. You’ll be prompted to enter the ip address of your WDTVLive SMP, enter that address (ex: and press enter
  9. Follow the prompts (just pressing any key). If everything went ok you should see a “telnet daemon launched!” message. Press any key to advance and the window will close
  10. Now you’ve temporarily got telnet running on the WDTVLive SMP so telnet into your WDTVLive SMP (ex: bring up a command window START > ALL PROGRAMS > ACCESSORIES > COMMAND PROMPT)
  11. log in (ex: “telnet” without quotes)
  12. type “df” without quotes
  13. you should see a list of paths with one on the right under “Mounted on” that begins “/tmp/media/usb/” and then continues on. That’s what you’re looking for. If you have only one USB drive plugged in then you should only see one of these rows.
  14. write down that full path.  (ex: for the drive I’m using for testing it’s “/tmp/media/usb/USB1140/ECE6-85C3/”)
  15. So now you want to tell WDTVLive SMP to start looking for a theme in the new directory you created in step 2.  For me that path is “/tmp/media/usb/USB1140/ECE6-85C3/.wdtv_themes” but just pop whatever directory you created on the USB for your themes in step 2 onto the end of whatever path you found in step 13.
  16. Now in telnet type “config_tool -c THEME_PATH=” without quotes followed by that path and press enter. Ex: for me that’s “config_tool -c THEME_PATH=/tmp/media/usb/USB1140/ECE6-85C3/.wdtv_themes” 
  17. go ahead and type “exit” without quotes and press enter to exit telnet
  18. Go to your WDTVLive SMP and go to Settings>System and then go down to “Device Restart” but don’t pick it yet. Just have it ready to go.
  19. launch windows explorer, got to network, find your WDTVLive (“WDTVLIVE” if you didn’t change the name). Pick it and click to go into it and you should see what’s at the top of your USB drive (for me that’s my new themes directory “.wdtv_themes”)
  20. Get whatever theme you want to use and extract it to your computer. Then copy the contents of the extracted file to your new USB theme directory (".wdtv_themes" for me).  What you should be copying is a bunch of .xml files and maybe some subdirectories.
  21. After the files finish copying grab your remote and pick “Device Restart” since you’re got it sitting there ready to go from step 18.

When your WDTVLive SMP comes back up it should be running your new theme FROM your USB drive.  Now you’ve gotten around that terrible 30MB limit so load up whatever huge theme floats your boat or do what I did and turn off the media library and start making a million linksheets that can now be easily dropped right in.



Thank you for sharing.

that’s quite the first post

good luck supporting this

and you forgot to save your config changes

config_tool -s && config_tool -s

WD has several locations that it stores config info

the above ensures the new theme location is actually written completely to internal storage

if you don’t do that, and then quickly reboot, it’s possible your changes will be lost

Thank you for sharing.

I already had this working except for one thing. I do not see the SMP in my network.

I can browse to it using the IP address, which shows the normal webinterface, but the SMP is not accessible in another way.

Do i need to use Telnet every time in order to see the SMP as a share i can access?

Gendji wrote:


Do i need to use Telnet every time in order to see the SMP as a share i can access?

No. The SMP acts as it always does, regardless if you are doing the hack above. You see it as part of your network, and the attached drive is accessible to copy media file to. If you cannot see the SMP with a USB drive from a windows machine on your network, you have a network issue. Can you see either network shares or media servers from your SMP?


Yes, the SMP can see (and use) the network shares from my computer.

Found the “problem” i think. Windows Share Server was off. Turned it on and now it works?.

No idea why it was off though :smiley:

windows shares has nothing to do with telnet

it’s also my opinion, that questions about this should be posted on another forum

this is just old repackaged info from WDLXTV and other sources as well

I posted most of this on WDLXTV over a year ago, also alpha firmware has been available for about a year

original exploit is posted on exploit database and various other sites for at least 2 years now

gimli firmware has been available for at least 2 years as well

I’m a big supporter of custom firmwares, etc …

but I think questions should be posed in the correct place

where people can help and understand how to safely do this, without turning your device into a brick

Does this still work with the latest firmware?