Add Features to your MP3 Player

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 18, 2006
Updated • May 22, 2013
Music and Video

If you are currently unhappy with the features of your mp3 player you may want to take a look at the open source rockbox firmware which you can install on many mp3 players to increase their functionality. Supported players include several Apple iPod, iRiver or Archos models.

A firmware update is of course something that should only be done with extreme precaution because it will void the warranty.

Take a look at some of the features that can be added:

  • support for additional sound codecs such as ogg and flac
  • support for games such as Doom, Sokoban and Sudoku
  • support for applications like calculators, battery related and text editors
  • video support (yes even for ipod nanos 1st gen for instance)
  • Gameboy emulator

Installing Rockbox is not as difficult as it sounds. Take a look at the manual pages which contains all the information you need for all supported mp3 players. Again, you should be very careful before you proceed. Everything is explained in detail and it should not be that much of a problem to install the new firmware. The rockbox forums is also a great way to have any remaining questions answered before you start replacing the firmware of your mp3 player.

The preferred method of installing Rockbox for most users is the automatic install option which provides you with a graphical user interface that you click through to install the software on your connected audio player. You will get the choice to install different builds and it is suggested to select the release build unless you need a current build which may provide you with compatibility or features that you want to try out.

Update: Rockbox is still available, but before you install it, heck, before you buy an mp3 player if you have the option, you should look over the compatibility information on the website. Especially the new platforms list on the site may be of interest as it lists some of the newer mp3 player devices and their support status.

Updates are still released regularly which may improve compatibility with old and new players supported.


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Anonymous said on August 1, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Why not make use of the mplayer.conf?

  2. Mike J said on August 1, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Huh, I have never even seen this “font cache” pane; videos play at once for me, using VLC & XP SP3.

    1. Martin said on August 1, 2010 at 3:39 pm

      Mike, in theory this should have only been displayed once to you, at the very first video that you played with VLC. The time this window is displayed depends largely on the number of fonts in your font directory.

      1. Mike J said on August 2, 2010 at 2:30 pm

        huh, I lucked out for a change?? Amazing!!
        Apparently VLC keeps this info through version updates, but I didn’t see this message after a fresh OS install about 8 weeks ago, & a new VLC.

  3. myo said on August 1, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    yes, yes, i have the same problem. sometimes, VLC crashes when it is playing .mov file.

  4. Kishore said on August 13, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Buidling font Cache pop-up


    Open VLC player.

    On Menu Bar:


    (at bottom – left side)
    Show settings — ALL

    Open: Video
    Click: Subtitles/OSD (This is now highlited, not opened)
    Text rendering module – change this to “Dummy font renderer function”


    Re-open – done.
    Progam will no longer look outside self for fonts

    Source –

    1. Martin said on August 13, 2010 at 3:10 pm

      Great tip, thanks a lot Kishore.

  5. javier said on August 14, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    @Kishore, I’ll try your tips, but does this mean it will no longer show subtitles either?
    I do use subtitles, but the fontcache dialog box pops up (almost) everytime I play a file.

    Could this be related to the fonts I have installed? Or if I add/remove fonts to my system?

    I’ll try to do a fresh install also, if your tips does no work. I’ll post back here later…


  6. Kishore said on August 15, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    @ Javier, The trick i posted will show up subtitles too. If not,

  7. Kishore said on August 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    @ Javier, The trick i posted will show up subtitles too. If not,Dont worry, VLC is currently sorting out this issue and the next version will be out soon.

    No probs @ Martin !! Its my pleasure

  8. Ted said on October 22, 2010 at 3:57 am

    Try running LC with administrator privileges. That seemed to fix it for me

  9. Evan said on December 8, 2013 at 1:48 am

    I am using SMplayer 0.8.6 (64-bit) (Portable Edition) on Windows 7 x64. Even with the -nofontconfig parameter in place SMplayer still scans the fonts. Also, I have enabled normal subtitles and it is still scanning fonts before playing a video. Also, it does this every time the player opens a video after a system restart (only the fist video played).

  10. Mike Williams said on September 6, 2023 at 1:26 pm

    Does that mean that only instrumental versions of songs will be available for non-paying users?

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