The Tzumi MagicTV is a device that allows users in the USA to watch TV on an Android phone via free over the air digital ATSC signals. It receives and decodes TV on the device, then streams decoded TV to an Android phone via a WiFi connection.
Over on Reddit user meowTheKat has alerted everyone to the fact that 'Tzumi MagicTV' devices contain not only an
R828D RTL-SDR inside them, but also an AR9331 OpenWRT board and a 3000 mAh battery pack. This means that the device could potentially be used as a portable RTL-SDR server over a WiFi connection without any additional required hardware. And right now is a particularly good time for this discovery to come out, as the device is reportedly selling at a clearance sale price of only $13 at Walmarts across the USA.
OpenWRT is custom open source firmware that is intended to be installed on compatible internet routers. It extends the functionality and stability of many routers. Since OpenWRT is based on Linux, it is possible to use the RTL-SDR on routers running OpenWRT and we have several previous posts about people doing this.
Currently meowTheKat reports that the MagicTV is indeed running OpenWRT, and that SSH is available. The SSH password is unknown but a colleague of his is currently working on cracking the password. Once cracked it should become possible to install RTL-SDR software on to it. However, there is no word yet on if the front end has additional filtering specifically for TV signals or not. If there is additional filtering those circuits would need to be removed to restore wideband tuning to the RTL-SDR.
Update: From discussion on the Reddit thread it appears that the tuner chip used is not an R828D as first thought, but instead a MXL603/608. This tuner is currently not supported in the RTL-SDR code, but support could probably be added by a developer.
Update 2: Unfortunately it seems that this won't end up going anywhere. In the librtlsdr GitHub issues forum Hoernchen commented:
The tuner is connected to a demod ic, which is connected to the TS input of the rtl2832p, so code is not going to fix the fact that the device is unusable without quite a bit of tricky soldering to reroute the tuner output to the rtl.