Sunday, December 20, 2009

Stream media using an app built with the Roku SDK

Roku is a media streamer that streams Netflix in HD, Revision3,, Twit, etc. And now with the public SDK you can stream your local media by simply setting up a server that your home-brew app can point for its content.

This is a simple (and currently non-elegant)

solution to playing your local media on the Roku via a web server running on an OSX machine (i.e. macbook). It's a proof of concept that can be automated, cleaned up, simplified, and made more robust ... in time.

Pick up a Roku HD Player, Roku HD-XR Player, or Roku N1050 SD Player and have some fun with the SDK!

1) Getting started:
  • Download the Roku SDK: http:/
  • Enable the roku developer menu on your device using the remote:
    UP, UP, Down, Down, Left, Rigth, Left, Rigth, Select A, Select B, Start (just kidding)
    (For real) Home 3x, Up 2x, Right, Left, Right, Left, Right
  • Find your Roku IP address “Roku Player Settings”, “player info” to find the IP address
  • To access the installer homepage, use your roku address:
2) Start the media server on OSX
  • Open the 'Settings' panel -> Sharing -> Web Sharing -> Server is running
  • Place a m4v movie into the 'Users/nickc/Sites' dir (out of the box it supports .mp4, .wmv, .mov, and .m4v)
  • Test out the path by copy/pasting it to your web browser:
3) Modify the sample app:
  • Goto the SDK dir:
    cd rokudev/examples/source/simplevideoplayer/source
  • Change the 'appMain.brs' file:
    urls = [""]
  • There are other settings worth looking into if you have an HD movie and want to update the sample text/images
  • Rebuild the app in the terminal:
    cd rokudev/examples/source/simplevideoplayer/source
  • Goto the Roku installer:
    Choose File -> rokudev/examples/zips/
  • The Roku will make a sound when it is done loading
4) Enter the Roku Player main menu
  • The sample app will show in the menu as the last app
  • Select it (which will show the sample description and images)
Thats it. Press play and your local movie on your network will begin playing from Roku!

Monday, November 16, 2009

1TB Hard Drives: Simple external, NAS, & NAS w/RAID

There are many options, brands, and features available in the external hard drive arena. I have narrowed the list based on price, quality, and personal experience with these brands. I highly recommend a NAS with at least 2 drives for the simple convenience of always on access and the redundancy of saving your data to 2 drives.

For simple external HD:

For network solutions with RAID (backs up your data on 2 drives):

For network solutions with one drive:

Here are some things you'll need to know:

  • NAS = Network attached storage (router -> connects to HD -> accessible from all computers on network)
  • RAID 1 = Backup data across 2 drives so if one fails, the other has an exact copy
  • Gigabit Ethernet = faster transfer rates over compatible networks (get it so your future proof)
  • 16MB Cache = faster access to data: there are lots of drives with 32MB for a good price too
  • OEM HD = no cables included (which is not needed for a NAS)
  • 7200 RPM = standard speed for desktop HDs but is more power hungry for external drives
  • USB vs Firewire = all my drives are USB since firewire ports are not as common

Go with the NAS so you can set it up, access your files on your network from any computer, and have the peace of mind that it's backed up on 2 drives.