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File browser via SMB

I'm noticing a lack of widgets in the gallery to allow pnp video playback or local browsing of smb drives etc on the network. I'm in interested in designing a NAS browser, but I'm not sure if the platform is capable of doing is or if it's possible to access files via SMB on a connected TV.

Has this already been done and Im just missing it?

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12 Replies
  • QUOTE (visualrinse @ Jul 31 2010, 10:34 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
    I'm noticing a lack of widgets in the gallery to allow pnp video playback or local browsing of smb drives etc on the network. I'm in interested in designing a NAS browser, but I'm not sure if the platform is capable of doing is or if it's possible to access files via SMB on a connected TV.

    Has this already been done and Im just missing it?


    Forget to mention... I'm looking to build this for a Vizio VIA tv if that matters.
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  • I do not believe and OEM has implemented the native file controls in the devices.
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  • QUOTE (WidgetRealm @ Aug 1 2010, 12:55 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
    I do not believe and OEM has implemented the native file controls in the devices.


    wow... color me surprised... thanks for the update, but wow... what a missed opportunity here. think of all the home NAS devices out there!
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  • While you don't have network filesystem support, that doesn't stop you from loading that same content over HTTP. Think of TV Widgets as DHTML / Web 2.0 apps which instead of running in the browser instead run on your TV in a constrained (performance wise compared to the desktop) environment.

    Now, back to your idea. What on that network attached storage would you want to access? Things like word documents and random files doesn't make sense (since the TV doesn't support those formats). As to pictures, music, and videos (which do make sense) there are several options:

    1) Many NAS devices have an HTTP interface to them. Some of them even have a web API. If your NAS device support this, then it's a simple matter to interface it via the normal XHR mechanisms.

    2) If your NAS device isn't endowed that way, then you can use a PC on the network. This might even make more sense because you can have an application on the PC which indexes the data.

    As to #2, I have developed just such a setup for my own home. I have a Mac Mini which has Apache turned on. I wrote a basic webapp which indexes all of the media content sitting on my NAS and provides a REST based JSON feed into that. The widget then uses that API to search for content and then displays it on the TV directly streaming it over the network via HTTP. The widget itself is maybe 250 lines of Javascript code in all and handles pictures, videos, and music. Pretty simple to do in fact and works great for my personal needs.
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  • Jeremy,
    Thanks for the input.

    My NAS in this case is an Apple Time Capsule. It doesn't have HTTP. I have a lot of videos and photos on there.

    I used to have a DLink NAS with a HTTP server in it... it stunk for my primary use case, which was scheduled backups.

    I'd don't even own a desktop computer anymore... It's all NAS and laptops at my place. Lower power usage and less space.
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  • QUOTE (visualrinse @ Aug 3 2010, 01:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
    I'd don't even own a desktop computer anymore... It's all NAS and laptops at my place. Lower power usage and less space.


    I'm almost at that point myself. I have a Mac Mini on my network which handles the few things my NASes can't. One recommendation which might work would be to use a low power custom device on your network. I've done some investigation on using Arduino based devices over the network from a TV, so something along those lines might work for your needs.

    -Jeremy
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  • QUOTE (Jeremy Johnstone @ Aug 2 2010, 10:20 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
    The widget itself is maybe 250 lines of Javascript code in all and handles pictures, videos, and music. Pretty simple to do in fact and works great for my personal needs.


    Care to share the code? Also... it's great for your personal use, but it could be more easily abstracted and a little bit more configurable, it could be a very ueful additiona to the Widget Gallery for Vizio sets.

    Thanks.
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  • QUOTE (visualrinse @ Aug 3 2010, 01:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
    Care to share the code? Also... it's great for your personal use, but it could be more easily abstracted and a little bit more configurable, it could be a very ueful additiona to the Widget Gallery for Vizio sets.


    Yeah, I'm hoping I will get some time to do that in the next couple months. Once I abstract it a little, I will see what I can do to publish it on Github or something like that.

    -Jeremy
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  • QUOTE (Jeremy Johnstone @ Aug 2 2010, 10:20 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
    While you don't have network filesystem support, that doesn't stop you from loading that same content over HTTP. Think of TV Widgets as DHTML / Web 2.0 apps which instead of running in the browser instead run on your TV in a constrained (performance wise compared to the desktop) environment.

    Now, back to your idea. What on that network attached storage would you want to access? Things like word documents and random files doesn't make sense (since the TV doesn't support those formats). As to pictures, music, and videos (which do make sense) there are several options:

    1) Many NAS devices have an HTTP interface to them. Some of them even have a web API. If your NAS device support this, then it's a simple matter to interface it via the normal XHR mechanisms.

    2) If your NAS device isn't endowed that way, then you can use a PC on the network. This might even make more sense because you can have an application on the PC which indexes the data.

    As to #2, I have developed just such a setup for my own home. I have a Mac Mini which has Apache turned on. I wrote a basic webapp which indexes all of the media content sitting on my NAS and provides a REST based JSON feed into that. The widget then uses that API to search for content and then displays it on the TV directly streaming it over the network via HTTP. The widget itself is maybe 250 lines of Javascript code in all and handles pictures, videos, and music. Pretty simple to do in fact and works great for my personal needs.


    Would it be possible to send me your code? Even if it's not ready or only part functional it would be a great starting point. I'm trying to do the same thing. Did you convert all your videos before having the webapp index them, or does the webapp do the conversion somehow?
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  • QUOTE (fyzbo @ Oct 13 2010, 05:19 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
    Would it be possible to send me your code? Even if it's not ready or only part functional it would be a great starting point. I'm trying to do the same thing. Did you convert all your videos before having the webapp index them, or does the webapp do the conversion somehow?



    Same here, do you mind sharing?

    I have a D-Link dns323 serving media over HTTP using llink and your solution would work perfectly with my setup!
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  • Here as well. Trying to connect to a Popcorn Hour C-200 running myiHome.

    QUOTE (alleyoop @ Nov 18 2010, 10:34 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
    Same here, do you mind sharing?

    I have a D-Link dns323 serving media over HTTP using llink and your solution would work perfectly with my setup!
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  • SMB is exactly what I was looking for

    What a crying crying crying shame.

    It seems then that the only other option is to set up the above described web HTTP reader.

    I thill really want to build this as it seems like it will be pure 100% awesome.

    I also really wish there was a full screen web-browser widget. Firefox for ConnectedTV or some such. Suppose it's down to the apparent "limited resources" on the device - but again, seems a missed opportunity. Would be a bit annoying to navigate unless you re-wrote the behavior of the arrow keys to be a very fast moving cursor (maybe with acceleration and deceleration) then there's writing the 'click' on OK.

    Hmm... sorry, did I just get completely distracted?

    Really *really* wish we could read SMB shares. I'm going to try and figure something out though :) it'd just be way to cool if I got some sort of network file browser working.
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