How do I play my home media via Roku?

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How do I play my home media via Roku?

Postby mdezrin » Tue Jul 20, 2010 6:13 pm

I've been told that the Roku media player won't play any of my home media that resides on my PC and/or NAS. Is that really true? I'm just stunned I may have to return this for another media player. Please tell me there is a somewhat easy/automatic way around this. Thanks.
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Re: How do I play my home media via Roku?

Postby kumasuki » Tue Jul 20, 2010 7:16 pm

There are a number of channels that let you do this. You can check out threads on this forum for SUNIMI, Roksbox, MyMedia or Chaneru.
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Re: How do I play my home media via Roku?

Postby Robert99 » Tue Jul 20, 2010 7:29 pm

mdezrin wrote:I've been told that the Roku media player won't play any of my home media that resides on my PC and/or NAS. Is that really true?

Not entirely, no. However, it is true that the ROKU isn't as flexible with "local media" as some other devices on the market. Of course, many of those other devices on the market aren't as flexible as the ROKU at handling a variety of internet media.

The main "local media" limitation right now, is that the ROKU doesn't have support for reading network drive shares. The ROKU does have support for viewing local content on a web server, so if your NAS has an http server (for accessing your media), you should be able to set it up for streaming via the ROKU. However, the only "disk drive" support ROKU has is for USB drives, and then only if/when those USB drives are directly connected to the ROKU-XR's USB port (the ROKU-XR is the only ROKU model with a USB port).

mdezrin wrote:I'm just stunned I may have to return this for another media player.

If your primary interest is just in playing "local media", you probably would be better off with a different media player that makes local media playing easier. However, keep in mind that pretty much all the media players on the market have their pros and cons. While there are several media players that are easier to use with "local content", many of those same media players don't do as good of a job bringing in content from the internet. So you have to look at your overall mix of what you are trying to get from your media player.

BTW: I'm just a ROKU user myself, and don't work for the company. So personally, it doesn't affect me much one way or the other what your decision is.

mdezrin wrote:Please tell me there is a somewhat easy/automatic way around this. Thanks.
Easy/automatic, probably not. However, had you looked around this forum, you likely would have discovered that there are several different ROKU "channels" that let you view your own media on the ROKU. In fact, most of those local media player "channel authors" are active participants in these forums.

However, in large part due to the ROKU's inability to directly read network attached file shares, pretty much all of those "local media" options require a little more work than you might face with some other media players. At the very least, you will likely have to setup an http server on your LAN, to stream your local content to your ROKU. Granted, that LAN "web server" could be as simple as enabling IIS on your PC, but that still an extra step that some "local media" players wouldn't require.
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Re: How do I play my home media via Roku?

Postby philsoft » Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:01 pm

In addition to the good answers you have already received, you should know that the filetypes supported by Roku are limited, with h.264 being (nearly) the exclusive video format supported.
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Re: How do I play my home media via Roku?

Postby mdezrin » Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:13 pm

Thanks for the detailed answers. My primary goals were really having Netflix and my local media. In researching it, I'm aware that there is no perfect box (although the Asus products get incredibly high marks but have no Netflix ... deal breaker there).

I love the Roku box. I just want my local media. I'm going to check out whether my d-link DNS-323 supports a webpage.

I had looked around and thus my comment on something more automatic. I was hoping to avoid programming. I've seen some options and I'll look at those two.

Just frustrating because the local media should be pretty easy. Mapping to the network drive with a folder shouldn't be hard with some type of linux coding in their firmware but now I'm over stepping my technical abilities, Heck, my smartphone can access it. :D

And I'm less concerned with home videos as I am with viewing jpegs. But the home videso we take would be nice.

Thanks.
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Re: How do I play my home media via Roku?

Postby j883376 » Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:57 pm

To be honest, Roku never advertised the product as being able to play your own media, so I'm not sure why you would be stunned that it doesn't just do it.
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Re: How do I play my home media via Roku?

Postby mdezrin » Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:09 pm

Partially, a bad assumption and leap that it would be similar to all the other media players (i've yet to come across a media player, other than Roku, that does not have the ability to access your home media files). I also emailed support about what file formats they supported (following up my assumption on the local media support), and was given an answer that listed some file formats. In retrospect, I didn't properly articulate my question.

But again, logic might prevail that since there is a channel to play your itunes music, pictures was in there some where as well with a channel (other than uploading pictures to a supported website to then stream back via a channel).

Like I said before, the box is impressive. I've rarely had a piece of technology that is up an running that easily. But it is like we've run .9 of 1 mile race.
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Re: How do I play my home media via Roku?

Postby BoloMKXXVIII » Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:59 am

Like others have stated there really isn't the "perfect" box. It depends on what you want to do with it. If you are only interested in Netflix and your personal content you might do better with a WD live plus: http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.asp?driveid=832

Be aware that it does not have on-board storage. You must connect a USB device with your content (or stream it). The WD live plus also does not include all the other channels that the Roku offers. I find a lot of value in the other channels. There is nothing keeping you from using both.
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Re: How do I play my home media via Roku?

Postby greubel » Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:36 am

Check out Chaneru.com for local media
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Re: How do I play my home media via Roku?

Postby mdezrin » Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:49 am

Nope. Good points about the limitations of the other boxes. One in particular is the native wi-fi in Roku. As I've said, it is a terrific box. But to be a true media player, this is basic functionality that could/should be added natively. It would make it the killer box and make the others an afterthought. the only box that comes close is Asus but it doesn't do netflix!
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Re: How do I play my home media via Roku?

Postby BoloMKXXVIII » Wed Jul 21, 2010 11:39 am

I have to believe Roku is designing a new box. If that is true it would almost certainly have additional features. The big question is how much more will it cost?
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Re: How do I play my home media via Roku?

Postby mdezrin » Wed Jul 21, 2010 11:59 am

This box is rather new from them. They don't need to design a new box, other than to generate sales. This is something that could take place easily via a firmware upgrade or adding a channel that could be directed to our local storage (remember it already sees the local network since you have to authorize the box).
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Re: How do I play my home media via Roku?

Postby greubel » Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:06 pm

Ok, one more time. Chaneru the channel will play most of your local media from any of your drives, very little if any setup. Handles iTunes, iPhoto, web links, slideshows. Check it out http://www.chaneru.com
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Re: How do I play my home media via Roku?

Postby mdezrin » Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:14 pm

Thanks. I will be checking it out!
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Re: How do I play my home media via Roku?

Postby DeftOne » Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:25 pm

As philsoft already noted, the biggest limitation of the current incarnation of the Roku DVP relative to local media streaming is the codec/file container support. The private local media streaming channels developed with the SDK are great (thanks developers!), but they are all limited to the very short list of currently supported codecs/file containers. In my opinion, this list needs to be MUCH more inclusive before the DVP can be considered a good solution for local media streaming. Don't get me wrong, the current box works great as long as your media collection is in the right format, but there's no way I'm going to convert all my media just to play on one specific device. It's just not realistic, and certainly not convenient -- at least for me. YMMV.
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