Channel Request: Web Browser

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Re: Channel Requests

Postby TampaShooters » Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:32 pm

zxn wrote:
kc8pql wrote:
zxn wrote:So... to change the subject:
Is there a forum @ roku.com where we can request channels?

No. Just suggest them here in the open forum . Both Roku and a lot of developers read the posts. It'll be seen.



Alright then....

Is there any plans to put a basic web browser on the Roku?


Roku is not a computer, nor is it set up to be one in any way. You should already have a separate computer for your web browsing needs.
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Re: Channel Request: Web Browser

Postby JamesCochran » Mon Nov 08, 2010 5:33 am

How then am I supposed to authenticate on networks that make me agree to their terms and conditions on a web page?
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Re: Channel Request: Web Browser

Postby mkiker2089 » Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:33 am

JamesCochran wrote:How then am I supposed to authenticate on networks that make me agree to their terms and conditions on a web page?


We've been through this countless times. The Roku can't do it.

Why would you need to log in on a network? Are you taking the thing to Starbucks?
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Re: Channel Request: Web Browser

Postby GJones » Mon Nov 08, 2010 9:13 am

mkiker2089 wrote:
JamesCochran wrote:How then am I supposed to authenticate on networks that make me agree to their terms and conditions on a web page?


We've been through this countless times. The Roku can't do it.

Why would you need to log in on a network? Are you taking the thing to Starbucks?


Often this happens when you are on vacation in a resort that provides free access, but requires a password so that only registered guests can use the service.
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Re: Channel Request: Web Browser

Postby mkiker2089 » Mon Nov 08, 2010 11:43 am

I see then.

Well the short answer that has been discussed countless times before is that the processor in the Roku won't handle it. Modern web pages are too flash and CPU intensive. The Roku was made with a simple CPU to run the OS and an awesome GPU to do video. It's the opposite of what you need for web browsing.
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Re: Channel Request: Web Browser

Postby kbenson » Mon Nov 08, 2010 11:55 am

mkiker2089 wrote:I see then.

Well the short answer that has been discussed countless times before is that the processor in the Roku won't handle it. Modern web pages are too flash and CPU intensive. The Roku was made with a simple CPU to run the OS and an awesome GPU to do video. It's the opposite of what you need for web browsing.


Well, I think some hedging is needed here.

The Roku's processor would not handle flash video, but could possibly handle other, less intensive flash content. That's irrelevant though since the processor is ARM based and there's no flash for it currently.

Theoretically the Roku could put in a simple component to display a web page, sans flash. HTML5 video and audio might actually be playable if encoded in a supported format. Control would be problematic, a remote is not the best way to navigate a webpage.

I don't think anything is coming anytime soon (and it would need to come from Roku, not a developer), but it's not impossible, just very unlikely.
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Re: Channel Request: Web Browser

Postby RoadRanger » Mon Nov 08, 2010 12:12 pm

There are text-based browsers that would run fine:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynx_(web_browser)
The linux version should run on the Roku almost as-is. Yous guys might want to check out the windows version to see if it does what you need for authentication :cool: .
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Re: Channel Request: Web Browser

Postby JamesCochran » Mon Nov 08, 2010 5:52 pm

mkiker2089 wrote:
JamesCochran wrote:How then am I supposed to authenticate on networks that make me agree to their terms and conditions on a web page?


We've been through this countless times. The Roku can't do it.

Why would you need to log in on a network? Are you taking the thing to Starbucks?


If you must know, I'm going in to the hospital tomorrow. I thought this box would be awesome for streaming Netflix and Hulu (only to find Hulu is "coming soon", lame). I also didn't know I couldn't stream video off my network. This is my third day using the little box and so far I'm very underwhelmed. The GUI is awesome and it's one of the nicest interfaces to Netflix I've used. But, I've got plenty of other devices to play Netflix on. I guess I was expecting more. Shame on me for not doing my research. Shame on Roku for assuming their consumer will only use this box on a tv in their living room.
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Re: Channel Request: Web Browser

Postby JamesCochran » Mon Nov 08, 2010 6:01 pm

Also, I'm not talking about flash and all of that. I'm talking about a web page that might have an iframe with the user agreement saying you won't steal or look at porn on their network with an "Agree" button at the bottom. You wouldn't need anything too sophisticated to accept that. Also, if my iphone can figure out that I need to agree to those terms when I connect Roku should be able to as well and only pop that up when needed. What I mean is when I connect on my iPhone the page with that agreement automatically comes up no matter what app I'm in. I then hit agree and close on that window. Stop thinking about what can't be done and start thinking about what can be done. You'll get a lot farther in life.
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Re: Channel Request: Web Browser

Postby kbenson » Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:12 pm

JamesCochran wrote:Also, I'm not talking about flash and all of that. I'm talking about a web page that might have an iframe with the user agreement saying you won't steal or look at porn on their network with an "Agree" button at the bottom. You wouldn't need anything too sophisticated to accept that. Also, if my iphone can figure out that I need to agree to those terms when I connect Roku should be able to as well and only pop that up when needed. What I mean is when I connect on my iPhone the page with that agreement automatically comes up no matter what app I'm in. I then hit agree and close on that window. Stop thinking about what can't be done and start thinking about what can be done. You'll get a lot farther in life.


Please compare the cost of your iphone (sans contract) to the Roku.

That said, I think the best given solution to this given the current abilities of the Roku was once stated by another forum member (whose name I can't remember). Call the tech support/ISP for the service and explain what you need. Apparently for him a non-insignificant amount of the time this resulted in free service...
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Re: Channel Request: Web Browser

Postby fluke » Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:25 am

There are two types of "web browser" like channels you could expect to see in the future on the Roku:

1) RSS readers

2) Preprocessed snapshots of a web browser

The first type is already available to some extent via the FrameChannel. However, I don't like their method since it only provide the beginning text of each item in the feed instead of the full text.

The second style of web browser would likely require running a helper program on your own computer on the same network. However, if there is enough demand for it, there is the possibility someone would set up their own internet server to do the preprocessing similar to early web browsers for the Palm Pilot.

While the Roku is technically an ARM processor running a Linux kernel, the API and VM actually exposed is BrightScript. TiVo also technically is an ARM processor running Linux (the original TiVo was PPC running Linux). However, to this day no one is running lynx binaries to display to their TV via TiVo. Instead, the API provided by TiVo for third parties has been the Home Media Option (HMO) which from a developers prospective looks nothing like the POSIX and glibc API that a Linux programmer is used to. Personally, I prefer Roku's BrightScript and channel method over the TiVo HMO but neither will be providing a full feature stand-alone web browser any time soon.
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Re: Channel Request: Web Browser

Postby gonzotek » Tue Nov 09, 2010 6:58 am

JamesCochran wrote:Also, I'm not talking about flash and all of that. I'm talking about a web page that might have an iframe with the user agreement saying you won't steal or look at porn on their network with an "Agree" button at the bottom. You wouldn't need anything too sophisticated to accept that. Also, if my iphone can figure out that I need to agree to those terms when I connect Roku should be able to as well and only pop that up when needed. What I mean is when I connect on my iPhone the page with that agreement automatically comes up no matter what app I'm in. I then hit agree and close on that window. Stop thinking about what can't be done and start thinking about what can be done. You'll get a lot farther in life.
To allow a Roku to attach to a wifi access point that requires agreeing to some terms via a webpage is possible: Most, if not all, of these kinds of systems that I've encountered or heard about online have used the MAC address of the machine requesting access as an authentication token.

If you (1)retrieve the MAC address of the Roku, and (2)spoof that in your pc via the device properties for the wifi card (not every driver provides this feature), then (3)agree to the terms of service with the pc, then (4)shut down the pc, and then when you (4)connect the roku, things 'just work'. Usually the system will 'forget' the address after some period of inactivity and the procedure may have to be repeated. I wouldn't necessarily want to do this regularly, but it's an option. :)
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Re: Channel Request: Web Browser

Postby fluke » Tue Nov 09, 2010 6:27 pm

If you are trying to use a public Wifi with the Roku, you might want to consider using Internet Connection Sharing (ICS). Depending on if your laptop has MDI-X auto-switching, you may need to get a cross-over ethernet cable. Then run the ethernet cable between the Roku and the laptop. Rather than have the Roku use the Wifi directly, have it use the ethernet connection to the laptop. You can then use a web browser on the laptop to accept the public Wifi terms of service on behalf of both the Roku and the laptop.
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