Roku + USB Network Drive for file transfers

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Roku + USB Network Drive for file transfers

Postby Daffyhouse » Tue Nov 01, 2011 9:51 am

My Roku gets delivered on Friday, and I'd like to get an idea of what are the better HD options for connecting to the USB port and to my router. I want to keep it simple - no music, no photos, just movies. I'd like to be able to transfer the movies from my computer to the hard drive over the network, so I can avoid unplugging and plugging the drive back in for every transfer. Is there a drive that is better at this than others? This would also be the ONLY function of the drive. I don't need it to have an FTP, or sync to multiple computers. Just one Macbook. Oh, yeah, obviously this has to work over OS X.

Any ideas on a good quality, no frills hard drive that will do what I need and work?
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Re: Roku + USB Network Drive for file transfers

Postby RokuShawnS » Tue Nov 01, 2011 9:55 am

Either I'm a bit confused by what you're saying, or you're a bit confused by the USB port :)

You can hook an external HD directly to the Roku USB port, without having to worry about your network, a server, etc. However, if you want to watch movies on that HD over your entire network, then the HD needs to be hooked up to a computer on the network. There are a few 3rd party channels out there that will allow you to stream the movies over your network without having to plug anything into the Roku. Some are easier to setup than others.

I'm sure others on the forums will pipe in with what they feel is best, but you can also do a quick search in the forums for "streaming local content" and come up with a number of options.

Good luck!
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Re: Roku + USB Network Drive for file transfers

Postby stratcat96 » Tue Nov 01, 2011 9:57 am

Daffyhouse wrote: I want to keep it simple - no music, no photos, just movies. I'd like to be able to transfer the movies from my computer to the hard drive over the network, so I can avoid unplugging and plugging the drive back in for every transfer.

Any ideas on a good quality, no frills hard drive that will do what I need and work?


no can do, once the drive is connected to the usb port on the Roku, it is not network accessible. If you want to use a harddrive connected to the Roku you will have to plug it back in to the computer for any file transfers. The other options are to set up a server on your pc that Roku can access, or setup a NAS, but with Roku who's local playback functions are not one of it's core features, both options involve set up which may prove daunting for those who aren't well-versed. If local playback is a number one priority, Roku may not have been the best choice.
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Re: Roku + USB Network Drive for file transfers

Postby Daffyhouse » Tue Nov 01, 2011 9:59 am

Sorry, I didn't quite explain that right.

I want to be able to use the network features on the hard drive to transfer movies to the hard drive, which will be plugged into the Roku box to watch. I don't want to stream them from the drive to anywhere else, just transfer from a laptop to the drive. The laptop will be connected wirelessly to the router, the hard drive will be hard wired into the router.

File transfer progression:

File on Laptop > wireless transfer to router > wired transfer to USB drive > Drive connected to USB port on Roku > Roku playes movie on TV

I just want a stripped down USB network drive that does this but doesn't (or rather, that I don't have to pay for) a ton of features I don't need.
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Re: Roku + USB Network Drive for file transfers

Postby Daffyhouse » Tue Nov 01, 2011 10:02 am

stratcat96 wrote:no can do, once the drive is connected to the usb port on the Roku, it is not network accessible.


That answers my question. A disappointing answer with a followup - what's the easiest way to transfer movies to a hard drive plugged into a Roku box? I don't think they make drives with multiple USB ports to connect to multiple devices at once, but it's also been a while since I've done any home networking (curse you Macs) and even so, would the Roku allow it?
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Re: Roku + USB Network Drive for file transfers

Postby stratcat96 » Tue Nov 01, 2011 10:16 am

I'm sorry, I think I mistook your orginal question meaning that you wanted a normal usb external harddrive to be network accessible. What you are looking to do is set up a NAS. There are several options available as far as third-party channels that can help you do this. If you get a NAS that has a built-in webserver, you can stream the content directly to the Roku over the network. The USB port's usb channel is good if you don't have alot of files but does get hard to navigate if you have many, many files. It just wasn't created for the kind of file browsing someone would do through their entire media library. In that instance, there are channels like "Plex", though I've never used it, many users report that it is (relatively) easy to set up and is easy to use. That may serve your purposes better than plugging into the usb port. Again, to use the nas as a standalone (rather than plugging it to your pc), I believe it must have its own built in webserver. Do a forum seach for "nas" and you will see alot of different solutions people are using to accomplish what you are wanting.
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Re: Roku + USB Network Drive for file transfers

Postby atheling » Tue Nov 01, 2011 10:24 am

Daffyhouse wrote:
stratcat96 wrote:no can do, once the drive is connected to the usb port on the Roku, it is not network accessible.


That answers my question. A disappointing answer with a followup - what's the easiest way to transfer movies to a hard drive plugged into a Roku box? I don't think they make drives with multiple USB ports to connect to multiple devices at once, but it's also been a while since I've done any home networking (curse you Macs) and even so, would the Roku allow it?


If I were to be cursing Macs, I'd be cursing most of the computers in the house. And I'd have been doing it for the last 26 years. :)

My solution to this pre-dated my getting a Roku box by a couple of years. I have a Network Attached Storage (NAS) unit that was generic but compatible with Time Machine on the Macs. Once I got the Roku I found that the built-in web server on the NAS could be used, along with the Roksbox private channel, to play my home movies on the Roku. I happen to have a ReadyNAS Duo but from reading posts other NAS units will work with Roksbox on the Roku as well. Basically if the NAS unit has a built-in web server you are set.

I don't know what you are doing for backing up your Mac(s) but you might be able to kill two birds with one stone with the appropriate selection of NAS box. And they are not all that expensive nowadays.
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