Possible to add a Web browser to the Roku?

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Possible to add a Web browser to the Roku?

Postby PapaGeek » Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:29 am

I'm not really looking for a hack (although I guess that that would be nice). I'm really just wondering whether it would be technically possible for Roku to give us a Web browser in case we wanted to watch streaming content from a Web site that doesn't have a Roku channel. I don't know what the demand for a Web browser would be. I don't know whether what the licensing or marketing ramifications would be. I'm just wondering whether the Roku box could handle something like a Firefox browser.
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Postby zwei » Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:40 am

Nope, the box isn't built for that sort of thing.
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Postby vmps » Sat Feb 13, 2010 1:57 pm

If you want something like that you're better off going the full-blown computer route, you'll always be disappointed with the roku.
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Postby KennyJ » Sat Feb 13, 2010 5:07 pm

Or a Boxee Box. They'll have a browser.
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Postby vmps » Sat Feb 13, 2010 5:14 pm

KennyJ wrote:Or a Boxee Box. They'll have a browser.

Nope. It'll be a lousy experience that leaves people wishing they had a real computer, just like if they tried to cram a browser onto a roku.
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Postby jeffrok » Sat Feb 13, 2010 5:29 pm

The Boxee will be better equipped to handle a browser than the Roku is- plus it has a Qwerty keyboard build into its remote.
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Postby KennyJ » Sat Feb 13, 2010 5:30 pm

vmps wrote:
KennyJ wrote:Or a Boxee Box. They'll have a browser.

Nope. It'll be a lousy experience that leaves people wishing they had a real computer, just like if they tried to cram a browser onto a roku.


Have you tried it?
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Postby jcmolet » Sat Feb 13, 2010 6:49 pm

I guess it depends on what an individual is looking for; however, the last thing I want is a browser. I want a nice clean interface that allows me to move from channel to channel without any typing and limited scrolling. For those looking for a browser, I suppose sticking with an HTPC or trying the Boxee box when it becomes available are the best bets.
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yes!

Postby gertie » Sun Feb 14, 2010 9:09 am

I like the idea of using "channels" with the roku box, which keeps things simplified, particularly since we can customize which ones appear in our own set of channels.

However, I would LOVE to have one channel actually be a web browser, because after only a couple of weeks I have already found myself in the situation many times of wanting a browser, but not to the point of starting up my computer.

Some examples that have come up for me personally:
• Following a discussion thread, I want to see if anyone else has commented. Particularly for sites like Flickr which don't allow you to "subscribe" in the sense of getting alerts.
• Likewise on Flickr, what if I want to see if there are any new comments on my photos? It's one of the highlights of Flickr, but often doesn't require a reply, just viewing.
• Last, just checking email. Reading, not responding. If I'm lazing around, watching something on Roku and am comfy and warm under my blankets on the couch, it would be nice to quickly be able to pop in to check on a few things.

But that's me. :-P
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Postby kc8pql » Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:10 am

This whole discussion is moot. The box only has a few hundred Mb of memory.
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Postby Moviefreak » Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:32 am

kc8pql wrote:This whole discussion is moot. The box only has a few hundred Mb of memory.


That's a <The entropy of a perfect crystal, at absolute zero kelvin, is exactly equal to zero. - Third Law of Thermodynamics> of a lot more than they had on Apollo 13! ~36k (words) :D j/k

Don't bother looking...it's not streaming, I checked. Rats!
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Postby vmps » Sun Feb 14, 2010 3:35 pm

kc8pql wrote:This whole discussion is moot. The box only has a few hundred Mb of memory.

Yup. The kind of browser you can cram in there going to be more like what you find on a cell phone than what you find on a computer. You'll be much better off whipping out your netbook to answer your pressing questions without getting off the couch than fumbling with a set top box. (Completely leaving aside questions like why, in practice, you'd be watching a movie and suddenly want to stop it to play with an anemic web browser.) Sure, people might find a use for it every once in a while, but not that often, and until the end of time they'd be complaining that it doesn't support the flash plugin, or HTML5, or adblock, or java applets, or a bunch of other things which just won't fly given the CPU, RAM, and storage constraints. A few years out it'll be much easier to cram a full-featured general purpose computer into this form factor and then you really will see full-featured browsers trivially added as a feature, but not on this generation of hardware.
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Re: Possible to add a Web browser to the Roku?

Postby serialjoepsycho » Fri Mar 19, 2010 11:14 pm

Yes it would be shitty if you happened to try to cram a whole browser on to the roku box. That would actually be stupid. Now if you quit thinking computer and quit trying to make a computer like browser you'll actually get somewhere. Think more like cellphone browser. A cell phone browser like skyfire. it browses the Internet and does everything you'd want to do. All the rendering is done sever side.
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Re: Possible to add a Web browser to the Roku?

Postby mkiker2089 » Sat Mar 20, 2010 6:33 am

serialjoepsycho wrote:Yes it would be shitty if you happened to try to cram a whole browser on to the roku box. That would actually be stupid. Now if you quit thinking computer and quit trying to make a computer like browser you'll actually get somewhere. Think more like cellphone browser. A cell phone browser like skyfire. it browses the Internet and does everything you'd want to do. All the rendering is done sever side.


You keep preaching skyfire but you miss the point. No one wants or needs it. You'd be much happier with a HTPC or as others have said, a laptop. Why does the Roku need one? It needs a browser as much as in needs a Smoothie add on. The box was made to host video channels and play back that video in HD quality. The more they add the less ram available as a buffer and the more it takes away from the core functionality. I for one would be very upset if they reduced buffer ability to add a skyfire ap.

See, here's the thing. New people come here daily and one out of 50 or so toss the idea out that the Roku doesn't have a browser. Then they realize that it doesn't need one either. Kind of like browsing the web on a game machine. They can do it (Roku can't) but why bother. You'd get a better result with a computer. That's not even getting to the point that you are advocating a think client approach which would require a special server and proxy set up which would be costly to the people at Roku.
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Re: Possible to add a Web browser to the Roku?

Postby serialjoepsycho » Sat Mar 20, 2010 2:00 pm

I think the smaller issue floats beyond you. Only a fool would want to surf on the roku. It would be pain staking, frustrating and boring. So I would not see anyone trying to surf facebook on it. But there is one thing they have wanted. Hulu, fancast, and a multitude of other videos from the online world.
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