Can Roku play a shared iTunes library?

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Can Roku play a shared iTunes library?

Postby Mark Knecht » Tue Dec 21, 2010 6:43 pm

The search engine isn't happy with my questions. It thinks all the words are too general.

Is there a way for Roku to discover an iTunes library on my home network? I don't have one shared at this time but I was thinking today I'd quite enjoy this if the player can do it.

The _must_ be threads on this subject. If you know of one with some technical depth in it please point me there. If Roku cannot do this then would others find it valuable?

Cheers,
Mark
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Re: Can Roku play a shared iTunes library?

Postby TheEndless » Tue Dec 21, 2010 6:49 pm

The Roku can't talk directly to iTunes, but there are a couple channels that can talk to iTunes for it with the help of a server running the computer hosting iTunes. I know that MainSqueeze (see the link in my signature) can via Squeezebox Server, and I believe Chaneru can as well. There are probably others, but those are the two I know for sure can use iTunes libraries without any special configuration on your part (aside from installation of the server).
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Re: Can Roku play a shared iTunes library?

Postby Mark Knecht » Tue Dec 21, 2010 7:23 pm

Very interesting info. Please let me see if I understand this:

1) MainSqueeze is a private Roku channel which you've talked about in another thread located here:

viewtopic.php?f=28&t=31915

2) For MainSqueeze to work it needs Squeezebox Server running somewhere on my network. Presumably this is just on the machine that has the iTunes library?

I've added the MainSqueeze channel. I'll try installing the Squeezebox Server and see if things link up.

Cheers,
Mark
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Re: Can Roku play a shared iTunes library?

Postby TheEndless » Tue Dec 21, 2010 7:42 pm

Mark Knecht wrote:Very interesting info. Please let me see if I understand this:

1) MainSqueeze is a private Roku channel which you've talked about in another thread located here:

viewtopic.php?f=28&t=31915

2) For MainSqueeze to work it needs Squeezebox Server running somewhere on my network. Presumably this is just on the machine that has the iTunes library?

I've added the MainSqueeze channel. I'll try installing the Squeezebox Server and see if things link up.

Cheers,
Mark

That is correct. I actually wrote MainSqueeze, so I'm more familiar with it than the other options, but I'd encourage you to try each, if you have the motivation. Squeezebox Server should automatically see iTunes and import its library. So, once that's set up and imported, all you'll need is the IP address of the computer running it. Once you've entered that into the configuration in MainSqueeze, you should be up and running.

One thing to be aware of... the Roku currently only supports MP3, WMA, and AAC audio, and some users have reported some strange behavior with AAC audio, so if your library is mostly made up of AAC, you might encounter some inconsistency in audio. As far as I'm aware, that's not specific to MainSqueeze, but I haven't had a chance to fully investigate it yet.
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Re: Can Roku play a shared iTunes library?

Postby vtagrl » Tue Dec 21, 2010 7:53 pm

Try the MP3tunes channel. I have all of my iPod music on there......
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Re: Can Roku play a shared iTunes library?

Postby Mark Knecht » Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:09 pm

Thanks TheEndless. I'll be working on this over the next day or two. First I'll have to get iTunes back up and running. I had a crash, bought a new machine, never setup iTunes again. The library was well backed up but I've been busy. With people coming for the holidays it would be nice to get this going. (If I can, not many days left!)

Cheers,
Mark
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Re: Can Roku play a shared iTunes library?

Postby Mark Knecht » Wed Dec 22, 2010 6:16 pm

TheEndless wrote:That is correct. I actually wrote MainSqueeze, so I'm more familiar with it than the other options, but I'd encourage you to try each, if you have the motivation. Squeezebox Server should automatically see iTunes and import its library. So, once that's set up and imported, all you'll need is the IP address of the computer running it. Once you've entered that into the configuration in MainSqueeze, you should be up and running.

One thing to be aware of... the Roku currently only supports MP3, WMA, and AAC audio, and some users have reported some strange behavior with AAC audio, so if your library is mostly made up of AAC, you might encounter some inconsistency in audio. As far as I'm aware, that's not specific to MainSqueeze, but I haven't had a chance to fully investigate it yet.


Hi TheEndless,
I've made a lot of headway but no sound yet. Maybe you can figure this out.

1) I had an old PowerPC Mac Mini that had Gentoo Linux on it. I got tired of maintaining that slow machine and put it on the shelf. I pulled it out this morning, reloaded OS X and imported my iTunes library from a USB drive I used for backup. Now I have about 800 hours of iTunes stuff on the Mac and it works fine in iTunes there. Being an iTunes server is the sole job of this machine going forward.

2) I got the Squeezebox Server installed on the Mac and verified it starts up automatically when the Mac is rebooted.

3) I added the Main Squeeze channel, configured it to point at the IP address of the Mac. After finally getting the IP address input correctly Main Squeeze sees the library listing lots of CDs. It also sees playlists on the Mac. (Only 4 as I haven't built any.)

OK - so at this point I mess around in the menu, find a CD, select it and hit play. A few seconds later I get a message:

Error
An error occurred playing track. (Error details: An unexpected problem (but not server timeout or HTTP error) has been detected.)


I see someone talked about this error when they tried to play a vorbis file. In my case I've checked in Finder that the file types for everything in my playlist is *.m4a which I think is Apples name for mp3, but possibly I'm wrong about that.

Anyway, so far I'm pretty impressed at how far I got, but not getting sound sort of puts a damper on the fun! I hope you can give me some ideas.

Thanks,
Mark
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Re: Can Roku play a shared iTunes library?

Postby TheEndless » Fri Dec 24, 2010 4:25 pm

Mark Knecht wrote:the file types for everything in my playlist is *.m4a which I think is Apples name for mp3, but possibly I'm wrong about that.

Actually, that's not mp3. I believe it's AAC, but I'm not positive. I believe the Roku supports m4a, but not if they contain any DRM. If you purchased the songs from iTunes, that's a strong possibility. If they're not DRM'd, then it may require a code change on my end, as AAC and M4A weren't supported when I wrote it. Sorry for the hassle!
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Re: Can Roku play a shared iTunes library?

Postby Mark Knecht » Fri Dec 24, 2010 4:54 pm

TheEndless wrote:
Mark Knecht wrote:the file types for everything in my playlist is *.m4a which I think is Apples name for mp3, but possibly I'm wrong about that.

Actually, that's not mp3. I believe it's AAC, but I'm not positive. I believe the Roku supports m4a, but not if they contain any DRM. If you purchased the songs from iTunes, that's a strong possibility. If they're not DRM'd, then it may require a code change on my end, as AAC and M4A weren't supported when I wrote it. Sorry for the hassle!


OK, thanks for the offer of support. I think if you could support everything that both iTunes and Roku support then that would be great but on my side I'd like to use what you've done so far and who knows how hard it would be for you to do all that work?

There should be very little DRM in the library. Most of this stuff is my old CD collection going back 30 years. However I don't think I told iTunes to use anything special. I probably stayed away from mp3 as I didn't want to degrade the sound quality as I do a lot of close in listening with headphones, etc.

I think there's another alternative. I'll ask you or anyone else reading for input before I press the buttons, but I see there there is a 'Convert to mp3' option in iTunes which could probably move the library to mp3 and therefore become usable. If that's the case, and remembering that the copy on the Mac Mini is just a copy - I still have the original m4a on the external drive, is there any reason I should just let it try that and see what happen?

Seems to me that if it fails the worst I do is delete it on the Mac and make a new copy from the USB drive, correct?

Again, thanks for the inputs!

Cheers,
Mark
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Re: Can Roku play a shared iTunes library?

Postby TheEndless » Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:43 pm

The more i think about it, the more I'm thinking that your M4As are probably lossless AAC, which I don't think the Roku does support, so that may be the issue. Converting to MP3 will definitely get you a working library, if you're up for trying it. Once converted, you'll want to be sure to refresh the library in Squeezebox Server.
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Re: Can Roku play a shared iTunes library?

Postby Mark Knecht » Fri Dec 24, 2010 6:08 pm

TheEndless wrote:The more i think about it, the more I'm thinking that your M4As are probably lossless AAC, which I don't think the Roku does support, so that may be the issue. Converting to MP3 will definitely get you a working library, if you're up for trying it. Once converted, you'll want to be sure to refresh the library in Squeezebox Server.



They are AAC. That shows up in the Get Info area.

I tried converting a few CDs. It works and mp3s are created fairly fast (but it will still take a long time to do 10,000 songs) but the problem is the original files aren't deleted so if I did the whole library I'll run out of disk space.

I'm going to investigate some sort of batch conversion in Linux, maybe using sox or something. If that works then I'll rebuild the library on the Mac from scratch and try it again. This will likely take some time with the holidays and all so don't look for anything from me for a few days anyway.

Thinking, I should probably blow away the library, create a few CDs in mp3 format and check that MainSqueeze is working, but I suspect it will be.

Thanks for all the help and happy holidays!

Cheers,
Mark
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