Turning a pandora into a TV media player..


skeezix

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Am I the only one who wanted this, or is it a common idea? :)


What are the requirements we'd want in a media player solution, anyway? (I'm tempted to build one, or at least consider it, but thought I'd nail down the requirements first so I can scope out how much work it'd be.. sounds like a lot ;) .. I use my pandora for video playback a lot, and generally put it away each day; but I'm often tempted to leave it jacked into the TV for a few days, for convenient video playback, or gaming-on-TV.


I'm thinking..


- optional autorun (this implies an installer, or at least a installer that sets up a pnd-run script)


- optional automount (specify/pick-from-list some smb-type directories found on network, and then automount them at media player startup); ie: I keep a NAS (dns-323 for the win :) ) in my network, so be nice to have an easy automount


- optional auto-tv-out; let you define your config preferences, and then auto-start it .. maybe canm use the existing superzaxxon tv-out configurator, but the idea is.. pandora come sup, and tv-out and menu are ready to use


- optional auto-bluetooth associate (system may do this already, not checked); I've got a visiontek 'candyboard' bluetooth keyboard used cheap .. I need to check it, but shoudl work as keyb/mouse with pandora just nicely, as a remote: http://www.amazon.co...5/dp/B004FI841K


- control via built-ins of course, but should also support usb gamepad/keyboard/mice, bluetooth keyboard/mice/gamepads, that sort of thing .. ie: "remotes"


- ability to run mmenu, or perhaps built in limited launcher; ie: to run emus or other apps


Really, my thought was..


Run the pnd, and it has a config menu and a playback menu; the config menu lets you turn on those sorts of options, scan for smb mounts, let you set up nfs/smb mounts, and the playback mode has the media lister


- for playback, I'd probably just rip out mplayer from panplayer or smplayer or something, make my life easier. Riun with battery out even, to avoid worries about continuous charge etc.. (not sure thats an issue anymore, but if your'e going to leave it plugged in for a week straight, is good idea to pull battery?)


Naturally, can use a raspberry-pi pretty cheaply, or many relatively cheap solutions (western didigital has a $150 solution that comes with a remote, jacks into ethernet, and has a divx/etc player with hdmi output .. nice.) But since we've got pandoras, why not see if we can Do It All :)


.. autorun is a bit of easy work, so no big deal


.. automount .. system can do it, but need to make a 'scanner' and a easy config editor


.. bluetooth association .. can leverage existing system to do the pairing I imagine, so maybe just need a 'scan and pair', or maybe system does it automatically.. I've not really tried much yet.


So really, the code is just writing the frontend menu that does the scanning of mounts, fires off a player, and maybe some sort of HUD option.


(Hell, could really do this in a variant of minimenu .. improve controller support, have a command line option to invoke mmenu in the file picker mode no one uses, add filename extension or mime handling so it can launch the required player.. hmmmmm..)


.. kids mad, back in a few :)


.. thoughts? ideas? good/bad idea?


jeff


edit; my thought was .. pandora + ethernet(usb dongle) + candyboard (for the remote) .. keep the pandora lid closed, leave the unit behind TV with no battery, and thus live in a hellish always-on-forever sort of mode :)
 
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Wrath Of Khan

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Sounds like a good idea to have a sort of all in one, easy to use, full media suite, with a unified frontend. Bluetooth pairing should be simple to use.There has been some improvements in the new kernel i think as regards bluetooth.Havent tried any bluetooth yet with my 1ghz pandora though.Streaming music via bluetooth to wireless headphones, easy to use videoplayer that informs you exactly what video formats+resolution the pandora can handle, usb joypad setup. wireless keyboard etc and more all together in one gui.Yes please.It could be part of minimenu but also useable for the full desktop.edit and yes I think such an application would be very popular and could only be a good thing for the 1ghz pandoras going forward.
 

skeezix

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Then again, I imagine sebt3 will pop in with..


"ooooooor, you coudl use XBMC I ported a year ago, fool" :)


I've never really fiddled with xbmc yet, but I wonder if it coudl be tweaked to run just-so .. autorun, bring up BT, automount everything, and away it goes.. this is what it was designed for really.


We should just make an XBMC oriented distro, with an autoboot, so you could stick that SD into the slot and reboot, and you're a media player; eject it and reboot, back to normal...


Or add xbmc to the desktop environments list, so that it could be started optionally that way.,.,


jeff
 

budweiser

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This sounds exciting , I watch digital movies and tv shows daily on my Pandora.


So this would be so welcomed :) Glad to see you on the frontier with this..
 

skeezix

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How do you do it? Whats your usage pattern?


have dual 32GB SD's, so tonnes of storage; I tend to just copy a pile of video right onto them and good to go for a couple weeks. Still, pretty suboptimal .. I'd rather just mount my NAS and go from there, but I've not had solid enough wifi performance to do it (and really, our wifi is not suited to video streaming, especially when you go anything greate rthan SD-resolution.) (Ignoring popping in a N-dongle :)


I did some few experiments and streaming over wifi wasn't too well (ie: even using dynamic res transcoding during streaming, I had to go realyl low res to be useful.. not so fun :) ; doing smb-mount over wifi, same sort of thing. Easy enough to set up a couple smb-mount type scripts, but be nicer if it was automatic.


So, if no one cares, its easy enough to just cheat it for myself .. USB ethernet dongle, couple scripts to mount the NAS, good enough for me .. but the potential is so much more :) An easy to browse video listing interface to automounted SMB would be pretty nifty.


jeff


Fiddled with my canbodyboard.. works great .. perfectly in fact; I paired, didn't work at all, screwed around too long; rebooted, repaired, worked perfectly. *shrug* Anyway, seems to work fine now as both keyboard and mouse.


Next step.. I use homeplug (ethernet over power sockets in the house) -> ethernet usb adapter -> pandora, see how fast I can get over the wire, and see how well smplayer takes it :)
 
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lobski

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I don't think it's a good idea, since the Pandora cannot do 720, only SD. SD encodes of older TV/movies, sure, but for the present time and future, probably won't happen unless the Pandora can do 720.
 

budweiser

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I use Gigolo with a usb wifi and have access to my 1tb movie/music drive on downstairs computer ,


and watch full length movies with Panplayer with no issues this way.


I've also dropped a few seasons of my favorite tv show on the sd card for easy access when I'm the go.


I watch a movie everynight on the Pandora and have enjoyed this ritual since I recieved my Pandora :)


My Pandora has one sd card for programs/games and another sd card for Media (both 32GB class 10)


Also I rip all my movies / tv shows with pocketdivx on the homecinema setting .works perfect .....Bud
 
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skeezix

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lobski -- so what? It may be suboptimal, but its certainly doable.


For me, I use it while working out or other mundane tasks, so quality is not as important; pixelated all to hell is no good, but rendering on the TV is good ;)


I'm using svideo here which is what, 480 or 576 lines of resolution; now, I forget if those are interlaced or not, so its a far cry from 720_p_ likely, but if we're purely talking lines of res, then 576 to 720 is about 80%, which is not half bad.


Either way, better than zero ;)


-- fwiw, I've also got a raspberry pi doing this, which can do HDMI nicely, but I'm way more a hacker on pandora than the r-pi obviously ;)


jeff
 

thatgui

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I don't think it's a good idea, since the Pandora cannot do 720, only SD. SD encodes of older TV/movies, sure, but for the present time and future, probably won't happen unless the Pandora can do 720.
not/half true - as long as the bitrate isn't to high 720 x 4xx is possible

Then again, I imagine sebt3 will pop in with..


"ooooooor, you coudl use XBMC I ported a year ago, fool" :)
I would rather wan't a recent port, as the old one is a little sluggish, and the xbmc team made a lot of progress in saving cpu time. Maybe you could chime in and make a "quick" build between the babies naptime ?


Using xbmc would also widen the possibilites of remote controlling the Pandora using xbmc web interface.


The only hold off for me is the S-Video Output
 

Asmo

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I don't think it's a good idea, since the Pandora cannot do 720, only SD. SD encodes of older TV/movies, sure, but for the present time and future, probably won't happen unless the Pandora can do 720.
not/half true - as long as the bitrate isn't to high 720 x 4xx is possible

720 x 4xx isn't '720p' though, that's typical DVD resolution.


When people refer to 720 in video (I'm assuming lobski in this case was), they usually mean 720p HD - 720p has a resolution of 1280 x 720


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/720p


As you note, the only available output is SD anyway ;)
 
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Eight Bit

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I tried that XBMC port long ago but it didn't work properly somehow.


I have always wanted to have a plex client on my Pandora, I even posted a request about it before I think but I got the standard closed source flame so I left it at that. www.plexapp.com is where it's at.


I know their own software is closed source but there's plenty 3rd party plex clients for Ipad and android around aswell. I have a client made by a plex community member installed on my samsung TV and it works perfectly! I think it was completely made using XML or something.


I'm not sure how it works precisely, I think with an API or something but anyway, the plex server transcodes the requested video on the fly to the appropriate resolution and best bandwidth for that device be it a phone over 3G, tablet on wifi, apple TV or smart-TV over LAN and streams it over.


This would in my opinion be the solution to get the best possible video stream on the pandora.


What's also nice about plex is that the server gathers the movie/series metadata from the internet and puts it in a database which allows you to search through Genre, year, by first letter, recently viewed shows/movies/episodes etc. This makes it very easy, versitile and hassle free. Even my wife uses it ;)


Mind plex is no stand-alone app and needs the server running on some NAS, windows/linux or apple machine. I personally use an old laptop running ubuntu that's under the couch with the lid closed.


I'm no programmer or anything, otherwise I would have looked into this long ago.. I <3 my pandora and would certainly use it more if it would run plex!


http://dev.plexapp.com/


On the other hand... A DLNA client would be sufficient too. ;)
 

Impulss

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I know this thread is about using the panda as a media center as such, but... well, I'm sure you guys have heard of it.


http://www.raspberrypi.org/ It's cheap, efficient and can't wait for mine to arrive to replace my HTPC Will read properly before I talk.


Not trying to take away from it at all, but since it's not FULLY capable of doing HD, I'm not too keen on using the panda as a media player, besides music, which is obviously EPIC. Not to take away from the idea, it's good, just throwing my 2 cents in.
 
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skeezix

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I mentioned above .. There are at least two xbmc distros for r-pi in varying degrees ofutility (hardware accel, inputs etc) .. But this is the pandora forum hence my focus.


That all said I'm fiddling with my r-pi (in a lego made case of course) as well.. Is what I do at 3am between baby feeds :)
 

WizardStan

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720p divx/xvid play just fine, and h264 would work thanks to M-HT's work with the DSP if we had a gstreamer based player.
 

Impulss

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I mentioned above .. There are at least two xbmc distros for r-pi in varying degrees ofutility (hardware accel, inputs etc) .. But this is the pandora forum hence my focus.


That all said I'm fiddling with my r-pi (in a lego made case of course) as well.. Is what I do at 3am between baby feeds :)

Totally read that as well, sorry I've been drinking. I also didn't pick up on the 'r-pi' meaning raspberry-pi. I don't suppose you'd be able to take a picture of this lego case? Inside and out? I'd totally love to rock a lego case! I never even thought of it.... Shame on me... Sorry again -.- taking away from the topic.
 
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