Saturday, March 30, 2013

Drumming to Song 6

I recorded this a little while ago, but I forgot to upload it here. Enjoy

Weekend Project: XBMC on Android

I just wanted to start out by explaining the purpose and scenario before anyone starts questioning me "Why?".

In my house, I have an ASUS RT-N56U router with custom firmware by Padavan. I have 2 hard drives connected to it, along with a DLNA server so I can access my content on other devices I have in my household. Upstairs, I have a stereo hooked up in my room. Sure, I can playback physical content I may have such as a CD, but I prefer to stream FLAC rips of my music through the network. Previously, I had an old small form-factor PC with XBMC hooked up to the stereo and used my Nexus 7 to control it and play my digital content through the speakers. This setup works and there is nothing wrong with it. However, I questioned the power usage of the PC; I don't really frequent this room often and the PC is left on.

My next thought was "Can I use XBMC on my Nexus 7 to act as the hub to access my content I have on my router?". You may be thinking "What is the point of that if your router already broadcasts your content via DLNA?". See the following scenarios:

ROUTER <-> PC <-> STEREO = my previous setup. PC with XBMC sees all content on router and plays no problem

ROUTER <-> ?? <-> STEREO = obviously won't work as I need a PC or device to plug into the stereo to play music

ROUTER <-> N7 <-> STEREO = same scenario as the first

So I planned it all out. I downloaded the XBMC for Android build and installed it on my Nexus 7 and within a few moments, it was set up. All of my other devices could see the XBMC client on the Nexus 7. Awesome. But now you have to add content. You can do this easily through XBMC. Find your content that is shared through the network and XBMC will add it. I took a different approach however. I also use CifsManager to set up mapped drives locally on my Nexus 7. I used CifsManager to added my music content as a local drive with no issues, then headed over to XBMC and provided a local path to the network drive.

Now for testing. Plugging the Nexus 7 into the stereo and playing back music worked just fine. But I don't want to have to get up and change the song every time. I forgot to mention that I also have a Samsung Hercules (SGS2X T989D) with an XBMC controller app. Opened that up, configured it to see my Nexus 7 and everything worked great after that.

Yes, I have 2 devices broadcasting the same libraries. It is pointless. But for upstairs in the stereo room, it is my only way to get this setup to work. My next project will be doing a PXE boot from the network, controlled by an Android device.