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Archives for : roku

A Roku SDK Brain-Dump

So it’s been a month since I taught my half-day Roku SDK class at CodeMash 2014 (sorry for the lack of blogging… client project in crunch mode). I’ve long since posted my slides, with the sample code in my Dropbox public folder.

Jeff Kelly's setup for Roku class at CodeMash

But since my most-popular blogs have always been these brain-dump things — Core Audio, OpenAL, and In-App Purchase — I figured I’d roll back to that old format.

Also, if you don’t already have a Roku, get one through my Amazon affiliate link and thereby incentivize me to blog more. Thanks.

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Indoor Waterpark + Roku Streams = CodeMash 2014

For those of you who dig tech conferences held in the middle of winter at indoor waterparks, CodeMash sessions are up, and I’m doing something different this year. I’m teaching a half-day class on Roku development, on January 8, 2014.

Details are on the sessions page — you can’t link to a specific session, but if you filter by “precompiler” classes and type equals other, you’ll find it. Of course, this is three months away, so I don’t have the class materials prepared yet, but my plan is to get a quick win by streaming something simple like the Apple “BipBop” test stream, and then move on to building out a more sophisticated content browser with the various UI widgets.

Actually, we’ll probably dedicate the first hour just to getting set up. Everyone needs to get their Rokus onto the Kalahari wifi, put them into developer mode, get the IP address, and get set up to send zips to it with FTP and watch the debug messages with telnet. Also, everyone’s going to need to see the output from their Roku, either with a second monitor or (preferably) a capture box into their laptop. Lots to wrangle, and makes me appreciate the relative convenience of Xcode and its iOS simulator.

EDIT: Jeff Kelley reminds me I should score some Amazon affil linkage out of this. So if you want a top-of-the-line HD-only, HDMI-only box, check out the 3rd generation Roku 3, whereas I’ll be rocking the 2nd gen SD/HD Roku 2 XS.

Also, as I discovered the hard way at CocoaConf San Jose, a Roku on someone else’s wifi is worthless without the original remote control: there’s no way to connect it to the wifi, which in turn means you can’t find it with the Roku smartphone app. So, yeah, I was very careful to put that in the requirements/prerequisites for the class.

Anyways, that’ll be fun, and very much in CodeMash’s spirit of trying out new things. CodeMash registration is next Tuesday (Oct. 22) for alumni, and the following Tuesday (Oct. 29) for general public. Last year, each sold out in a WWDC-like 30 seconds; in fact, it was the CodeMash 2013 experience that convinced me that WWDC 2013 would sell out in less than a minute.

So, if you make it in, and want to learn Roku programming, I’ll see you in January!

Apple TV Predictions Made Easy (Thanks to Roku)

Rumor has it that the VEVO music video service is coming to Apple TV. Well, as its own channel I mean, since it’s always been possible to AirPlay the VEVO iOS app.

So that’s great to add value to the box by adding new channels. But it’s also old hat because, well, we’ve had VEVO on the Roku for as long as I’ve had one.

And Apple TV getting stuff long after Roku is not a new thing. Back in June, we got HBO Go and Crunchyroll, which had already been on Roku for some time.

If there isn’t a sign at the Roku offices saying “Cupertino, start your copiers”, there should be.

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Crunchy Apple TV

Nice surprise this morning that the latest Apple TV update adds an app for Crunchyroll, my go-to source for anime streaming.

Crunchyroll running on Apple TV

But there’s a catch (isn’t there always?). This version of Crunchyroll is members-only. If you don’t have a membership, you can watch the first episode of each of 20 or so anime series, and a comparable number of Japanese and Korean dramas. That’s in sharp contrast to Crunchy on the web and on other platforms, where most of the library is free-with-ads, and the benefits of subscribing are no ads, HD, and immediate access to simulcasts instead of a two week wait (there are a handful of episodes here and there that are also subscribers-only, like the last half of anohana).

For the freeloaders, you’re probably still better off getting the Crunchyroll app for iOS and AirPlay’ing it to the Apple TV, or just switch platforms and get Crunchyroll for Roku.

As a subscriber, I perpetually have Crunchyroll all-access passes to give out, and which keep expiring unused, so hit me up on Twitter if you want one, though (as The Loop’s Peter Cohen reminds me), you might be better off just grabbing the one-week trial through the Apple TV, or two weeks from Crunchyroll’s website.

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The Case Against an Apple TV SDK

It seems just last year we were on the verge of WWDC, wondering whether Apple might release an Apple TV SDK. Oh, that’s right, it was last year that we were talking about this. And there’s still no SDK, but hope springs annual.

Playing a bit with the Roku SDK has me reconsidering if and why an Apple TV SDK makes sense, and I think it boils down to one simple question:

What can you do better on an Apple TV than you can do with the iPhone or iPad you’re already using?

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A brief Anime Central 2013 media travelogue

Anime Central was last weekend in Chicago. I don’t have as much to say this year as last, but a few media related things were worth blogging:

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CocoaConf DC 2013: The Usual Follow-Up Links

For CocoaConf DC, I freshened up the HTTP Live Streaming talk with a demo of the streams created for the iOS app working as-is with a Roku HD purchased the night before at Target (because I forgot my Roku XS back in Grand Rapids). Actually, only the basic and variant streams work – I didn’t try getting encrypted streams to work, but Roku apparently supports it, so that’s something to work on for next time.

For CocoaConf San Jose on April 18, I’m bringing back the All-Day Core Audio Workshop for one more go-round, so get in on that if you’re interested.

I also had time left over at the end of my regular Core Audio session in DC… with a few judicious cuts, I could carve out 10 minutes or so for an introduction to AudioBus. Anyone interested in that?

Rok, Rok, Rok, Rok, Roku Roll High School

I mentioned a while back that I was bored now with Apple apparently deciding to take the first few months of 2013 off, at least in terms of shipping anything interesting. With all the laptops on a schedule of updating mid-year for back-to-school, and all the iOS devices apparently on a holiday season update, and the SDKs getting revved annually at WWDC, it leaves a big gaping hole of nothing at the beginning of the year.

I’d hoped we’d see an Apple TV SDK by now, and since we haven’t, I’ve gone looking for something else to do. I bought a Roku 2 XS Player (just in time for the Roku 3 to come out, wouldn’t you know), since the Roku platform is highly welcoming of third-party developers, and features a broad selection of third-party content (including, of course, another means of getting my Crunchyroll fix).

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Bored Now

A thought occurred to me last year when Apple moved the new iPhone model to a late-year release, along with the new iPad mini, and a rev’ed iPad: what are they going to do in the first half of 2013?

Think back a bit: when the iPhone first came out, it was announced in January and went on sale in like July (months are approximate… I’m trying to avoid using seasons for fear of Northern Hemisphere bias. You’re welcome, Australia.) For a few years, iPhone was a mid-year product, with a corresponding iPod touch coming out later in the year. Then the iPad came out in early 2010 and was updated again in early 2011 and early 2012. But now, all of these products got late-2012 updates. So… what does that leave for the next six months?

Macs? The iMac got updated in late-2012 too, and the laptops have moved to a mid-year schedule (with an announcement at WWDC), better suited to back-to-school buying. Even if we do get the Mythical Modern Mac Pro in the next few months — and I am by no means optimistic about that — it’s a niche product.

And as developers, everything interesting is now a once-a-year update to iOS at WWDC. OS X is supposedly moving to an annual schedule, so that should be getting previewed soon (with an eye to mid-year release), but the simple fact is that very few of us can get Mac programming gigs, so it’s not worth the time of tracking an OS X beta and its new APIs very closely.

If Cocoa development is indeed a cargo cult — and it’s a pretty comfortable cult to be in if so — then the planes aren’t coming back with new stuff until July. Literally the only thing I can imagine happening before then is an Apple TV SDK, and there are few signs of that happening soon, or ever.

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