| | 02-29-2012, 12:57 PM Thread Author #1
How to Stream Media from CIFS/Samba Shares
Note: I posted this same solution to the LAN Explorer thread, however, I thought I'd surface it here to make it more visible/accessible.
One of the most annoying missing pieces of my PB puzzle has been support for CIFS/Samba (a.k.a. Windows/Linux) network shares. I have a WDTV Live media player with a 1TB disk full of media I'd like to stream to my PB. However, without a native CIFS client, there has been no way to accomplish this...until now.
Enter OS 2.0: Thanks to the new Android Player, we have access to a vast library of Android tools and utilities, including the popular ES File Explorer. And one of the best features of ESFE is its support for CIFS shares. You an browse them, transfer files to/from them, etc., all from the cozy confines of the Android Player.
But what you may not know is that you can also use ESFE to stream content to your PB via that same Android Player goodness. I discovered this quite by accident while trying to copy an episode of Justified to my PB for later viewing. As I was navigating around the ESFE file transfer GUI, I accidentally tapped on the partially (less than 10% at the time) copied video file. But instead of the typical "sorry, no application available" message I got when tapping on the source file on the network share, tapping on the partially copied local version caused the native PB video player to load and start playing the video!
Needless to say, I was puzzled by this result - but also delighted! After confirming that the process worked consistently by trying it against several different files on the WDTV, I realized I had in fact discovered the Holy Grail of PB media streaming: A way to pull content from a CIFS share directly into the native PB video player for seamless, lag-free playback!
Of course, the process isn't as elegant as simply browsing to a network share in a native PB file manager might be. However, since none of the currently available tools can do so (without requiring an agent on the source machine/box/streamer - not an option, in my case), this is the next best thing.
So, without further ado, here his my step-by-step guide for streaming from CIFS to PB via ESFE (talk about alphabet soup!):
1. Download and side-load ESFE. Grab it from the Good E Reader site or similar:
Blackberry Playbook Android Apps | Good e-Reader Android App Store - We support Kobo Vox, Kindle Fire, Blackberry Playbook and More
2. Start ESFE, then use the button in the upper left to switch to "LAN" view. Create a new Server shortcut to the desired CIFS/Samba share and then use it to navigate to the desired folder on the server.
3. While looking at the network share folder, tap the "Select" button on the ESFE toolbar and then tap the desired media file. With the file now selected, tap the "Copy" button on the toolbar.
4. Using the same upper left-hand side button, switch to the "Local" view and then navigate to the desired target folder. I use the "Download" folder since it's already available and accessible from the default "Local" view.
5. Once in the target folder, tap the "Paste" button on the ESFE toolbar. Then wait a few seconds before swiping down, tapping the "More" button on the drop-down application toolbar (not the normal ESFE toolbar), and selecting "Refresh" from the pop-up menu.
You should now see the partially downloaded media file displayed within the target folder. The file will continue to stream down to the PB in the background, however, you don't need to wait for it to finish. You can begin viewing the clip immediately by simply tapping on the icon the still unfinished file.
Assuming my experience is the norm, you should see the native QNX video player launch and your media file begin to play - all while the file transfer continues in the background.
That's it! Once you're done viewing the clip, you can simply delete it from the target folder. Again, not as elegant as a native CIFS-enabled file manager, but until we get one of those this is the next best thing.