SqueezePlayer and Logitech Revue / Google TV: a complicated story

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I’m often asked, if I can make SqueezePlayer work on GoogleTV / the Logitech Revue.

Unfortunately this is a very complicated story and I’d like to share some details (and a possible solution in the end).

The mysterious “NDK” SqueezePlayer uses an Android feature called “NDK” (native development kit). It essentially enables me to write ultra fast code – which is needed for the FLAC decoder. SqueezePlayer wouldn’t run on devices like the HTC Wildfire (just 500Mhz CPU) or Sony XPeria Mini if I didn’t use this technology.

Google TV and the “NDK”: GoogleTV unfortunately does not (officially) support the NDK. (see here: https://developers.google.com/tv/android/docs/gtv_android_features#NDK).
In the past (with their very first firmware version) this was a little bit understandable: Google TV runs on Intel processors while every smartphone/tablet is based on the ARM technology. The NDK (being ‘native’) is very picky about the platform it runs on and for a very long time the NDK did not run at all on Intel processors.
But it does for a while already – and personally I’m really clueless why Google just failed to include it for their own GTV.

SqueezePlayer and Intel: SqueezePlayer does run on (other) Intel based Android devices (for instance the Intel based O2 Joggler can run on Android:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O2_Joggler). Which shows that there isn’t actually a problem on the Intel platform – it’s just that GTV does not support it.

So as a conclusion: right now there is absolutely no chance for me to make SqueezePlayer compatible with the stock Revue.

So what can we do know?
Well there are some options:

#1: waiting. *sigh*. I have no clue if this is a good strategy 🙁 … Logitech dropped the Revue line altogether meantime.
And it looks like all GTV successors that are still in the game now abandon the Intel platform and use ARM again.
Which in my opinion makes it unlikely they will care for Revue anymore.
Anyway: call their support – make them hear you!

#2: hacking. The Revue can be “rooted” (i.e. you get full access to the operating system). And: some people brought the NDK even to GTV! *yeah*

Instructions can be found here: http://gtvhacker.com/index.php/GTv-OS_(AndroidTV)#NDK_Support

As I don’t have a GoogleTV I cannot try it myself – but would be happy to know if any one of you could make it work.
So far I don’t know anyone who tried it at all – but I’d love to hear from your experiences!

10 Responses to “SqueezePlayer and Logitech Revue / Google TV: a complicated story”

  1. Michael Says:

    That’s too bad. I would totally buy squeezeplayer if it could work on google tv as this would be the perfect solution for me! Oh well – thanks for trying anyways. If things change, let me know – I’l be an easy sale and promise to tell my friends who also would probably benefit from such a setup (i.e. have a google tv near their stereo).

  2. stefan Says:

    Hi Michael,

    I recently tried a whole week with another user (producing maybe about 12 different builds), but we failed to make SqueezePlayer compatible 🙁
    So right now I’m not having any hope.

  3. Michael Says:

    Damn – that sucks. You’d think squeezeplayer and googletv would be a perfect match considering most people have their big stereo system hooked up to their googletv. Too bad the squeezebox platform has the decoding done at the player instead of at the server – but I guess that probably has its own benefits at times too. Oh well. If it helps I have both the Sony unit and the Logitech unit at my house if you need any testing on stuff other than revue. Is it possible to have a googletv version that does not do decoding in software? According to this: https://developers.google.com/tv/android/docs/gtv_media_formats it can handle hardware decoding of mp3,wma, and aac (I assume aac since it has ac3 checked too).

  4. Michael Says:

    Oops – actually is explicitly has AAC checked too. Anyhow, it seems it already has decent support for codecs (minus flac and off) – but that could be listed in the googletv version description. I think most people have mp3/aac anyways – but I am no expert on preferred codec trends.

  5. stefan Says:

    Hi Michael,

    Apps can only us the codecs, when they use the official MediaPlayer. Which in turn unfortunately is not good enough to mimic a Squeezebox (a Squeezebox wants full control about buffers and timing of the playback)
    Only with Android 4.0 (not available for GTV) Apps will get a chance to use the inbuilt codecs for just decoding stuff.

  6. Kai Says:

    Thanks for hinting me to this blog post, Stefan!

    Very bad situation that it is not possible for Google TV, would make the beast really more valuable. Seems a little to me Google TV is going to die before it really has started in germany.

  7. Patrick Says:

    So the Revue is a dead product at point. Since the newer gtv boxes are ARM- based, would it be possible to run squeezeplayer on, say, a Vizio co- star? I would love it. I would be happy to buy the app all over again.

  8. stefan Says:

    Hi Patrick,

    to be hones: I don’t know.
    GoogleTV always has been special – just that they run on ARM doesn’t mean they enabled the NDK in their special G-TV builds.
    A better bet I guess are all those Android TV USB sticks, which run stock Android.

    Just checked the developer console, it shows I’m not compatible with about 10 GoogleTV devices, so I have no hope.

  9. Bob Says:

    Hi stefan,

    Do you know if Android TV suffers from these same complications? Maybe you will be able to port your app over to Android TV after some UI tweaks?

  10. stefan Says:

    Hi Bob,

    to be honest, I don’t know about the current specifications of Android TV.
    Based on information available on the Internet Android TV is a different beast compared to the old Google TV. It seems to be supporting the NDK which is the main limitation that was making problems on Google TV. Android TV is also based on Android 5.x which is a good sign.

    So I think there are good chances, that SqueezePlayer will be running on Android TV.
    Googles developer tools show me a compatibility to Nexus Player, NVidia Shield Android TV and LGE Android TV, so the App will be available for download on these devices via Google Play.