my android remote solution for playing music/radio without screen (1 Viewer)

KuLuYuk

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March 20, 2012
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Update: After testing a lot I finally found the best solution for a remote solution for playing music/radio with mediaportal: Just don't use mediaportal ;-)

Since I have a Qnap NAS in my network i installed the logitech squeezebox app on the NAS which acts as a music server. Furthermore I have two logitech Squeezebox radios with build-in speakers and batteries. On my htpc i installed the client-software squeezeslave which runs as a background service.

And the best: with the free logitech squeezebox-app for android i can control every client with my tablet.


Original post:
Hi there

I want to share with you my experience with trying to get a working and easy to handle android remote control for my HTPC. The goal is to play music or radio without(!) seeing the htpc-monitor. First I tried the app AmpDroid. The app is really great, thats why I also paid for it, but it has some disadvantages: It is not possible to browse the music collection like on the HTPC (eg. genre-->albumartist-->artist-->album-->tracks). Another disadvantege is the lack of radio support. I hope these features will be integrated in the next version of ampdroid, but until then I have my own custom solution:

The main idea is to access the HTPC via VNC client:
  • Server
    As server I am using UltraVNC. It is really fast (maybe the fastest?), free and easy to install.
  • Client
    Any Android VNC client could be used, but for me there where two demands:
    1. Fullscreen scaled view of the remote desktop
    2. Easy mouse input, which means: The click is executed exactly on the pixel/button where i click (no touchpad-like behavior)
    My recomandation: "Free bVNC"
  • Keyboard for touch-input
    Because Mediaportal can not be controled very good with only a mouse or touch-input I need a screen-overlay with additional buttons: Chessware Virtual Keyboard. This fine peace of software lets you design your own touchkeyboard which overlays any application. The Pro Version with keyboard designer is USD 19.95, but there is a free demo. To avoid any confusion: The keyboard application is running on the HTPC/Windows
  • Keyboard-Design: With the Chessware keyboard designer i designed my own touch inputs, here is a screenshot from my android-phone connected to the htpc:
    screenshot.png

    The buttons are very dominant, I know, but my phone is quite small and I want to have an easy-to-use interface. With a big fancy Android-tablet the design could be probably optimized ;-)​
Ok, so now I have my working VNC-connection with touch-support, great! Just to warn you:If you think: "What the f*** is this guy doing, who needs this sh**?!?!" you should probably stop reading right now ;-)
And for the others:
The touch-keyboard overlay works well, but of course I want it to disappear automatically when it is not needed. So i wrote a batch file, which does exactly the above. Here is what the batch-file is doing:
  1. check if there is an open connection on the VNC-port
  2. yes: open touch keyboard
  3. no: close touch keyboard (For closing the touch-keyboard there is an exe "killIT.exe", it does exactly what the name suggests)
So here is my batch-file:
Code:
@echo off

set keyboard=off

:start

cls

set var=

FOR /F "tokens=*" %%A IN ('netstat -an ^| FIND "ESTABLISHED" ^|FIND ":45900"') DO SET var=%%A

if "%var%"=="" (

    echo No connection

    if %keyboard% == on (

        echo deactivating keyboard

        start "test" /b /i "C:\Program Files (x86)\Chessware\TouchIt\killit.exe"

        set keyboard=off   

        )

    GOTO exit

    )

echo connection established

if %keyboard%==off (

    echo activating keyboard

    start "test" /b /i "C:\Program Files (x86)\Chessware\TouchIt\touchit.exe"

    set keyboard=on

)

:exit

TIMEOUT /T 5

GOTO start
Some hints:​
  1. If you don't have an english OS, you have to translate "ESTABLISHED" (eg german: HERGESTELLT)
  2. Change the port to your VNC-port (standard: 5900)
  3. the command timeout only works on windows vista and above
OK, so now I have a nice batch file, but I don't want to have any opened cmd window on my htpc. The solution:
The batch file is opened from a vbs script file (simply save the following lines as startbatch.vbs):
Code:
Set WshShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
WshShell.Run chr(34) & "C:\keyboard.bat" & Chr(34), 0
Set WshShell = Nothing

Yeah, thats finally it! The touch-interface disappears when i don't need it, and automaticaly starts when a VNC connection is established

Here is a list of all the needed software:
Thank you for reading!
 
Last edited:

cabala

Portal Pro
October 30, 2007
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Hi,

your solution is very interesting! I tried but it's difficult for me to understand how to create and implement the keyboard layout. Could you explain this?

Thanks and congratulations!
 

KuLuYuk

Portal Member
March 20, 2012
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Hi,

thanks for your congratulations, i almost forgot about this thread ;-)
I have to admit that I switche to a solution which is much easier to implement, in fact it's just one app:
Splashtop for android. You will need the Splashtop server and the Splashtop android client to run this application.
The connection speed of is just amazing, you could nearly watch live-tv on your tablet if you wanted to...
I also purchased the splashtop "productivity pack", this gives you the possibility to create your own keyboard overlay
on the client application. It's really a shame, that the productivity pack is sold per year... so I will have to pay every
year until I find another solution.

For me it was worth the money, but of corse everyone has to decide for himself.

Here you can see my setup:
1) Splashtop client
Splahstop Client.jpg
2) Splashtop client with productivity pack (keyboard overlay)
Splashtop productivity pack.jpg

If you are still interested in my chessware keyboard layout, i will look for it somewhere on my harddrive.
 
Last edited:

cabala

Portal Pro
October 30, 2007
64
15
Home Country
Italy Italy
Hi,

I tried Splashtop solution, very cool! I was able to design my personal layout and it works perfectly. Anyway, I'm interested to try the UltraVNC solution too, so it would be great if you could send me your Chessware Keyboard Layout.

Thank you for all!
 

KuLuYuk

Portal Member
March 20, 2012
24
11
39
Home Country
Germany Germany
Hi again

I attached my a file which contains 2 keyboard layouts, one for the top, one for the bottom of the screen. The layout is very basic and simple as it was only a
test. Place all the files to "C:\Users\Public\Documents\Touch-It"

Then open setup and set the two keyboards to startup:
Setup.jpg


I hope this will help you. If you have further questions don't hesitate to ask.
 

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