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Level 10

reading a book on a TV

Hi - 

this topic is a placeholder - I had created a similar topic in 2017 which got a little discussion, and then posted a more focused question here a few weeks ago (which got some helpful answers), but it was deleted accidentally as part of some admin work.

So, the question was roughly to get a sense of whether it is useful to pursue reading books on a TV screen.  I think some of the answers were either very negative or skeptical, pointing out that it's just not very practical-seeming.  While I sort of took this point, I still wanted to know what it would be like first-hand.  After all, even for reading on a phone, my eyes are a bit old and I tend to use larger font.  Why not just try this on a TV, even if it uses a font that looks oddly large to others?

I did try one station that cost me a small amount of money (one-time) which was Holy Bible K.J.V.  I'm looking at it now, and is not out of the question as a format.  There are similar issues to what I have on my phone, which is that there is a learning curve to being able to navigate.  I haven't really tried it in-depth though.  I won't claim that it's great, just that at first look I don't immediately dismiss it.
15 Replies
Highlighted
Level 8

Re: reading a book on a TV

I started this topic a long, long time ago.....  see  https://forums.roku.com/viewtopic.php?f ... =overdrive

I thought we might be able to enjoy publicly licensed e-books, audio-books, and movies on our Roku's with an Overdrive channel.  In my case, the New York Public Library has tons and tons of audio and video content.
Nothing ever came of it.
If you click through the link to the Overdrive blog, you will see it is broken. I checked WaybackMachine and it looks like it was never scraped and archived.
If you have ever linked a desktop or laptop computer to a really large TV or monitor to display textual material, you will find that the reading experience isn't pretty. That's what we have e-readers, or 8-10" tablets for. I did think that books with graphical content might be great on a TV ..... maybe maps or charts, illustrations, or beautiful photographs on a big screen, to augment a paper book, or an e-book on a tablet ....  especially for my aging eyes.
But i can understand why the general interest was probably nil. 
By the way; if you are interested in free movies (if available from your local library) check out the kanopy channel. It is great. Just make sure you have a valid library card.
"One great use of words is to hide our thoughts." Voltaire
"We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out." Winston Churchill
Highlighted
Level 10

Re: reading a book on a TV

"Pompey" wrote:
I started this topic a long, long time ago.....  see  https://forums.roku.com/viewtopic.php?f ... =overdrive

I thought we might be able to enjoy publicly licensed e-books, audio-books, and movies on our Roku's with an Overdrive channel.  In my case, the New York Public Library has tons and tons of audio and video content.
Nothing ever came of it.
If you click through the link to the Overdrive blog, you will see it is broken. I checked WaybackMachine and it looks like it was never scraped and archived.
If you have ever linked a desktop or laptop computer to a really large TV or monitor to display textual material, you will find that the reading experience isn't pretty. That's what we have e-readers, or 8-10" tablets for. I did think that books with graphical content might be great on a TV ..... maybe maps or charts, illustrations, or beautiful photographs on a big screen, to augment a paper book, or an e-book on a tablet ....  especially for my aging eyes.
But i can understand why the general interest was probably nil. 
By the way; if you are interested in free movies (if available from your local library) check out the kanopy channel. It is great. Just make sure you have a valid library card.

The audio book side of this idea sounds intriguing.  I can imagine putting on such a book while one does housework.

On the overall idea of it, I'm not sure if I've heard of  overdrive, though Rakuten itself may be familiar (alternative to kindle? or do I have it mixed up with something else).

I don't think the idea of reading a book on Roku is limited to any one effort.  As you say, for now I'm assuming that it's not necessarily a really good way to go, though I remain curious to see if someone starts a channel or two, perhaps with a few free old ebooks.  Looking at this from a trial app point of view, the bible channel that I did buy seems "ok" at first glance, though probably has the drawbacks mentioned, if I really tried to read for more than a minute or two.
Highlighted
Level 8

Re: reading a book on a TV

OverDrive is a multimedia app for access to publicly licensed content available at participating libraries. It has been around for a long time. It recently came under the Rakuten umbrella. There is an app for Android, IOS, Windows 10, Windows legacy. You can use it on your PC or your phone or tablet.  Check http://www.overdrive.com. All you need is a valid library card and an online account with your local library.
As for audio-books, when at home I listen to them all the time on my Roku, casting them from my PC either with PlayOn or Roku Media Player, when I want to hear the better sound quality from my AVR and speakers. Plex will let you do that, as well. I listen whether i purchased the audio-books, or borrowed from the library. You could also do this with a Bluetooth enabled AVR, from your phone or tablet.
Try your local library and see if they participate with Overdrive. They might also partner with cloudLibrary or SimplyE. There are plenty of Bibles available electronically for free at a library, from King James to New Catholic. Plenty available at Google Docs, Amazon Kindle, and B & N Nook, too. As for listening, I just searched for Holy Bible audio-books from the NYPL and found 112 hits for various versions.
"One great use of words is to hide our thoughts." Voltaire
"We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out." Winston Churchill
0 Kudos
Highlighted
Level 10

Re: reading a book on a TV

"Pompey" wrote:
OverDrive is a multimedia app for access to publicly licensed content available at participating libraries. It has been around for a long time. It recently came under the Rakuten umbrella. There is an app for Android, IOS, Windows 10, Windows legacy. You can use it on your PC or your phone or tablet.  Check http://www.overdrive.com. All you need is a valid library card and an online account with your local library.
As for audio-books, when at home I listen to them all the time on my Roku, casting them from my PC either with PlayOn or Roku Media Player, when I want to hear the better sound quality from my AVR and speakers. Plex will let you do that, as well. I listen whether i purchased the audio-books, or borrowed from the library. You could also do this with a Bluetooth enabled AVR, from your phone or tablet.
Try your local library and see if they participate with Overdrive. They might also partner with cloudLibrary or SimplyE. There are plenty of Bibles available electronically for free at a library, from King James to New Catholic. Plenty available at Google Docs, Amazon Kindle, and B & N Nook, too. As for listening, I just searched for Holy Bible audio-books from the NYPL and found 112 hits for various versions.

Hi - thanks for the points.  On the one hand, there's a wealth of information here for me to digest, and I did go dig up a couple of library cards that I have kept but not used over the last couple of decades.

On the other hand, the main thing I am after here has nothing to do with libraries or saving money.  I just want a very brief experiment to try reading or listening to e-books via Roku.  What I mean by that is: Which Roku channels can I install, hassle-free, to do this and perform the experiment for a few minutes, max?  (It is not a hassle to pay a very small amount, as an experiment). 

I do understand that I may have to meet the situation halfway by seeing about these areas where a bit of hobbyist electronics effort is needed, but first I thought I'd see about solutions that do not involve my laptop, special setups, etc.  This is particularly because in the end I suspect that reading on the screen may not be to my taste for reasons given by others, and underscored somewhat by the one channel I've been able to find that allowed me to read one book.  Still, I must admit, I did not completely hate the one channel I installed (I'll have to go back to it soon and give another try to a few more paragraphs), so I won't count out the whole idea completely, just yet. 
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Highlighted
Level 8

Re: reading a book on a TV

TAGS: KINDLE; EPUB; EREADER; SMART TV BOOK READER

I have been PESTERING Amazon and Samsung and Roku and anyone else to add ebook functionality to TV's - SINCE 2012 !!    I'm beginning to think it will never happen except by workarounds.  "They" say you can read it on your hand-held devices or "mirror" the screen from your handheld device to the TV.  Yah, right.   Some devices can, many cannot.  And of those that can, 90% of their owners have no idea how to manage the screen mirroring for anything but videos, if that.

I hooked an old, obsolete Pandigital Planet tablet to the TV using the tablet's HDMI output and controlled the tablet with a wireless mouse/keyboard combo from across the room.  

That was about it.  None of my phones or newer tablets have HDMI output.

I even used a $35 Raspberry Pi 3 running Raspbian and Iceweasel to access http://read.amazon.com successfully.   But can Samsung make the PROPRIETARY Web browser on their $1000 50" (circa 2012) "Smart" TV do that?  No.  The browser is not even HTML5 capable.  The CPU in the Samsung TV is about the same speed as that of the Raspberry Pi and only has about 1GB of RAM.  Pathetic.

I think I know WHY all the big companies don't want to put ebooks on TV screens:  #1 - they can't collect any money from advertising while you're reading because if they interrupted your BOOK, you'd curse them to **bleep** and gone.

Heck, you can't even get Kindle app installed on Amazon's own Firestick TV device without side-loading it with a third party app.  Roku EPUB reader? or Kindle reader for Roku?  Nope.  There was ONE eReader app for Roku, but it didn't work well and I think the developer abandoned it.

Anyone with vision problems?  Forget about it.  Amazon hasn't even bothered to add immersion reading capability to the Kindle for Windows PC's app.  I have to run an ANDROID EMULATOR (BlueStacks) on Windows just to be able to read and listen simultaneously on my PC.  I can do the same on my phone, but hey, I have a 5.5" screen and the phone speaker sounds tinny.  BIG SCREEN, BIG SOUND, - Not on Roku, Not on Netgear TV box, Not on FIrestick TV.  Not on Samsung TV.  Does Amazon care? No - they want to sell more Kindle tablets.  They TELL me "it's in development", but since when?  We'll have colonies on Mars first, I think.

So, think you can buy an Android TV box with Google Play Store access and install Kindle for Android on it?  Guess again.  Wasted $70 on that effort.  The Android TV box appears as a TV to the Amazon or Google stores and the Kindle for Android app is for PHONES.  It won't accept the TV box, Android or not, as a compatible device.

Here is the solution:  Buy an x86-based mini PC running Windows 10 with HDMI output.  Hook it to the TV.  Install BlueStacks Android emulator (which pretends it's a Pixel 3 when the Google Play store looks at it)  on the Windows mini PC.  Connect the mini PC to the Internet with Ethernet or Wi-fi, any way you can do it.  Add a Bluetooth mouse/keyboard combination.  Now your TV shows the mini-PC running Windows and you can do all your normal Windows things on the TV.  Log into Amazon and order Kindle books WITH Audible narration if they have it.  Then start up Bluestacks in Windows, and install the Kindle for Android App INSIDE BlueStacks, and run it to listen to your Kindle books with Immersion-reading audio, on WHATEVER SIZE TV you want!  Or you can download free Epub books and read them using Calibre or CoolReader or even the EpubReader for Firefox.   Read your ebooks with or without sound, but WITHOUT COMMERCIALS.  Make the text as big as you like.

Then, read your books on the big screen while waiting for Roku, Amazon, Google, Netgear, Plex, Kodi, and others to catch up and develop the eReader apps that should have been created as soon as ebooks came out.  Either that or learn to program and code the app yourself and sell it.  Or do like I did and keep finding workarounds.

PLEASE POST A REPLY TO THIS IF YOU FOUND AN EBOOK READER APP THAT CAN EVEN READ STANDARD NON-DRM EPUB FORMATS ON A ROKU.

 

 

Highlighted
Level 8

Re: reading a book on a TV

For those who haven't heard of OverDrive, it is used by many public libraries to manage downloadable content from the libraries.  The downloaded content has DRM (digital rights management) that restricts how many copies the library can "lend out" and also how long the user can "borrow" it on their device before the DRM time limit is up and access to the borrowed content becomes disabled.

Level 10

Re: reading a book on a TV


@Colly wrote:

TAGS: KINDLE; EPUB; EREADER; SMART TV BOOK READER

I have been PESTERING Amazon and Samsung and Roku and anyone else to add ebook functionality to TV's - SINCE 2012 !!   

[....]

 


You've made some good points here, and done some scoping well beyond what most would do.  I'll just reply a bit scattershot:

- Amazon is generally not responsive except here and there: agree.
- In my view responsibility for certain things falls through the cracks quite often between the channel owner and Roku.  I can't count the number of times someone on this board has responded to me, when I have shouted out an issue with Amazon, to take it to Amazon.  Why would I do that?  I knew before I opened my mouth on the roku boards that the issue (whatever it was) was hopeless or close to being so.  The idea of bringing it to Roku discussion is that discussion could take place here with less interference (and in the end I can note that Amazon deleted a lot of their boards), and there is real value, sometimes, to shaming a company that is falling short in serving its paying customers.
- Anyway, when there is an issue with a Roku channel, it would be good to have a logical designated place at least to lay out the issue for whomever might want to discuss.  Perhaps that is simply the Roku forums, I have lost track (it has been years since I have focused on these things much).
- For my own book-reading and book-listening purposes, I don't particularly care if it is for-pay or free.  I just wanted it to work.
- I did find, as I kind of expected, that one or two channels had set up the Bible so that it can be read on Roku.  Offhand I couldn't find the one today that back then I was able to get to work, but just noting - it had been done.
- The recommended half-measures that you mention were some of the responses you got made me think that Roku is missing a chance to stay on the path of timely innovation.
- I did run across one or two audible e-book channels when I looked today.  The two I tried did not work properly at all.  Even if they had, they would not satisfy the gist of your own points about reading channels.
- Getting back to Amazon a bit, goodness it took a long time for them to get onboard, back in the day, with subtitles and closed captions.
- Pet Peeve - incredibly minor, but to me, illustrative: going back more or less to the beginning of the Roku video player, I kept wondering when we could get Amazon to fix things so that the description of the movie or TV show wasn't cut off mid-screen.  Over the years I got various answers on this Roku forum (take it to Amazon, try this different Roku player, etc.).  Never got fixed.  I didn't expect it to, and I still don't.  To me it's all just down to: "one or more people either don't care to do their jobs, or they care very much not to do their jobs".
- this topic sort of peripherally raises the question of Amazon Kindle purchases and whether they could simply be read on Roku (or some other device), or listened to.
- as far as I know, we are still not at the point of having DVD bonus features fully offered as part of a rental, but I really haven't researched much lately.  Not that relevant, just reflecting I guess.
- Maybe Roku team is trying to avoid making the device into a remote controlled web browser?  I haven't tried to think through all the issues they must face, and I don't know if I would be much good at it, but given the use of the Roku to watch video and listen to music and spoken word, I don't think it's too much to ask if maybe there is a place for listening to audio books and reading books via Roku.  However, maybe there is something I am missing.  If so, I hope they will try to tell us what.

Highlighted
Level 8

Re: reading a book on a TV

Found this 6 year old blog entry about Overdrive coming to Roku:

https://goodereader.com/blog/audiobooks/overdrive-launches-free-roku-channel

It's now 2020 as I post this.  Did OverDrive ever get a channel on Roku?  Or maybe it's now Libby?

I couldn't find them.  (sigh)

Also still grumbling about no Immersion Reading for Kindle books with concurrently playing Audible content on smart TV's, Android TV boxes, Windows 10 PC's.  ONLY on Android and iOS phones and Android Emulators like BlueStacks that can run Kindle for Android and trick it into treating it as a phone.  Please do NOT mention Whispersync to me every time I bring up Immersion reading.  They are NOT the same thing.  Also, please do not tell me that Alexa can read my Kindle books to me.  I've had Text-to-Speech reading stories to me since 1980 on my TRS-80 before IBM made their first PC.  The voices are only a little better and still read like robots.  Alexa, reading aloud the text of "Through Wolf's Eyes" by Jane Lindskold, will demonstrate the huge shortcomings of AI reading text aloud during the very first line of the story, when the wolf howl ( AAA - ROOO! AAA - ROOO! ) is read by Alexa as all the capital letters being shouted out INDIVIDUALLY.  The Audible professional human reader does NOT do that.

Highlighted
Level 8

Re: reading a book on a TV

Here is the EASIEST way that I have found to get Kindle Immersion Reading displayed with sound on my TV:

Requirements:

1- A home LAN (network) with Wi-Fi

2- Android phone connected to that home LAN's Wi-Fi

3- A Google Chromecast device connected to the TV and to the home LAN's Wi-Fi (important note: it MUST be connected to the same SSID on the home LAN as the phone)

Open the Google Home app on the phone and select the device (your TV with the Chromecast dongle), then tap the "Cast my screen" option for that device.

Once the screen mirroring begins, hit the Home key on your phone and start the Kindle app.

Once the Kindle app is open, choose a book from your library.  If you choose one that has the accompanying Audible narration available, make sure the narration is also downloaded.

Start the narration (Immersion reading) in the Kindle app and you should be reading and hearing the Kindle book on your TV.

Even the oldest models of Chromecast dongles can do handle this.