Fire TV as a Web Server

Obviously I’m biased, but the Fire TV is my new favorite streaming device. And in a cable-free (for 7 years!) household with 3 children, I’ve tried them all. Other than being a slick little box (made by a great team ;- ) its also a true Android device. Of course there’s a great Appstore, but some of us like to think a little outside that box. Fortunately, there’s no need to Jailbreak or otherwise hack your Fire TV — just enable the Developer features in Settings and side-load to your heart’s content.

ADB works, with the slight caveat that you need to connect over TCP instead of USB — but there’s no additional software needed to do it. Check out the instructions on the Developer site.

Once that’s done, it turns out that the Fire TV makes for a handy little web server. I was able to pull the Jobo.TV APK off their website and side-load it, unmodified onto my retail Fire TV. The Launcher won’t present apps that don’t come from the Appstore, but you can still kick it off from the Settings > Applications menu using your Fire TV remote control. It’ll stay running until next time you reboot, and by default it runs on 8080. I couldn’t find the configuration for the Jobo server (although I didn’t look very hard), but you’ll want to serve up HTML pages using the get_file.jobo script. A simple walk-through…

  • Connect ADB to the FireTV: adb connect [FireTVIP]
  • Use ADB to copy your HTML page to the shared directory: adb push YourPage.html /sdcard/Jobo.TV/Shared/YourPage.html
  • Using a browser on another device in your network, navigate to http:// FireTVIP:8080/files/get_file.jobo?filename=/storage/emulated/0/Jobo.TV/Shared/YourPage.html

You can serve up images, text, media and static HTML (with Javascript) internally without issues. I’ve had intermittent success exposing the server to the broader internets. That’s not really my use case, so I haven’t explored it, but it appears to be a limitation of the Jobo server. Here’s what I did with mine…

Screen shot 2014-12-01 at 9.32.32 PM

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