Firefox for Android: Casting videos and Roku support – Ready to test in Nightly

Firefox for Android Nightly builds now support casting HTML5 videos from a web page to a TV via a connected Roku streaming player. Using the system is simple, but it does require you to install a viewer application on your Roku device. Firefox support for the Roku viewer and the viewer itself are both currently pre-release. We’re excited to invite our Nightly channel users to help us test these new features, share feedback and file any bugs so we can continue to make improvements to performance and functionality.

Setup

To begin testing, first you’ll need to install the viewer application to your Roku. The viewer app, called Firefox for Roku Nightly, is currently a private channel. You can install it via this link: Firefox Nightly

Once installed, try loading this test page into your Firefox for Android Nightly browser: Casting Test

When Firefox has discovered your Roku, you should see the Media Control Bar with Cast and Play icons:

casting-onload

The Cast icon on the left of the video controls allows you to send the video to a device. You can also long-tap on the video to get the context menu, and cast from there too.

Hint: Make sure Firefox and the Roku are on the same Wifi network!

Once you have sent a video to a device, Firefox will display the Media Control Bar in the bottom of the application. This allows you to pause, play and close the video. You don’t need to stay on the original web page either. The Media Control Bar will stay visible as long as the video is playing, even as you change tabs or visit new web pages.

fennec-casting-pageaction-active

You’ll notice that Firefox displays an “active casting” indicator in the URL Bar when a video on the current web page is being cast to a device.

Limitations and Troubleshooting

Firefox currently limits casting HTML5 video in H264 format. This is one of the formats most easily handled by Roku streaming players. We are working on other formats too.

Some web sites hide or customize the HTML5 video controls and some override the long-tap menu too. This can make starting to cast difficult, but the simple fallback is to start playing the video in the web page. If the video is H264 and Firefox can find your Roku, a “ready to cast” indicator will appear in the URL Bar. Just tap on that to start casting the video to your Roku.

If Firefox does not display the casting icons, it might be having a problem discovering your Roku on the network. Make sure your Android device and the Roku are on the same Wifi network. You can load about:devices into Firefox to see what devices Firefox has discovered.

This is a pre-release of video casting support. We need your help to test the system. Please remember to share your feedback and file any bugs. Happy testing!

9 Comments

  1. Firefox Nightly for Android now casts videos to Roku - Liliputing said,

    June 6, 2014 @ 11:33 am

    […] is now testing a Roku casting feature in the pre-release version of its mobile web […]

  2. Robert said,

    June 6, 2014 @ 12:53 pm

    Any plans for Android multiple screens API support? With Android you can display different content to another display, be it a HDMI output or a Miracast screen. There is a demo on the Android SDK that shows how to override de default mirroring mode and display another View

  3. Ben Combee said,

    June 6, 2014 @ 1:20 pm

    Awesome news! Any idea on if this will show up on desktop as well (maybe as an extension)?

  4. Mark Finkle said,

    June 6, 2014 @ 4:24 pm

    Robert – Work is underway in this bug: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=992964
    (and the dependent bug)

  5. Mark Finkle said,

    June 6, 2014 @ 4:25 pm

    Ben – The code in Fennec is all JS, so it’s possible. We need to move some of the JS components to Toolkit so Desktop can use them too.

  6. Epicanis said,

    June 6, 2014 @ 9:47 pm

    I’ve got a h.264/aac “.mp4″ file that’s 480×360 that I’m trying to play from a local file on my Roku 2500X. I get the “cast” button and the roku shows that it’s receiving a signal, but I just get “Media Error: the media format is unknown or unsupported. Code(-5)”

    Is this a bug that needs reporting, or am I missing some requirement about the video (size, perhaps?)

  7. Mark Finkle said,

    June 6, 2014 @ 10:09 pm

    Epicanis – “that I’m trying to play from a local file on my Roku 2500X”

    How are you doing that? How is Firefox loading a web page with that video on it? Video casting just sends a URL from Firefox to the Roku. The Roku viewer then loads the URL itself. What type of URL is your video source?

  8. Epicanis said,

    June 6, 2014 @ 10:44 pm

    (Update: looks like a bug, I reported it. The “screencast” icon has now disappeared unexplainably from the interface even on the known-working test video page linked here and I cannot seem to get it back, even by force-stopping and data-clearing Nightly on my device, so I can test no further and am not sure if the disappearing icon is itself worth reporting given the paucity of information I have about the problem at the moment. Thanks, though, looks like a promising feature.)

  9. Mark Finkle said,

    June 6, 2014 @ 11:20 pm

    Epicanis – Try using “about:devices” to see if Firefox has discovered your Roku. If not, it could be a networking issue.

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