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Using a Roku PhotoBridge as a Thin Client


The ideal thin client hardware would be compact, have a high-speed network connection, have high-esolution output, and be inexpensive. The Roku PhotoBridge meets all of these criteria.

For the software, VNC fits the bill. For the server, RealVNC is available for multiple platforms and is recommended. For the client side (the PhotoBridge) use VncSix.

You can keep things simple and have one server shared by multiple users, or set up lots of VNC servers (perhaps multiple virtual ones on the same Unix system) so that each user can have his or her own dedicated server.


Unpack and plug in your PhotoBridge if you haven't already done so. Connect it to the network before plugging in the power. It should connect to your network automatically. Select the highest resolution supported by your display, usually 1080i for a high-definition TV (HDTV).

Place VncSix on a Compact Flash card or on a share visible to the PhotoBridge. You should see VncSix in the list of applications on that share in the PhotoBridge GUI.

Configuring the Server

Install RealVnc on the system you have selected to be a server. Ideally it will have at least a 100Mbps connection to your network, though 10Mbps will work too. Launch the VNC server and enter a password. Take note of the server's IP address, server number (on Unix), and password. The IP address can be found by placing the mouse over the Vnc icon in the system tray under windows.

If you have a Vnc client installed on another computer, test the server by connecting from that computer first to ensure that the server address, server number, and password are all configured as expected.

Configuring the Client

Make a copy of the VncSix.roku file, and give it a name to match the server. We'll call it Server.roku. Next, edit Server.roku and replace
./VncSix &
./VncSix {server-ip}:{server-number} &
Next, log in to the PhotoBridge and change to the directory where you installed VncSix. Run storepasswd like so:
./storepasswd {server-ip}:{server-number} {server-password}
Now you are ready to go. Click on the "Server" icon that is now in the PhotoBridge GUI and it will connect to the server. Move the mouse with the arrow keys and left-click with the "select" button. For more information on other keys and VncSix usage information please visit the VncSix home page.

Last modified on 23 Nov 2006 by AO

Copyright © 2024 Andrew Oliver