Tutorial: FTP Server on Shield Android TV

Note: Video tutorial is on the bottom of the page.  Also, I’ve made an Android TV repack of the APK that will allow the app to appear in the Leanback Launcher and not require Sideload Launcher.  Get it here.

Moving files to (apks, zips, roms, etc) and from (screenshots, videos, game recordings) Shield Android TV and your computer is a need for most Shield Android TV owners.

There are at least a dozen ways to accomplish this task; swapping out microSD cards, USB flash drives, “syncing” with Drive or Dropbox and more.  But I think using FTP (a server on the Shield TV and a client on your PC) is the easiest, fastest most reliable way to move files around.

Pre-Requisites

  • FTP Server (always available at http://tinyurl.com/ftpapk) – It is now officially available available on Google Play here.
  • FTP Client
    • Windows: I use Directory Opus on Windows since it integrates FTP into the file manager like it is just another drive – truly the easiest way to work but you can use other clients like WinSCP, FileZilla, SmartFTP, WS-FTP.
    • Mac: I don’t know anything about Mac, but recommended FTP clients may include Transit, Cyberduck.
  • Sideload Launcher or similar to access non-Android TV apps already installed
  • Basic knowledge of sideloading an APK

Install and Configure FTP Server

  1. Get the FTP server APK over to your Shield Android TV.  Probably the easiest is to drop it on a flash drive or microSD card.  Use Drive or whatever method you’re already using to get the APK file over there.  View our video tutorial.
  2. Install the APK using a file manager like ES File Explorer or AnExplore.
  3. Via Sideload Launcher or equivalent, run the FTP Server.
  4. Navigate to the SETTINGS in the upper right corner.
  5. Select NETWORK INTERFACE.  Choose how your Shield TV is connected to your network.  Likely you’re using a hard wired Ethernet connection, but if you’re using WIFI then select that.
    Ftp server_20150927_150916
  6. In SETTINGS, either check ANONYMOUS USER (not recommended) or set a USERNAME and PASSWORD.
  7. In SETTINGS check HIGH PRIORITY SERVICE so Android won’t kill the server under low memory conditions.
    Ftp server_20150927_151005
  8. Set a PORT for the FTP access.  I use port 2226.
  9. Set a HOME DIRECTORY – this is the path you’ll see when connecting to the FTP server.  SDCARD is probably what you want.
    Ftp server_20150927_150947

     

  10. Back out of SETTINGS, press down on the controller (note: the power button doesn’t highlight) and hit the A button.  You will now see your FTP server running.  Note the FTP address (i.e. 192.168.1.xx:2226)
  11. That’s it.  It won’t restart after a full reboot or loss of power – but it WILL survive sleep mode (which is awesome).  If you need to restart it, just use Sideload Launcher, select FTP SERVER and hit the power button on the screen.

Accessing the FTP Server

  • Windows (spot check, basic access)
    • Hit START then RUN or the search box (depending on your version or Windows) or use WIN+R on Windows 8.
      run
    • Enter in the FTP address from the Shield TV:ftp://192.168.1.28:2226 (your numbers may vary)
    • You will be asked to authenticate to your FTP server.  Use your user name and password you assigned.
      authenticate
    • If all goes well, you’ll see your Shield TV folders appear.
      ftpwindows
    • All is working well.  Technically you could just access your files from here if you wanted, but it is far easier to use a file manager or dedicated client.
  • Windows (Directory Opus)
    Directory Opus is an amazing product.  The integrated FTP into the file system, insanely powerful renamer tool and much much more make it a perfect solution for interfacing with a media device like the Shield Android TV.  Read my full review and find out why.
    • Install Directory Opus.  Accept defaults (if you don’t want it to be started on default, obviously uncheck that).  Make sure you’re installing the PRO version.
    • On the splash screen, select NEW LISTER. A tree with dual listers will appear.
    • Select FTP from the menu and select EDIT ADDRESS BOOK.
      dopus_add
    • Click the NEW SITE icon and fill out the server name, IP address, port and username/password accordingly.  Hit OK.
      dopus_addsite
    • Close the FTP address book.
    • Click on either lister and then select the FTP->Shield (16GB) – or whatever you called it – in the tree view on the left.
    • Provided your FTP server is running – you will see your folder show up in the lister.
    • Now you can perform any file operations – copy, rename, move, etc. all with the Directory Opus power tools.  Check out this mass renaming of NES roms where I’m removing the (U) from the filename on over 900 rom images.

[youtube id=”jeY0ggsTlg4″ align=”center” maxwidth=”600″]

13 Responses to Tutorial: FTP Server on Shield Android TV

  1. 许仙 Zhang says:

    Hi thx for tutoriel , but if I want to write on my USB key on the Shield refuses me writing

    • administrator says:

      You don’t need to use FTP anymore, as Shield TV has samba support now. But you’ll only get full access if you adopt the storage and perform a “move data” to it.

      • 许仙 Zhang says:

        thank you for the answer

      • Hi. I recently purchased a Nvidia Shield TV. I updated it and I can access to its content vía SMB. ¿Is there any way (I don’t mind rooting it) to make external (non adopted) storage to be writable vía SMB? The problem I’m facing is that I have 1.3Tb of content that I like to copy through USB from my PC (I just get 6MB/s through Samba), but once it’s done, add new content through Samba.

        I have read the FAQ, but I’m not sure if the X-Plore app is just for copying using the same app.

        Thanks!

        • administrator says:

          Unfortunately no.

          • OK. Thank you very much. I’ll consider getting a NAS for external storage then.

            I hope Nvidia or the community come with a solution. Or maybe a change in Android N.

            Thanks!

          • OK, I finally came out with a solution! There is an app in Play Store called VirtualHere USB Server. Installed in Nvidia Shield TV, and downloading and configuring it on your PC, mounts a drive on your PC which allow you to copy content. I just tried it and works perfectly. The problem is that only works for one external storage. More than that it costs 39/49$ (which I think is too much, having complete NAS’s from 90€).

            I think it’s just a matter of time that community or even Nvidia come up with a free and easier solution.

            Thanks!!

  2. Brett Philp says:

    Tried these instructions but didn’t work for me. Instead I found if I rooted the shield then used “Root FTP Server” from http://waterdev.com/apps/rftp that FTP service worked. I found that no matter what server app I used the port never opened on the service except for rftp. Works great.

    • administrator says:

      It really isn’t even needed anymore – since they have SMB support built in now. Still, some people prefer FTP. Unfortunately as Android gets more and more locked down, unofficial solutions are becoming harder and harder.

  3. I find myself having to go turn on the file sharing when I need to copy something (and it turns itself off after some time), which means changing the TV while my girlfriend is busy using it. What method can give me a persistent “always on” access into the Shield, i.e. the way my home server works?

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