Audiobook Streaming on JellyBean - Solution without ROOT access
This outlines a solution to people with Android 4.1 and above who previously could stream their Audiobook collection to their Phone/Tablet using ICS or earlier.
There are a lot of threads about 'user access' to CIFS/SMB having been 'broken' in JellyBean, and giving very useful suggestions to fix this, but all seem to require a 'rooted' device. I suspect in most cases it is the inability to select and stream Audio/Video files from a networked source which is a main cause for concern.
This solution will work without root access.
Prior to JellyBean one could often point an Audio Book player to a shared folder on a computer or NAS, and access a collection of audio files from a folder on an external device. This is no longer possible for most of the players currently available.
I recently bought a Tablet running Android 4.2.2, and have tried many players, up till now, without success. Of course one can still transfer all files for a particular book to your device, and play them that way, but this is wasteful of time and device memory if you have your collection on a networked system.
Some 'File Managers' can access your networked audio/video files, but invariably will stop playing at the end of the selected file. Not much good for Audio Books.
Today I found a free App that solves this issue.
'Network Audio Player', (NAP) available free from PlayStore has built in CIFS/SMB networking capabilities.
It will identify your network WORKGROUP, and you can select/play individual files, and more importantly a whole directory for addition to the programs 'Playlist'.
The program remembers the last file and it's position, essential for listening to Audio books, and you can quickly manipulate your files. Audio files will play in the background.
The only thing it lacks is a 'sleep timer', which is very useful for book listening. All is not lost, however, there is another free application available to do this, called 'Sleep Timer'. So once your Audio Book is playing, just open 'Sleep Timer', set how long you want it to operate, and at the end of that time it automatically 'pauses' the audio play.
The 'Network Audio Player' interface is not, in my opinion, as easy to use as a dedicated Audio Book player, but not difficult. The 'trick'' is to select 'Network', then navigate to the folder containing the audio book you want to listen to , but do NOT open the folder. Highlight the entry, with a long press, then select 'Add to playlist'. Then select the Playlist option, and choose your file where you want to start. Finally select 'Playing' and all the controls you need are displayed, including volume and position sliders, plus play/pause and navigation buttons.
The above is equally applicable to music files of course.
Owners of Archos Tablets already have network (SMB) access via 'Archos Music', and this is also available as a 'paid' App. This is mostly satisfactory for Audio Books, in combination with 'Sleep Timer', but it does not remember the last track/position once it has been closed, so not ideal.
Playing video files via a Network, on JellyBean is catered for by many available standard File Apps such as Easy File Explorer, where the playing of just one file at a time is less problematic than accessing the multiple files of an Audio Book. Once Again, Archos Tablets have the Archos Video Player as standard, which allows the viewing and playing of network share files. It too can be purchased as a paid APP.
I hope this proves useful to Audio Book fans. It solved my problem very nicely.