Tips & Tricks: Play Video You Already Own, Plus Ultraviolet and Netflix Videos, On Your Fire

May 9, 2012

Did you know you can play video you already own on your Kindle Fire, and without being a tech whiz, learning how to “sideload” content, or installing extra software?

As long as the video is in MP4 format (the same format that will play on Apple devices) and doesn’t have DRM, all you need is your Kindle Fire, a micro USB cable (these only cost a few dollars, if you don’t already have one), and a Windows computer.

Here’s the simple how-to:

1. Connect your Fire to your Windows computer with the micro USB cable, and turn on the Fire.

2. When prompted by Windows to answer what you’d like to do, answer “Open a folder to view files”, “Open”, or “Explore” (depending on your version of Windows — whichever selection will open up your Fire’s file directory as shown in the screen shot above).

3. Now you can drag and drop or copy and paste your non-DRM MP4 videos from your computer into the Video folder on the Fire.

4. When you’re done, go to My Computer on your Windows computer, right-click the Kindle Fire item, and select “Eject” to safely disconnect your Fire.

5. To play a copied video, on the Fire, go to Apps > Gallery and tap the Videos tab. Tap the desired video to play it.

And that’s all there is to it! If you like, you can view a CNET video of the process here.

This is great for home movies, and while it won’t work on videos with DRM (like anything you’ve purchased from iTunes, or most of the ‘digital copy’ videos that come with some DVDs and Blu-rays), that doesn’t mean you’re limited to copying and playing nothing BUT home movies.

Some video producers are finally getting wise to consumer complaints and releasing their titles DRM-free. For example, Louis CK’s smash hit special Live From the Beacon Theater was released exclusively in a digital download format without DRM, and it plays perfectly on my Fire. Also, Fox is developing an Android app (currently in Beta release) that will allow for its ‘digital copy’ files that come bundled with Fox DVDs and Blu-rays to play on any Android device — like the Kindle Fire — so bundled digital copies of movies are just around the bend for your Fire, too.

For most DVDs and Blu-rays with the Ultraviolet digital copy option, you can download the free Flixster Movies app to download and play, or stream, Ultraviolet digital copies on your Fire right now. The Flixster app also allows you to access and stream (though not download) Netflix videos, if you’re a Netflix digital streaming subscriber.

“But wait,” you may be thinking, “isn’t memory space pretty limited on my Fire?” Yes, it is. And to solve that problem, you can pick up an external storage device that has Wi-Fi connectivity to stream content between the drive and your Fire wirelessly, like the Kingston Wi-Drive or Seagate GoFlex Satellite. These wireless, external drives can be used with your other mobile devices, too.

The Wi-Drive comes in 16GB (currently priced at $49.99) and 32GB models (currently priced at $89), and you can download a free companion app to configure and use the Wi-Drive with your Fire. The Kingston Wi-Drive creates a wi-fi connection that can be shared with two other people while you’re using it, and the drive offers support for Apple devices like the iPad and iPhone, and (with the free app installed) Android smart phones and tablets too.

Need even MORE memory? Try the Seagate GoFlex Satellite external drive, currently on sale for under $180, which packs a whopping 500 GB of storage space and the same kind of Wi-fi connectivity as the Kingston Wi-Drive.

Read more about using external, wireless storage with your Fire in an earlier KF on KND post, here.

So don’t sell your Fire short as a great little digital video player; it’s got more and better capabilities than you might have thought.


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One Response to Tips & Tricks: Play Video You Already Own, Plus Ultraviolet and Netflix Videos, On Your Fire

  1. wine racks on September 24, 2012 at 2:12 am

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