Images from Pamukkale - I'll explain why in a bit.
I made some neat discoveries yesterday, thanks to Amazon's allowing Kindle Fire HD owners to install Android apps from "unknown sources" -- meaning sources that are not the Amazon store.
(AFTER getting files from those other sources, I found that Amazon today has the files I wanted, available again, or finally.)
Allowing installation of apps from other sources is a very cool decision for a shopping store like Amazon's. Barnes and Noble, while having a good device in the Nook Tablet HD, hampered its tablet enormously by not allowing this capability (unless you 'root' the device, which can brick it unless you know what you're doing) and while holding press conferences saying they're more open than Amazon. Not.
The Nook's especially hampered, despite the currently best display on a ~7" tablet, since their app store is lacking, they're rigid about other app sources, and they also neglected to add a camera for Skype'g, so comparison reviews have tended to ignore the tablet, even though the B&N tablet does include a micro SD card slot.
However, when you cannot add apps that offer quite a bit, it's a real drawback. I mention this because people often ask why there are fewer reviews of B&N's good HD tablet. They also don't yet have a very competitive ecosystem for it (no music and a much more limited video collection).
And, as one reviewer pointed out today (I'll note a few more, recent comparison reviews soon), no other tablet (except the three Kindle Fires) lets you know what actors are in a current scene when you're watching a movie that's been "X-Rayed" with IMDB information.
About the images above. They're of an unusual place in Pamukkale, Turkey, which I visited back in 2004, and those are terraced calcium pools or travertines near ancient Hierapolis. "Pamukkale means "cotton castle" and comes from "pamuk" for cotton and "kale" for castle, which refers to the large white cliff of Pamukkale. For centuries, the thermal waters there have been considered therapeutic.
The beautiful second image above, from the video, is by Gilbert Jottrand. This blog entry came about because I came across a Youtube video, by Leen Smit, which used a few of my photos (w/ my OK after I heard the flute-like soundtrack used) as well as increasingly better photos which display after mine -- and the last set, by Gilbert Jottrand, is just breathtaking in the way I remember when there, 8 years ago. The first photos show what the brown-white 'cliffs' were like when seen from a distance while approaching them, as well as the gorgeous colors of the pools up close. I decided I'd like to have this video on the Kindle Fire HD tablet.
With this video, which he made in HD, you can use the gear-wheel at bottom right, to choose 1080p if you have a fast connection and an HD monitor, and choose the largest rectangle for full-screen. This ran well on my 24" monitor. Choosing 720p and the 2nd largest rectangle will be good enough for most.
If interested in more info on these calcium terraces, I have a page about it at PBase.
Viewing Youtube videos
Earlier, Kindle Fire HD owners had problems viewing some Youtube videos because Adobe no longer supports Flash Player for mobile systems, and especially not for systems on the later "Ice Cream Sandwich" Android operating system version, v4.x ... These include the Kindle Fire HD and the Google Nexus. Youtube changed something and many files were no longer accessible w/o Adobe Flash Player, for a few days.
If using Amazon's "Silk" browser with Youtube
With the new tablets and with Amazon's Silk browser: -- Unless you set the browser's "Requested website view" to "Automatic" rather than 'desktop' (although 'desktop' is what most of us prefer to see on a non-phone instead of the ugly, plain mobile website versions that 'automatically mobile' can lead you to), Youtube will often require the Adobe Flash Player which doesn't come with the new tablets due to the Adobe decision.
So, to be sure Youtube works for you, set the Amazon's Silk browser's WEB menu's setting to "auto" -- then it'll show you an alternate HTML5 page that will run the video.
(Some of us prefer to use the Dolphin browser along with an older Adobe Flash Player file, to make sure we see flash video on all sites that offer it for Android devices. The guide to doing that is in this blog article.)
So, because of the music and the other sets of photos shown, I wanted this on my Kindle Fire HD (KFHD), and found that the Tubemate app (which Amazon had said was UNavailable the last 3 days until TODAY) is at Amazon's app store once again! and does a GREAT job of downloading Youtube videoclips to the KFHD, to play when not connected to the Net.
If, at the time you look for Tubemate, Amazon's app might not be available (as it was not for the last 3 days), you can try Tubemate's other download-site recommendations page (which is a good list of 3rd party app sites, by the way) at m.tubemate.net/ -- again, it lists a number of 3rd party sites recommended for downloading apps. We're really not limited to the Amazon store (though uninformed people on many gadget sites like to say so), though it's become a very good source of tested apps for Amazon's own tablets. So, I am leaving in, here, this quite confusing info on alternative resources.
Cautions re 3rd party site files
I am always careful NOT to download a NEWLY-uploaded app file from any 3rd party site (like 1mobile or Getjar) until I see it hasn't given others problems; I wait for reviews to show up.
That's to avoid possible viruses or non-compatible apps. Amazon vets its apps heavily for both reasons, but for that reason they're slow to post and don't have as much. The Google Market or "Play" has had its share of viruses since they don't go through vetting. Best to wait and let other people take chances. :-)
I tend to like www.1mobile.com -- and, as is the usual case, they have a "market" or store of apps you can download to get these apps. They had too many Tubemate files for some reason, probably because Tubemate makers had a new urgent upload-replacement and were placing the alert everywhere and then various people uploaded it to 1mobile (which eventually clears out duplicates) and so the 1mobile site is not on today's Tubemate's verification list.
BUT they had the other recommended app I just found and love using during a time when Amazon didn't have it (as mentioned, it's back at Amazon though). BSPlayer FREE. When you download it, I think it tells you if it needs an additional 'codec' file for whatever device you might be using, but I didn't need one (from what I remember) for the Kindle Fire HD.
BSPlayer's own website leads you to Google's Play market, which ignores Kindle Fire users as if we don't exist. So, during the last few days when Amazon didn't have these files available, I used 1mobile.com for files like this new v1.5.136 version of BSPlayer, called BSPlayer Free there.
NOW, it's available at Amazon as well, and that's the one you should use. It's the same version, v1.5.136 though called "BSPlayer Lite."
The Kindle Fire's built-in video-player officially plays only mp4 format videos.
And the Mobo Player which USED to be versatile, cannot handle audio well on many of my camera videos, nor can MXPlayer. But BSPlayer? No problem with the many files I've tried. But I've read that those with "MKV" format files have problems with the audio when using BSPlayer.
' avi, divx, flv, mkv, mov, mpg, mts, mp4, m4v, rmvb, wmv, 3gp, mp3, ac3... and streaming content such as RTMP, RTSP, MMS (tcp, http), HTTP Live stream, HTTP.It's hardware accelerated and works very well with the Kindle Fire HD (I've not tested it on the original Kindle Fire, but Amazon says that it's compatible).
- Multiple audio streams and subtitles.
- Playlist support and various playback modes.
- Playback media files such as videos and mp3's directly via Wi-Fi from your LAN shared drives/folders (such as external USB drives, Samba (SMB/CIFS) shared drives, PC shared folders, NAS servers (Synology and others)) - no need to convert video files and copy media files to SD card anymore!
- Playback files directly from uncompressed RAR files. '
CAVEAT: 'Hardware rendering" (the default) works well for KFHD, but you need to change the default to "software" decoding on the original first-generation Kindle Fire, which has a different processor and is not High Definition in screen resolution -- it doesn't handle 720p video resolution well.
Maybe the flash-player problems with Adobe's dropping support is causing no small frustration to tablet buyers re video in general and is leading Amazon to offer more generally good video player alternatives.
With BSPlayer you can adjust the brightness with a swipe up or down on the left side and can adjust volume with a swipe up and down on the right side, etc. It has played everything I've thrown at it, flawlessly, and gives you a lot of file info too. No other popular video player I tried could play the files from my varying camera video recorders. If you have HTC devices, read their support notes though. It's a good idea no matter what device you have, to read an app's support notes, to save some frustration and time.
With Tubemate, by the way, you can open the "Downloads" video folder and then run BSPlayer from it, and that gives you a nicer overall file-interface as well. (With BSPlayer, you're dropped into the file system and would need to find the "Video" folder to see the video files.) But, as ever, when using ANY app, use the rectangular Menu for it and then look through "Preferences" or "Settings" (or both) to see what needs to be selected.
With TODAY's duo of apps that have been working really well for me (SO much better than Mobo Player), there's no need to use secondary sites. They're both at Amazon today, so I won't be giving steps on how to install apps from other sources. But you should get comfortable with a good file-explorer/manager like ES File Explorer AND, if you have trouble finding your install (".apk") files, get the Easy Installer, which automatically hunts those down for you (a must-have app).
Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch Tablet Starts to Ship today.
The $299 model with 16 GB storage and the $369 model with 32 GB storage will start shipping tonight, about 5 days earlier than planned.
The 8.9" tablet has a screen resolution of 1920 x 1200, with 254 pixels per inch, and is "Retina" quality, great for reading and HD video.
Unlike other vendors' tablets this has a direct HDMI-out port to any HDTV;
X-Ray for movies, which shows names of actors in a scene, along with bios,
and dual speakers, one on each side of the device when watching videos, with Dolby Plus feature to increase clarity of speech and very good spatial qualities. No need for headphones or external speakers to hear the output well.
Other KFHD 8.9" features:
Front-facing camera for Skype; Text-to-Speech; Dual-band, dual-antenna WiFi reviewed as testing more effective for signal strength
The $499 model with 3G/4G LTE cellular network access will ship sometime NEXT week.
These come with 32GB or 64 GB storage
See NOTES to get more details on these two models.
Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources. Top 100 free bestsellers. Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.
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