Today, the Amazon Fire TV is listed as out of stock until April 21. For more basic info, see my first blog article on that as well as one that added workarounds for Kindle tablet owners.
Here are two apps of possible interest. One for the Fire TV and one for tablets.
FREQUENCY app for FireTV is the most useful non-subscription app I've enjoyed so far for the Fire TV.
And it's free.
Frequency has the usual trending video and top hits from sources all over, though my favorite is using its Facebook, Twitter, or other video-site connections to show me only what friends have been recommending and this way I'm less apt to miss ones I'm actually interested in and also view them on the large screen in good resolution when I have more time.
But the best thing with the Frequency app is the variety of sources with quality content. News, music, entertainment, arts, health, cooking, sports, comedy, nature, wildlife, science, and even short, somewhat popular clips from HBO. After you've chosen what you like, these are all that are shown you except for Trending and top hits (which I tried to remove but can't). I also could't remove individual video recommendations shown me.
The guide gives you genres, categories and then specific channels.
From Amazon's page:
- All the Best Videos -- from top news and entertainment sources
- The Most Channels -- choose from 1,000s of branded video channels across dozens of categories
- Current News & Events in Real-Time -- breaking news, people and topics that are happening right now
- Social Media Channels -- Watch all [NOT 'all'] the videos your friends are sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo & YouTube in a continuous-play stream
- Full Screen -- Go full screen at any time, in full 1080p HD (when available)
At any rate, it's a bit like video Flipboard. They quote Mashable:
"Frequency’s interface is slick, and creating video channels from sites like Discovery Networks and The Wall Street Journal is a better deal than cable."
FireTV updates expected
Our music on the Cloud is due soon, it's said.
I've noticed some reviews that lament strongly that the added gaming capability, marketed as a bonus capability with only medium-gaming-level (above Roku, Apple, Ouya, however) is not as good as what you get for $400 with the dedicated consoles. Note that I'm not commenting on this.
Checking for pricing
Amazon has rentable TV or movie material that may be currently free on Hulu Plus, so if you have Hulu Plus, be on the watch for that. With Netflix, Amazon's voice search doesn't work, finding only Amazon's usually but (increasingly) much of Hulu Plus's also.
So you have to use Netflix's slow search separately (as I do with another streaming box).
With Hulu Plus, the need to scroll along a row to get to these subscription-based videos that are at no added cost to Hulu Plus subscribers, can be awkward but it's definitely better than not letting us know they're there! And we get clickable access to them.
I'd mentioned last week that I'd seen a few Hulu Plus entries pop up with the voice search, but it's quite a bit more as of today. Amazon has told some that they are including most of Hulu Plus results in the voice search and hope to include the others too. We'll see. I imagine there'll be incentives in both directions (3rd party's and Amazon's). A work in progress.
Again, if wanting to search for only free results, that's not possible at this point but I'll repeat a half-workaround: It's easier, if wanting to see ONLY 'free' Prime videos, to use your laptop, desktop, or even tablet, to go to the Prime-Only pages, by categories and genres or a listing, sortable, with details and then do a voice search on the Fire TV for one you want to see
In the meantime, remember my having found search results that don't show "Watch now" (as a Prime member, for no added cost) unless you've added the video to your "Watchlist." To make sure it's available on Prime, you have to go to "Other ways to watch" sub menu to see if it's Prime-eligible. But the cover will usually have a Prime banner at the top left.
No time to organize the photo set mentioned yet (of mirroring and Fling'g things like Marvel Adventure), and of course this type of illustration is available on many sites now, but I still intend to put them up. If not tonight, then after tax day. I have to be gone today too.
Personal video from a camera
Videos I've taken with cameras that we upload to youtube can be downloaded to our tablets in that format in a number of ways with several apps (Tubemate being the one I use most) and therefore easily playable on the FireTV when we search them on youtube or when we mirror them from current Kindle tablets to the HDTV. On Youtube, you can make videos private and then usually find them by the URL only you're given, while logged in on FireTV or any tablet.
Your photos sent to Amazon's Cloud show really well via this box -- even when they're only 1024x768-pixel photos rather than 5000 pixels wide or more.
Free Android App of the Day - Zoo -- Petting Zoo
Mainly for children but apparently enjoyed by many adults for its creativity, Petting Zoo is normally $2.99 and gets high ratings and very favorable media reviews. The drawings become animated when you touch them and the reactions seen are varied.
Here is some 'Praise' that the appmaker cites:
* "Moms and dads will likely find that the app’s interface is not just fun
for the kids, but also enjoyable for adults as well." — WIRED
* "Absolutely adorable" — USA TODAY
* "A Quirky and absolutely charming app" — CNET 5/5
* "Fizzing with character, craft, and humor" — THE GUARDIAN
* "An alligator’s teeth become guitar strings, an octopus’s arms serve as a mandolin. It’s adorable, goofy, and immensely entertaining." — FASTCOMPANY
* "Possibly the loveliest app you'll download this week/month/year." — CREATIVEREVIEW
* “Four little thumbs-up in my household for this one.” — KOTTKE
* "Petting Zoo is one of those rare apps that brings out the kid in all of us." — MACLIFE
In the Credits we see:
. Concept + Animation: Christoph Niemann -- "...an author, cover artist for The New Yorker,
and a columnist for The New York Times Magazine
. Developer: Jon Huang -- "...a graphics editor for the New York Times,
an adjunct lecturer, and a beekeeper..."
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