Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Prime Video Downloads Are Here!

With the release of the new 2nd-generation Fire HD and Fire HDX models, Prime members can now download selected Prime videos. Previously, and on other devices, Prime videos may only be streamed.

Streaming requires an active wireless connection for the entire duration of the movie. Downloading requires a wifi connection while the video downloads, but once the video is on the device, it may be watched later, when a wireless connection might not be available.

There's no word from Amazon about possible plans to allow Prime video downloads to older Fires or other devices.

The rules:
  • Prime videos may only be downloaded over wifi. If you have a Fire HDX with 4G, you cannot use the 4G connection to download Prime videos. You probably wouldn't want to anyway, as a single movie download would use a good chunk of your data allocation.
  • Not all Prime videos may be downloaded. If a video is downloadable, there will be a Download button on the product detail page.
  • You can download a Prime video on up to two separate devices at one time. If you have already downloaded a title to two devices, you need to delete it from one of them before downloading it to another device.
  • You can have a maximum of 25 total Prime Instant Video titles downloaded at a time across all devices associated with your account.
  • There is a limited viewing period for downloaded Prime videos, which varies by title. A typical viewing period is either 48 hours after you start watching the title or 15 or 30 days after the download, whichever is earlier. You'll need to check each video's product detail page for viewing period information, and plan your downloads accordingly.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

New Kindle Fire Tablets

2013 Kindle Fire Tablets

The new Kindle Fire tablets were announced last month and the first models have started shipping this week. Based on posts in Amazon's Kindle Forums and reviews on product pages, there seems to be some confusion and questions about some of the new features.

The product pages for the new models all contain a detailed comparison chart showing which devices have which features, and it's best to read over that chart carefully before placing your order. However, I thought it would be helpful to briefly summarize some of the key points here.

First, there are three new models: Fire HD, Fire HDX, and Fire HDX 8.9". There is also one previous year's model that continues to be sold; the Fire HD 8.9".

The Fire HD is this year's entry-level tablet. It does not have a camera, microphone, or the new Mayday support feature. It's available with 8 or 16 GB of storage space, and is a wifi-only device.

The Fire HDX is a premium 7" tablet with a front-facing camera, microphone, and Mayday support. It is available with 16, 32, or 64 GB of storage. You can purchase a wifi-only version, or optional 4G versions (AT&T or Verizon).

The Fire HDX 8.9" is a larger-format tablet with both front- and rear-facing cameras, a microphone, and Mayday support. It has the same storage and wireless connection options as the 7" Fire HDX.

Note that none of this year's Fires have a micro-HDMI port, for a direct connection to a TV. Instead, they will feature wireless connectivity to supported TVs and devices.