DroidTV PrimeTime: current TV on your Fire…easily

DroidTV PrimeTime: current TV on your Fire…easily

How much do you pay for TV a month?

How does $3 a month sound?

When I got my Kindle Fire, one of the things I pictured doing on it was watching current TV shows.

I do usually watch them on my TV while I’m doing other things, but TV shows can be good for airplane trips (which I do end up doing).

Up to this point, I haven’t found a really good way to do it.

I looked at Hulu Plus, but the selection didn’t seem to match my tastes. I didn’t want to pay as much as I was paying for Netflix  if I wasn’t getting significantly more for it. If I already paid for Hulu Plus, that would be different, but I don’t.

Also, the issue of having to be on wi-fi to stream anything makes a big difference…both with Netflix and Hulu Plus.

Well, in this

Amazon Kindle community thread

Elleinad asked about DroidTV.

I looked up the app, and decided to try it out.

DroidTV Primetime

I’ve tested it out, and I must say, I’m impressed!

Let me first explain what it is.

You pay $8.99 for three months of service. It will seem like you are buying the app for that much. I’d describe it more as you are subscribing for three months for $8.99, and getting the app for free.

There is a list of available TV shows:

  • 2 Broke Girls
  • 20/20
  • 30 Rock
  • 60 Minutes
  • 90210
  • A Gifted Man
  • Alcatraz
  • Alphas
  • The Amazing Race
  • America’s Got Talent
  • America’s Next Top Model
  • American Chopper
  • American Dad
  • American Idol
  • Are You There, Chelsea?
  • Army Wives
  • Awake
  • The Bachelor
  • The Bachelorette
  • Being Human
  • Bent
  • Best Friends Forever
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • The Big C
  • The Biggest Loser
  • Blue Bloods
  • Bob’s Burgers
  • Body of Proof
  • Bones
  • The Borgias
  • Breaking In
  • Brothers & Sisters
  • Burn Notice
  • CHAOS
  • CSI
  • CSI: Miami
  • CSI: New York
  • Castle
  • Celebrity Apprentice
  • Charlie’s Angels
  • Chase
  • The Chicago Code
  • Chuck
  • The Cleveland Show
  • The Client List
  • The Closer
  • The Colbert Report
  • Common Law
  • Community
  • Cops
  • Cougar Town
  • Covert Affairs
  • Criminal Minds
  • The Daily Show
  • Dallas
  • Dancing with the Stars
  • Dateline NBC
  • Desperate Housewives
  • Destination Truth
  • Detroit 1-8-7
  • Don’t Trust the B— in Apt 23
  • Eureka
  • The Event
  • Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
  • Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files
  • Fairly Legal
  • Falling Skies
  • Family Guy
  • Fashion Star
  • The Finder
  • The Firm
  • FlashForward
  • Franklin & Bash
  • Free Agents
  • Friday Night Lights
  • Fringe
  • GCB
  • Game of Thrones
  • Ghost Hunters
  • Ghost Hunters International
  • Glee
  • The Good Wife
  • Gossip Girl
  • Greek
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • Grimm
  • H8R
  • Happy Endings
  • Happy Town
  • Harry’s Law
  • heart of Dixie
  • haven
  • Hawaii 5-0
  • HawthoRNe
  • Hell’s Kitchen
  • Hot in Cleaveland
  • House
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • How to be a Gentleman
  • Huge
  • Human  Target
  • In Plain Sight
  • Justified
  • Kitchen Nightmares
  • Last Man Standing
  • Law & Order: SVU
  • Leverage
  • Lie to Me
  • Lost Girl
  • Mad Love
  • Mad Men
  • Man Up
  • Master Chef
  • Melissa & Joey
  • The Mentalist
  • Mercy
  • The Middle
  • Mike & Molly
  • Missing
  • Mobbed
  • Modern Family
  • Mythbusters
  • NCIS
  • NCIS: Los Angeles
  • NYC 22
  • Napoleon Dynamite
  • Necessary Roughness
  • New Girl
  • Nikita
  • Off the Map
  • The Office
  • Once Upon a Time
  • Outlaw
  • Outsourced
  • Pan Am
  • Parenthood
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Person of Interest
  • The Playboy Club
  • Prime Suspect
  • Primetime: What Would You Do?
  • Private Practice
  • Psych
  • Q’Viva The Chosen
  • Raising Hope
  • Real Time with Bill Maher
  • Revenge
  • Ringer
  • The River
  • Rizzoli & Isles
  • Rob!
  • Rookie Blue
  • Royal Pains
  • Rules of Engagement
  • Running Wilde
  • Saturday Night Live
  • Saving Hope
  • Scandal
  • The Secret Circle
  • The Secret Life of the American Teenager
  • Shark Tank
  • The Simpsons
  • Smash
  • So You Think You Can Dance
  • Sons of Anarchy
  • South Park
  • Stargate Universe
  • Suburgatory
  • Suits
  • Supernatural
  • Survivor: Redemption Island
  • Survivor: One World
  • Terra Nova
  • Touch
  • True Blood
  • Two and a Half Men
  • Undercover Boss
  • Unforgettable
  • Up All Night
  • The Vampire Diaries
  • Veep
  • The Voice
  • The Walking Dead
  • Warehouse 13
  • White Collar
  • Whitney
  • Who Do You Think You Are?
  • Who’s Still Standing?
  • Wipeout
  • Work It
  • The X Factor
I typed that list for you, and won’t swear that I didn’t miss something. :) I would also presume its subject to change any time.

There are definitely shows on there I would watch. It includes shows that would otherwise require a premium cable channel (HBO’s True Blood and Game of  Thrones, for example), or perhaps would be available for purchase on DVD on a one-by-one download basis.

Three bucks a month sounds pretty good for that.

You select the shows you want, and you can download individual episodes…at no additional charge.

You can also set up the equivalent of a “season pass” on Tivo…have it automatically download new episodes to your Fire.

You can store “back episodes” with DroidTV for no cost. In other words, after you watch an episode, you can delete it from the Fire and download it again later, if you want.

I would describe the picture quality as okay. It looks a tad muddy…like recording a Tivo show on the Basic Quality setting, rather than the Best Quality. That’s what I normally use on my Tivo, and I’m fine with it here.

Now, of course, the ability of the Kindle Fire to handle the videos matters. I checked a couple of things:

A half hour program took 14% of battery usage to watch…although I can watch when plugged in, of course.

The Internal Storage on my Kindle Fire changed from 709.31MB to 822.19MB when I removed a half hour program…which means it was about 112.88MB.

Clearly, I’m not going to keep a lot of shows on there at once…but I don’t have to do that.

The automatic recording worked fine. I set it up to record new episodes of a daily broadcast to test it, and I got yesterday’s today.

That’s something about which I need to be very clear. This is not like streaming or Amazon’s Instant Video. You can’t just say, “I want to watch that now.” It’s more like Tivo…you tell it what you will want to watch later.

In the case of an episode which has already been broadcast, I’d say it took about an hour to download four shows for me. I had them then, though. It was nice to be able to watch one of them with no problem with no wi-fi.

The interface is pretty simple, and I like that. It remembers where you were in a show, and lets you resume easily.

There are four main functions in the menu (reached through the horizontal lines in a box menu button on the Fire):

  • Now Playing (shows already downloaded. You can tell if you have already started watching a show, because there is a pause symbol || on the play button)
  • Coming Soon (shows scheduled to be downloaded…although it doesn’t include your “season passes” in that)
  • TV Guide (where you pick the shows)
  • Preferences (this has some important things…you can choose the minimum amount of memory to leave so that it doesn’t download too much to your Fire, and you can choose the minimum amount of battery charge to have left before it starts downloading: that last one is a clever protection)

There is also a “More” section. One big thing here is that you can “Select Favorite Shows”. What you actually do is choose shows to hide from your list. So, you are really eliminating shows from appearing in your options rather than making them favorites, but that still works.You can bring them back, of course.

The only set up for the whole thing (after downloading) was putting in my e-mail address…easy, breezy.

I can see where people might want a search, or the ability to display them in genres. I think that this could work very well with kids’ programs, but perhaps in the future.

Another limitation is that at this point, I don’t know of any way to display what is on your Kindle Fire to a larger screen, like a TV. You can do it the other way…put what is on your computer on your Fire (using Splashtop Remote Desktop) or from your Slingbox (SlingPlayer (Kindle Fire Edition)). I think we may get that in the future…either through a cable or wirelessly.

By the way, it did let me put it on two different Fires on the same account. It didn’t object to me downloading the same episode on both Fires.

One other thing: there weren’t any previous seasons from current shows, from what I could tell. If I could have started Game of Thrones from the beginning, I would definitely have done that, but I couldn’t go back a season. Update: just to clarify (thanks, Zebras!), I could go back and get all of the episodes from this current season…it’s not like a Tivo, where I can’t get it if it’s already been broadcast.

For example, Game of Thrones has episodes for

4/1/2012 through 6/03/2012

at this point.

That lets you start now and see all of Season 2, but none of Season 1. Going forward, I would presume you’d also be able to get Season 3. What I don’t know for sure is if you started next season, would you be able to go back and pick up Season 2? I’m guessing not…I think it’s going to roll by season.

Bottom line: I do expect this to be part of my entertainment mix. We have Amazon Prime and Netflix (streaming only…and I don’t use it that often on the Fire). I use

http://archive.org/

to download public domain videos.

However, the ease of using DroidTV Primetime and the selection means I’ll probably pay the $8.99 for three months on it.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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24 Responses to “DroidTV PrimeTime: current TV on your Fire…easily”

  1. Tuli Reno Says:

    Is the subscription for 3 months or 6 months? Several of the comments are saying 6 months and I am not seeing it anywhere in the description of the app.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tuli!

      The subscription I got yesterday was for three months.

      That’s one of the issues with reviews on Amazon: they stick around forever. :) It’s possible that the app has been offered for six months in the past (and possibly at a higher price). The reviews that say six months may have been correct at the time and no longer be correct.

  2. Zebras Says:

    So many choices, so little time! Thanks for typing that ginormous list, Bufo. Sounds like a good investment for a time when I might be away from my regular DVR for a decent length of time. Otherwise, since you can’t go back and watch something you didn’t know to tape in advance, I don’t think I would add even that small amount a month on a regular basis. Sounds like a great alternative for folks who don’t want to invest in these overpriced cable packages.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Zebras!

      I’ll have to look at the post, because I may not have made that clear.

      You can’t go back to a previous season, but you can go back to previous episodes in this season.

      For example, Game of Thrones has episodes for

      4/1/2012 through 6/03/2012

      at this point.

      That lets you start now and see all of Season 2, but none of Season 1. Going forward, I would presume you’d also be able to get Season 3. What I don’t know for sure is if you started next season, would you be able to go back and pick up Season 2? I’m guessing not…I think it’s going to roll by season.

      If you start now, though, you could have it save all of the Season 2 episodes on their servers for you…so you could watch them later.

  3. Tuli Reno Says:

    Thanks. I wouldn’t have commented for that very reason, except that the reviews I saw mentioning 6 months were done this month. We missed the $1 deal, too!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tuli!

      This month, huh? Yep, missed it…I keep my personal awareness spread pretty wide, but that one slipped through.

  4. Edward Boyhan Says:

    My initial thought: WOW! — every show I could think of watching is on your list.

    But then I got to thinking about how does it do that, and could the downloaded show file on a KF be transferred to a PC? Amazon lists the developer as PVRcom LLC. I was able to discover that that’s really Northwest Digital Software Inc. up in Washington state — there they claim that they are legally downloading the shows from websites to Android devices, but no details. The breadth of coverage makes me suspicious as to the “legality” side of things — as the networks have been jealously guarding rights to (especially current episodes) their shows.

    Along the way I did come across the confusion as to the length of the subscription. Amazon says the app costs $8.99 (and pretty much everywhere else on the web says the same), but Amazon says nothing about subscription length, and other sites are split between 3 months and 6 months.

    One quibble: everyone is claiming that shows are HD 480p. The HD moniker is usually reserved for 720p or 1080i/p. 480p is usually referred to as “standard definition” — roughly equivalent to the old TV standard delivered digitally — at any rate that would explain the “muddy” quality you referred to — it also would mean that quality on a big screen (if you could figure out how to get it there) wouldn’t be anything special — about what you’d see from a non-HD channel from your cable company.

    Assuming the legality checks out — at almost any price — this would be a winner :D.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      As you can imagine, I’m careful about legality.

      This looked good to me, partially because it’s been around for quite a while and is a US company, as far as I can tell. They’d get a cease and desist in that situation.

      It’s clearly 3 months for me. You can check under Menu – More – Subscription, and it gives you the expiration date.

  5. vrwl Says:

    Bufo, thanks for the heads up on DroidTV, I’m going to take the plunge and give it a try.

  6. craig Says:

    OK this gets the show on your Fire. Can you also download it to Kindle for pc and watch it on your laptop or desktop for the same monhtly fee?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, craig!

      The free Kindle reader apps, like Kindle for PC, do let you read Kindle store books, but generally don’t work with other content (although some magazines work with Kindle for Android).

      When you think about operating systems (Windows on a PC, iOS on a Mac, Android, and so on), it may help to think of them like different languages. If we say that PCs speak French, Macs speak Yucatec, and Androids speak Tagalog, you can see how you couldn’t take a book written in one language and just automatically be able to read it in another. That’s a loose analogy, but gives you the idea.

  7. vrwl Says:

    Bufo, you stated the following in your post:

    ” By the way, it did let me put it on two different Fires on the same account. It didn’t object to me downloading the same episode on both Fires.”

    Can you provide some detail or instructions on how you installed it on two different Fires using the same account? Thanks in advance for the help!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, vrwl!

      I did it the same way as other apps.

      On the second Fire, you can go to

      Apps – Cloud – By Recent

      You might need to sync with Amazon:

      Settings Gear – Sync

      Then tap it, and it will download.

      When it asked me for an e-mail address, I put in the same one.

      • vrwl Says:

        Ahhh, so both Fires have to be registered on the same Amazon account? Yeah, my spouse and I each have our own Amazon accounts, but I was hoping I could share the Droid TV service on the other Fire despite them being on different accounts.

        So even though Droid TV is a separate service, it’s still tied through the Amazon acct?

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, vrwl!

        The app is tied through Amazon. I suppose it’s possible that you could do it some other way as a third party app, but I haven’t checked that.

        Sharing e-books, apps, and so on is an argument for having both devices on the same account. I know there are reasons to have two accounts, but for Kindles, having them both on one account has some real pluses.

  8. Jerry Burns Says:

    Hi Bufo you are the only I could think of to ask that might know the answer. Do you have any idea what happened to the kinlib up date? I have been getting it for about a year now, and as of Tuesday it just stopped coming. I have tried contacting them but can’t figure out how. Thank you ….jerry

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Jerry!

      I just checked the kinlib site:

      http://us.kinlib.com/

      It does say it was last updated on Tuesday at 7:56 PM PDT.

      I use

      http://www.ereaderiq.com

      myself, so I didn’t notice anything.

      For now, you might want to switch to the free e-mail from eReaderIQ.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Just updating this:

        The KinLib site now says it was last updated June 24th at 7:34 PM…if you don’t get notified in, oh, twelve hours, feel free to let me know.

  9. Round up #91: Best books, headphone deal, Flipboard « I Love My Kindle Says:

    [...] I got DroidTV (a way to easily watch current TV on your Kindle Fire…while not connected to the internet), [...]

  10. Maria Says:

    OK, I just got my Husband a Kindle Fire, and I’m trying to figure out how I would download this app. The buy screen it only has my cell phone listed, when I click “see all devices” there is my fire. Do I get a “Deliver to…” screen after I buy it?

    And, it would be VERY cool if it worked with my Virgin Mobile phone, because they don’t allow streaming of video.

    Thanks for your help!
    Maria

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Maria!

      It sounds like you haven’t registered your husband’s Fire as a device with the appstore, although I think you could deliver it to the device afterwards (not positive about that).

      However, if you do add the device afterwards, you’d still have access to it.

      Is you husband’s Fire registered to the account?

      You might try ordering the app from his Fire, that should make it do whatever it needs to do. If that’s not it, try this:

      Go here (you’ll probably need to log in)

      https://www.amazon.com/gp/mas/your-account/myapps/yourdevices?ie=UTF8&ref=mas_ya

      and click to Add a Device.

      Please let me know if you get it working…I’ll be thinking about you. :)

  11. One week with the Kindle Fire 8.9″ 4G « I Love My Kindle Says:

    [...] me wirelessly show videos I’ve downloaded to my Fire from other sources. I have used it with DroidTV PrimeTime (which I would not be able to Juice), however, it unfortunately appears to be currently [...]

  12. Jim frankum Says:

    I have DroidTV primetime on my droid(I very much enjoy your app) however episodes are intermittent.Also I received no response to my gmails I have sent. Jim F.

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