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iPlayer for Kindle plays videos… as comic strips

So, you’ve decided on the Amazon Kindle as your e-reader of choice, only to mourn the fact that it’s mostly only good for one thing: reading. Do you see your friends with their iPads and rooted Nook Colors and are feeling a little left out? BBC’s Mark Longstaff-Tyrrell comes to the rescue, bringing video playing capabilities to the Kindle by way of the iPlayer for Kindle.

Sort of. You see, Longstaff-Tyrrell essentially took the BBC iPlayer video streaming service and adapted it to the Kindle platform by tossing in some software coding of his own and adding closed captioning. You can “watch” the videos on your e-reader because the iPlayer takes DVB digital TV and closed captioning info, together with any frame that has dialogue involved, and puts them together. You get some really, really choppy video, since they’re eliminating a bunch of frames, but you still get a little sense of movement.

The finished product is then converted into an HTML file, which is then converted into a PDF file for viewing on your iPad. So, what you get isn’t a video file at all. Instead, you get a series of frames, not unlike what you’d get with a graphic novel or comic book. It’s a neat idea, to be sure, but not exactly useful.

Want to watch a video? Go get a tablet, but go ahead and keep reading your e-books on your Kindle.

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About Michael Kwan

A freelance writer and tech geek from Vancouver. Find me at michaelkwan.com and follow me on Twitter @michaelkwan.

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