Amazon’s Instant Video service offers more than 100,000 movies and TV shows for purchase or rental. Amazon Prime subscribers can also stream a few thousand of those episodes over the internet as part of their $79 per year membership.
Up until recently the Instant Video service was only available on a PC or a set-top-box such as a TiVo, Roku, or similar device. But Amazon developed an Android app for the Amazon Kindle Fire.
It lets you login to your account on the 7 inch tablet and stream movies from your collection or from the Prime Instant Video collection. You can also purchase or rent content from the tablet and then watch it either on the Kindle Fire or another device. Amazon Instant Video also keeps track of your viewing progress, so if you stop watching a movie on your laptop you can pick up where you left off on the Kindle Fire.
While the Kindle Fire is the only Android tablet to ship with the Instant Video app preloaded, it turns out the app can run on other devices. All you need to do is download the ATVAndroidClient.apk from the xda-developers forum and install it on your phone or tablet.
The app won’t stream video if your device is rooted, and it plays best with 1024 x 600 pixel displays. If you have a lower resolution device some of the controls might not fit on you display. Amazon clearly hasn’t bothered to make sure the app supports devices other than the Kindle Fire yet.
But one tablet that the app does work well with is the Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet. Like the Kindle Fire, it has a 7 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel display. I took the app for a spin, and Amazon Instant Video looks great on the NOOK.
There are still a few quirks. I couldn’t play every video I tried, and in order to login you’ll need to either purchase an app or have an Amazon Prime membership, since there’s no standalone login screen. But as Kindle apps find their way to the NOOK Tablet and the NOOK eBook app finds it way to the Kindle Fire, the differences between these two tablets are getting smaller and smaller.