The Amazon Kindle and other digital book readers are great for reading, you know, books. But most eReaders can also handle text documents, HTML files, and image files — which means you can read websites, magazine articles, or even view family photos on a Kindle.

Or you can use it to catch up on TV shows. Developer Mark Longstaff-Tyrell has put together a tool that makes that possible — not by reading a synopsis from TelevisionWithoutPity, but by reading a comic book-like document with still pictures from the program as well as captions.

Kindle iPlayer

Here’s how it works. First, Longstaff-Tyrell records a DVB (digital video broadcast) program which includes subtitles. Then his software detects the points where the subtitles are present and a picture of a frame with each new set of subtitles.

This gives you a picture of the on-screen action to go with every line of dialog. Since some visually important information appears on-screen even when there’s no dialog, the software also detects scene changes and grabs a new image from each scene so you don’t miss anything.

A typical TV program can be saved as a 20MB HTML file this way, or you can convert it to a PDF file if your eReader can’t handle HTML.

The project is a work in progress, and it’s possible that not every file will be perfect at this point. You also probably lose important things like the tone of voice an actor uses when talking or their body language while making gestures — and action scenes aren’t going to look nearly as good in this format.

But it’s a pretty nifty hack, and could come in handy if you want to “read” your favorite dialog-heavy TV shows in a hurry.

You can find more details at

via Hacker News

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3 replies on “DVR hack turns TV shows into Kindle picture books with captions”

    1. Nice. That’s not a connection I would have made, but clearly this is just a high-tech version of the photo-novel. It also kind of reminds me of watching the old Doctor Who episodes that were destroyed… but which fans re-created with audio recordings and still images.

  1. Very creative! I once did this manually (entering the dialog one frame at a time) for a favorite film of mine, but it was done back when video capture devices connected to a serial port. 🙂

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