Streaming media without InternetPosted: December 15, 2016
My mother lives in rural Mississippi and her only choice for Internet access is satellite. Satellite works fine for email and the like, but she has a data cap and streaming an hour or so of video online can eat up here entire month’s allotment. She asked if there was anyway she could watch online movies and TV, on their living room TV, without consuming data. Challenge accepted!
I acquired an old 4th Generation Kindle Fire HD7 which has the ability to do HDMI out. Unfortunately, the disk space is small and this model doesn’t have a SD slot. I wiped the Fire and set it up with her Amazon account. The idea is that she will take the Fire to her office periodically where this is “normal” Wifi. She’ll download the videos she wants from Amazon Prime and/or Netflix, then take it back and stream it via the HDMI cable.
Note, devices like Amazon FireStick and Roku would not work in this case because they attempt to stream everything over the network. In fact, without an Internet access, they won’t really work. I also tried Chromecast, but that isn’t really supported by Amazon on the Kindles which is a nice/cheap tablet. If I were to do this again, I might go with a cheap Android tablet and a Googlecast, but this works quite well.
Below are the instructions I put together for my mother for daily use of the solution.
Connecting the Kindle Fire to the Television
- On the back of your television, find an HDMI input that should look something like these two ports on the back of my television
- Plug the provided cable into the HDMI input port.
- Plug the other end of the cable into the Kindle Fire
- Then connect the power cord to the split on the cable and the other end to the charger in the wall. This will charge the Kindle Fire while you use it and is optional
- Now whatever is on the Kindle Fire should display on the Television
Finding and downloading content to watch
- From the main Kindle Fire home screen, tap on the “Amazon Fire” application.
- From the main Amazon Prime Video screen, click on the search icon and search for what you are looking for. In this example, I searched for the TV series, “Newsroom”
- Choose the content you want and for a movie you’ll see the options for that video, or for a TV series, you’ll see each episode of each season listed. Look for the icon with a down arrow to a box. I’ve put a red box around one in the screenshot below.
- Choose the quality of the video. The better the quality, the more space it will take up on the device, and the fewer hours of content you can have on the tablet at once. So, play around with this to find the balance of hours of storage and quality on the screen. Next you’ll see the video is queuing and then downloading
- Once downloaded, you can play the video anywhere you want.