Nook Tablet Review: Loading and Playing Your Own Video
The Nook Tablet is a sweet little multimedia tablet that has access to two of the best sources of streaming video available right now. However, it currently lacks a good source for purchasing video content, meaning you’ll have to bring your own.
Finding video for Android devices is a constant problem since there aren’t many good non-proprietary stores out there.
So how do you get video on the Nook Tablet? And what kind of video can it play? Read on to find out.
Amazon Video On Demand
There are two ways to watch your videos purchased via Amazon on the Nook Tablet. The easiest way is to simply go to Amazon.com via the browser, sign in, and go to your purchased videos or the content available for streaming if you’re an Amazon Prime member. The web player for VOD utilizes Adobe Flash, which is pre-loaded on the Nook.
You can also install the Amazon Video app from the Kindle Fire. It doesn’t even require hacking. Just find the hidden setting that allows users to install non-Barnes & Noble apps, then download the video app and install it. You’ll find detailed instructions at those links.
Load Your Own Video
The Nook Tablet runs on Android 2.3, even though it doesn’t look like standard Gingerbread. It supports the following formats:
And these codecs:
- H.264 (High, Main and Baseline profiles)
- MPEG-4 (Simple and Advanced)
This includes both SD (standard definition) and HD (high-definition) video files. The Tablet will scale 480p, 720p, and 1080p HD video to fit on its screen. I was able to play a 1080p MP4 trailer of Monsters vs. Aliens on the Nook Tablet just fine.
If your video has the file extensions above, you can copy them to the Nook Tablet and start playing right away. However, if your file is .AVI, .WMV, .MKV, .MOV or any other common format, you’ll have to convert the files before they’ll play.
Most of my files are not in compatible formats, so I transcoded them using Handbrake. I used the High Profile under Regular and made sure the container was set to MP4 File.
I hope that DoubleTwist shows up in the Nook App store soon, as the desktop companion program makes transcoding easy, even for newbies.
To load videos onto the Nook Tablet, plug the USB cord into both the device and your computer and wait for the latter to recognize it. The Nook will register as an external USB drive, and you can drag and drop files just like a flash drive.
If you intend to load a lot of your own videos or music on the device, I suggest you invest in a microSD card. Even though the Nook Tablet has 16GB of internal storage, only 1GB is available for your own files.
When you insert an SD card into the slot, the Nook will create a set of folders on it under My Files. There’s also a My Files on the Nook itself. Inside you’ll find folders marked Books, Pictures, Videos, and more. To make your vids easy to find, put them in the Videos folder on the card or the Nook.
Once you’ve loaded video onto the internal drive or the SD card, you can find it in two ways: the My Media app or the Library.
My Media is just the Android Gallery app. However, I don’t use it to find and play files because there’s no way to sort. It finds all of your pictures and video and lists them by date with no other options. If you have a lot of files, it can be tedious to scroll through looking for the exact one you want.
The Library app has a My Stuff section, where you can browse files on the Nook or the SD card. Tap My Nook to see internally stored files or Memory Card to see files on the SD card.
Once you find the files, tap them to start watching. As long as files are in the right format, the Nook will do so right away.
Barnes and Noble has clearly focused more on the streaming media experience for the Nook Tablet since sideloading isn’t a very elegant process and the Gallery app isn’t programmed in a way that makes finding and playing videos easy. For most users this won’t be a big deal. And those of us who have a large DRM-free video collection are used to this dance with Android devices.
Thankfully, it’s an issue that can be solved with software. What the Nook App store really needs is a DoubleTwist or similar app to transcode and sync video effortlessly between a computer and the Tablet.
(Read: Full Nook Tablet Review)