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.

Nook Tablet

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

Formats

The Nook Tablet runs on Android 2.3, even though it doesn’t look like standard Gingerbread. It supports the following formats:

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  • .3GP
  • .MP4
  • .3G2
  • .FLV

And these codecs:

  • H.263
  • H.264 (High, Main and Baseline profiles)
  • MPEG-4 (Simple and Advanced)
  • XVID

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.

handbrake

I hope that DoubleTwist shows up in the Nook App store soon, as the desktop companion program makes transcoding easy, even for newbies.

Transfer

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.

The Nook Tablet Shows Up As A 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.

Nook offers just 1GB of space

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.

Playing Video

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.

Nook Tablet Gallery

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.

Nook Tablet My Files

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.

Videos in My Files

Conclusion

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.

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(Read: Full Nook Tablet Review)

Comments

  1. nc1 says

    I use DropBox and Drop2Sync apps which are both available in the Barnes and Noble App store and sideload music and video wirelessly with no effort.  I find it works great with my Nook Color.

  2. John Go says

    B&N said that 3rd party apps will be able to store content into that reserved for B&N space, it’s only limited to 1GB for side loading to the device. Also, it’s nothing that a cheap microSD card cannot fix – no such slot on Kindle Fire though to help you when no Wi-FI access is there to get to Cloud.

  3. Anonymous says

    Yeah, “The 1GB storage limit is extremely lame”. 
    And the supported videos are really limited too, luckily I have already got an video tool – aneesoft video converter pro before, think it can do some help for my video playing on the go. 

  4. James35046 says

    From what I have come to understand, you have the option of taking the nook to a B&N with a tech available that can format more of the reserved B&N storage space for your use. 
    if a tech can do it, then it seems reasonable that there will be a way found for anyone to do it also. 

  5. Elizabethsparks2002 says

    Does anyone else know for sure about taking the NT to a tech and them opening up some of that 16GB? Or if, by now, we as a user can do it? I assume that my “freemake video converter” will convert the movies on my computer to the correct format for the NT?
    Thanks

  6. Elizabethsparks2002 says

    I found that I had to convert my movies to 3PG instead of MP4 in order to put them on my NT. However, both of the movies I tried only show as a box(not widescreen). On my computer, the converted files’ properties say they are 640×256 and 640×360. Do I need to change these values, or change something on my NT?

  7. Cbyviking says

    This doesn’t tell you how to erase video files that you no longer want stored in your files section of My Stuff

  8. Rachelle Galloway-Popotas says

    thanks SO much for this really clear explanation. based on your post, i’m going to try Handbrake but I just wanted to confirm or ask a follow-up question: I have iTunes and have bought several episodes of TV shows (because I have an iPad) and I now want to get those files onto the new Nook Tablet. Is the process like this: I find the files on my computer (they have .mov extension) and then convert using Handbrake to an .MP4 file? and then drag/drop to Nook Tablet? I will try it now but am a little worried because the .MOV files on my Mac say “protected media file”.. but I’m going to try anyway! will return with comments but first just wanted to say thanks for the simple walk-through. It took me 4 Google searches to find the answer in the format I was looking for.

  9. Rachelle Galloway-Popotas says

    Hello again, I just tried using Handbrake to open files bought from iTunes – they have a .m4V extension. I was not able to open them in  Handbrake. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong? thanks.

  10. razzell2 says

    It takes forever….hours….to convert a single xvid/.avi movie to an .mp4 format using AVS or Tipard vid converters. I will give Handbrake a try. Is Handbrake a free converter? Do you find that it takes a long time to convert with Handbrake?

  11. Doktor Pepper says

    I tried to use Handbrake and it did NOT work at all. It is not the friendliest program to use as there is no help feature on it to figure out how to use the bloody thing. I have all these blu rays that come with Digital Copy that recognizes my nook Tablet, but the damned nook wont read the files.

    • Ben says

      Don’t know if you sorted this but I also had given up on handbrake. The problem I had was handbrake’s decrypting of the dvd code was not able to handle most of the dvds I had.
      Now I use “BDlot dvd iso master” which is free. This converts every dvd into a complete ISO without any encryption, I then run the ISO in handbrake as the source and choose the languages etc I want and I am getting perfect copies working on my nook et al.

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