It’s your friendly KF on KND Editor April here, with a quick tip for the cinemaphiles: if you use a Fire TV Stick or Fire TV box for watching Amazon Instant Videos, you need to start keeping your Fire tablet nearby when you do. And if you’re using some other device to watch your Amazon Instant Videos, you might want to consider picking up a Fire TV Stick to use instead.
Here’s why: your Fire tablet “knows” when you’re watching an Amazon Instant Video on a Fire streaming device, and it syncs up with whatever you’re watching on your TV. That means if the video has X-Ray enabled, you can view X-Ray information about the movie on your tablet while the movie continues to play on your TV.
To demonstrate, I fired up my copy of Prometheus (as of this writing on 7/23/15, it’s still on sale for $5.99 in SD or HD in the Amazon Instant Video Store) via my Fire TV Stick. Once it had begun to play, I got out my Fire HDX tablet. Here’s what greeted me on the splash screen (tap or click on images to view an enlarged version in a new tab or window):
The in-progress movie is listed on the splash screen (red arrow), along with a ‘pause’ control (blue arrow). The pause control is a handy thing to have when you’re watching a video in a dim room and suddenly the phone or doorbell rings. Finding your Fire tablet is much easier than searching for that small, matte-black remote in a dim room. Especially in my living room, where the couch is black.
When you swipe to close the splash screen, the movie is shown on your carousel:
When you tap on the movie’s icon, if the movie has X-Ray enabled (like Prometheus) you’ll have a play/pause/stop control bar at the bottom, and the movie’s X-Ray information will be shown above it.
You’re given access to all the same IMDB information links (red arrow in screenshot below) as when you access X-Ray on your TV, and the “In Scene” content dynamically updates as the movie plays. Being able to open my tablet to view X-Ray information as the movie plays means I don’t have to pause the film to view it on the TV screen—something that’s very annoying everyone else who’s watching the movie and couldn’t care less what’s in the X-Ray details.
The first time I saw this film, in a theater, I wondered where they shot that otherworldly opening sequence. Thanks to X-Ray, I was able to flip open my HDX while watching the video at home and immediately learn it was shot in Iceland. Cool!
Even if the movie doesn’t have X-Ray enabled, you will still have access to the play/pause/stop control bar and an options menu. The options menu is where you’ll find closed captions controls, if closed captions are available in your movie.
And by the way, that little icon at the lower left-hand corner that looks like a rectangle with an arrow pointing into it is the control you can use to switch back and forth between viewing the movie on your TV screen and your tablet. Tap it to switch.