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Amazon Kindle Fire: Whispersync Video Audio Streaming Gears Up

Amazon’s popular Whispersync is front and center tech for its upcoming Kindle Fire color tablet.

Streaming video — on a $199 tablet competing with iPad this holiday season beginning Nov. 15 — needs to work and work well. Amazon’s beefed-up, tablet-ready Whispersync is key to that plan.

Already in use by millions for automatic book syncing, Whispersync on the Kindle Fire tablet will let you stream video, TV and audio, too, execs said this week. Stop and resume as you like. For example, you could start streaming a movie on the Kindle Fire, stop, and resume watching on another screen. Like, say, your TV. Check out the video below.

If it works well, Whispersync could make this the main media buying, streaming service and integrated media shopping, rental and streaming device in the world.  Why? Here’s CEO Jeff Bezos explaining how Amazon is extending the tech to video streaming and synchronous watching, ala Netflix.

So what is Whispersync exactly? Unveiled in 2009 and significantly beefed up for the Kindle Fire, think of it as a cloud-based service for synchronizing rich media play across multiple devices.

If you’ve ever used a Kindle e-reading device, you already know how it works with books. Imagine it with movies or TV shows and you see what Whispersync Video is aiming for. Kindle Fire means never having to fast forward again.

On a Kindle reader, Whispersync helps the system manage where you are and what you’re doing with your ebooks, storing your place or bookmarks at once on your Kindle and also on Amazon servers, constantly updating whenever you connect with a 3G or Wifi connection.

In essence, Whispersync is the coordinating technology that allows you to open any ebook you own or rent on your Kindle –while simultaneously notifying the Amazon file folder holding your book of where you last left off. The tech, which is contract free, lets you use a smartphone or other device for syncing, streaming and playback. It’s always communicating with the Amazon server — updating, storing and syncing in the background.

With movies, bandwidth is an obvious concern. If you’ve ever dealt with downloading a big magazine on an iPad and had to wrestle with space, you know why.

Amazon’s cloud backup with Whispersync works in the background — always updating — and Amazon is offering unlimited storage for any content you purchase via Amazon to boot. The Kindle Fire, cloud-powered as it is and with no HDMI port for HDTV connections, marries WhisperSync with its new cloud-optimized Silk for Kindle Fire mobile browser to access tens of of millions of rich content that wirelessly will work with such devices.

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When Fire ships Nov. 15, we here at groovyPost will give you the lowdown on how well Amazon cloud services and Whispersync work with the huge array of rich content Amazon is making available.

That so far, according to Amazon, includes:

  • More than 100,000 movies and TV shows from Amazon Instant Video, available to stream or download, buy or rent, with one click. If you’ve got an Amazon Prime membership, you get 11,000 more movies and TVs streaming with no cost or data cap. All Fire buyers get a month free of Amazon Prime.
  • Music is a big part of the content available, too. Amazon says it has 17,000,000 songs from Amazon MP3 services available — albums start at about $8, songs cost about $0.69.
  • The Fire will still support all the books Kindle does now — about 1 million Kindle books, which include full-color comic books and cookbooks. Those should really pop on a tablet.
  • Also available via Fire and supported by Whispersync: More than 100 graphic novels, including Watchmen, the bestselling graphic novel. It’ll be available in digital for the first time on the Fire. Also available for Fire: Batman: Arkham City, Superman: Earth OneGreen Lantern: Secret Origin and 96 others from DC Entertainment.
  • Expect 100s of mags and traditional news media to line up. Already, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Wired, USA Today, Wired, Elle, The New Yorker, Cosmopolitan and Martha Stewart Living – including all full color illustrations and video — are gearing up for availability on the upcoming Kindle Fire Newsstand, announced yesterday.
  • Kindle Fire customers get a free three-month trial to 17 Condé Nast magazines. That line-up includes Vanity Fair, GQ and Glamour.

Gina Smith contributed to the reporting on this piece.

7 Responses to Amazon Kindle Fire: Whispersync Video Audio Streaming Gears Up

  1. Austin September 29, 2011 at 9:48 pm #

    It sounds similar to what Netflix already does: remembering exactly where you left off if you exit a movie, or sending you to the correct episode while watching a series.

  2. Gina Smith September 30, 2011 at 12:22 am #

    exactly.
    gs

  3. Brian Burgess September 30, 2011 at 3:39 am #

    Yup! I really like that feature in Netflix. Hopefully Amazon Prime ends up getting a lot of new titles.

  4. Spencer September 30, 2011 at 8:13 am #

    Ok…. So I assume I will need a Amazon App on my TV or Xbox to make this work because I don’t see Apple TV letting amazon put this on its box. The TiVo had amazon streaming I think but TiVo is dead…

    Perhaps Amazon will release a device? I’m an Amazon Prime subscriber, so this could be a big deal for me. I love Amazon more than Apple even due go the best prices on all the crap I buy and free 2 day shipping via Prime.

  5. Jake Thomas October 5, 2011 at 6:54 am #

    I don’t understand how Amazon plans to provide media streaming “with no cost or data cap.” Will the annual Prime Membership fee cover the costs of providing unlimited data streaming? I also wonder if Kindle Fire users will pay a higher price for movie and tv downloads/streaming than say a user accessing the same content via broadband connection. With cellular phone companies charging 50-80 USD per month for 3G/4G service and capping the data at 5-10 GB respectively, it seems counterintuitive that Amazon could offer similar services at a fraction of the cost. Personally, I am very excited about the launch of the Kindle Fire and look forward to watching the progression of the streaming media experience it offers.

    -Jake

  6. Jake Thomas October 5, 2011 at 7:04 am #

    Comment Retracted,

    I now see that the only connectivity the Kindle Fire offers is Wifi.

  7. Internet Streaming October 9, 2011 at 10:47 pm #

    Hi,

    Interesting. This was my First time to this blog. Appreciate you sharing this. I am going to revisit this website.

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