How to install flash to play flash videos on Kindle Fire HDX and HD devices, for Youtube and websites using Flash
This blog article, updated November 27 and December 5-6, 2013, is a companion article to How to Install non-Amazon apps on Kindle Fire HD.
NOTE: - The current update has to do with
(1) a recommendation of an older Dolphin browser version for the HDX line + advice on downloading the specific flash app-file recommended for Kindle HD and HDX (and Nexus tablets) and with
(2) the Network TV Full Episodes being available in dedicated app form now, with the Networks favoring their own apps for mobile-device watching (probably having to do with ad statistics) and restricting mobile-device access on web video versions.
(3) On Dec 8, I added the Adobe Flash Player History page.
Where Dolphin web browser tended to work with a "user agent" setting of "Desktop" mode instead of "Android" in those cases, that workaround has been hampered by some new Network processes.
The upside, of course, is that Network TV full episodes are now easily watchable via their dedicated apps, some of which are at Amazon's appstore and those that aren't can be downloaded by using 1mobile.com's appstore.
(1Mobile now has over 500,000 apps available from GooglePlay, athough you'd search there for the NBC TV or CBS TV apps having the usual network logos and showing the highest number of downloads -- or you can just view and match their icons, app names and version #'s with the apps that are listed on GooglePlay itself.)
TIP: Amazon's own browser can now handle NBC Full Episodes website video! (Nice job, Kindle Team.)
TIP 2: Amazon's own browser currently handles Youtube well by taking you to the mobile version of that site, showing you a small version of the video selected from a search and, when you click on one, shows you a full screen version of it in decent quality w/o your needing to change (via a long-press) the Youtube video gear-wheel setting at the right-bottom of a video, to change the video quality.
Youtube's mobile area was completely rewritten by Youtube to use HTML5 rather than Flash and in the recent past sometimes had a somewhat smaller selection of videos, but they are very similar now. Amazon works with the HTML5 via their new experimental Flash-replacement streamer, which will be described further below.
NOTE: The quality of streaming will be affected by the speed of your Internet connection.
Providers of DSL home Internet access usually use a default, first-tier lower speed that's often about 1/6th the speed of cablemodem speeds, so if you love to watch Internet streamed material via WiFi network connections in your home, I do recommend cablemodem access like Comcast's.
Apps already carried at Amazon's appstore:
WatchABC, which includes viewing of LIVE ABC programs rather than just after the fact, is quite a boon and is much more stable now after some updates. (I think that CBS app (available at 1mobile.com) requires a 5-day delay.) Also carried at Amazon is "Xfinity TV" app, which Comcast users use for "On Demand" offerings.
Amazon's appstore also carries PBS, Smithsonian TV apps, and other TV apps. If you Search the Amazon store for "TV" you'll also see apps for Discovery; History; WatchESPN; RAI; and several others.
But then there's always Amazon Instant Prime viewing, which now includes downloadable files for watching offline, and Amazon keeps adding exclusive material on that feature while providing optional X-Ray background info on actors in the scene you're watching.
Sidenote: One of my favorite new features is playing a favorite mp3 song from the Cloud or downloaded to my device and seeing the new x-ray'd lyrics scrolling down, with the current line highlighted.
TIP 3: - Amazon's new HDX tablets provide what has been described by major tech-site reviewers as the fastest and smoothest experience on tablets today. If multmedia files are your focus and you want them accessible on your device to play offline, get a device with more storage than 16 GB.
I didn't want to pay a few hundred dollars for a multimedia tablet (also, magazines are huge) and wind up feeling constrained, since I also have a lot of photos on mine, so I got the 64GB one and love the freedom from worrying about space, Cloud or no Cloud.
I think of it as a built-in SD card space. Still, a 32GB tablet will be enough for many users.
When shopping different makers and models and analyzing costs, note that a key competing tablet will cost an additional $100 to get to each higher level of storage space - to 32 and to 64GB - and that one does not play Flash on web sites created with Flash.
ADOBE and Flash Support
In October 2012, Youtube and other Flash video no longer worked on newer Android devices like the Nexus tablet line and the Android-based Kindle HD's because Adobe stopped supporting Flash on later models of mobile devices.
The workaround was to use a web browser that supports an Adobe flash player file that works with later mobile devices. (Since all this No-Flash drama happened, Amazon has been working on its own workaround, at Youtube and with a growing number of web sites.)
Many of us are able to view, using Amazon's own default Silk web browser, some of the main Flash-playing sites, even for network TV full episodes now, as mentioned, as Kindle Team has been working on Amazon's Experimental Streaming Viewer which works with a limited number of sites, but they are large, popular ones, and Amazon is expanding the number of websites that will be able to work with it.
Here's my earlier introduction to the Experimental Streaming Viewer, with some initial tips that will help, though there may be some added web-browser setting changes needed via the browser menu for some.
A KEY step is to enable "Accelerate page loading" setting in the Silk web browser menu (it's now the default setting on the HDX tablets), which automatically turns 'ON' the Advenced Setting of "Prompt for experimental streaming viewer."
Back to the Google-owned Youtube:
A brief history of THAT dilemma brought on by Adobe's dropping of Flash support and explanation for the workaround has been moved to its own page because this article was so long that the RSS feed stopped working two weeks ago (Nov, 19).
For Flash support, the Amazon Kindle Forum regulars have relied on the XDA Developer Site for the latest working file to be tested by knowledgeable XDA forum members and offered for download.
Over the last year, Youtube's videos have worked sporadically for various devices, with intermittent Flash compatability with browsers using special Flash files, while Youtube developers worked to provide full HTML5 support (the eventual Flash replacement on all websites that keep up to date) in place of Flash.
Amazon has now been able to improve Experimental Streaming Viewer so that Youtube videos can be viewed without any special work on the part of the user.
(Just be sure to look at your web menu Settings option and choose to use that experimental feature with a check mark on that box.)
Amazon does take you to the mobile version of Youtube as described above. You see a large thumbnail of the video you're about to play and when you click on that, it plays full screen and automatically in HD if the video was done in HD and if your Internet connection is fast enough.
WORKAROUND and Step-by-Step GUIDE, for sites that need the Flash-player workaround
Per Amazon's Kindle Forum discussions, Kindle Fire HD and HDX owners are using, as needed, three files that provide a good workaround, the same 3 files that Google Nexus owners need to get Flash video on Youtube since the Adobe Flash (Non)Support travails.
Re those three files, linked below, FIRST do the following:
STEPS: (based on *~*Pineapple*~*'s guide from the forums:
Do the following on the Kindle Fire HD or Kindle Fire HDX tablets:
- Go to the 'Home' screen.
- Swipe down (lightly pressing and pulling down) from the top of the screen.
- That gets you the Quick Settings Menu.
- Click on "More" at the top right.
- Go down the Settings list to "Device" and click on that.
- Choose to "Allow Installation of Applications From unknown sources."
Installation files end in ".apk" ...
Then download and tap to install, to your Kindle Fire 2/HD, the files at the following links, with your new Kindle Fire HD or HDX tablet:
- the free file manager app, ES File Explorer
[It's ALSO useful, in case of an install problem to get Easy Installer app, which can do a search for install-files and then shows them to you so that you can choose which one to install.
Be sure to check Easy Installer's top-right Menu
(3 vertical squares),
click on 'Setting' and check the 'Scan Hidden Directories' box.]
- the specific Adobe Flash file offered at XDA Developers Forum
Please read recommended alternate source just below.
The XDA Developers Forum file links now lead to strange ad-crazy pages, one of which asks for your credit card info and one of which promises racy pictures.
So, since the actual recommended file uploaded by XDA forum's "Recognized Contributor" stempox is the Flash File version that ends with ".27" and that file is directly available at Adobe's Archives with no download fuss:
Here is the general Adobe Archive page for Flash Player files, and, more to the point, here's the direct Adobe link to that same file (Flash Player 11.1.for Android 4.0 (188.8.131.52) in Adobe's own archives.
- Here's the Dolphin browser (v8.5.1), identified in the forum post as "APK Download," which supports that specific Adobe Flash Player file.(I've, in the past, used the most recent Dolphin browser HD (v10.0.3), with the earlier Yr 2012 Kindle HD as that had worked well for me with the older special Adobe Flash Player file.)
HOWEVER, on the HDX 8.9" tablet I have, the older v8.5.1 Dolphin browser file, linked to above, works more smoothly with the current recommended Adobe Flash Player file.
(If you want the the latest Dolphin browser despite that, you can get it from 1mobile -- To use any android appstore, you just download its store app, which will work like the Amazon store app). The Dolphin makers continue to update that browser; HOWEVER, the one file that's recommended at the Amazon Kindle forum is the v8.5.1 linked to above, so it's better to just get v8.5.1 linked above to be sure, especially with the HDX tablet)
Once an install file (.apk) downloads, you'll receive a Notification that it's been downloaded. Then, do the following:
When you receive notification that the Adobe Flash Player is downloaded, run or launch the ES File Explorer app if the Amazon Silk browser doesn't do it automatically. So, ONLY IF needed:
- Use ES Explorer file manager to look in the "Download" folder
if an app doesn't auto-install.
- You should see the Dolphin HD browser icon.
- Tap it to install the browser.
- If needed, do the same for the Adobe Flash Player file.
Dolphin HD Browser settings
When you've launched the browser, the usual Android Menu icon (it's square and looks like an air conditioner or a washboard) can be tapped to bring up several options.
- Tap on "More" (it has 3 lines).
- Then tap on the 3rd option, which is "Settings."
- Go down to "Web Content" and tap "Flash Player" -- the choices are:
- Always on (videos will auto-run - easiest but it'll slow down some page loads and sometimes Flash routines will cause crashes, one reason Steve Jobs hated it).
- On Demand (You'll tap a blank rectangle -- or one with a down-arrow in it -- to have it run only when you want that.)
- Off (I see no reason to use this.)
- Other settings - ones I use, in case you wonder what might work:
. Auto-fit Pages: ON
. Default Zoom: 200% (Close up)
. Open Pages in Overview: ON
Then, after installing the app files and making sure that the Flash setting is set to run Flash either Always or On Demand, you'll be able to switch to the Dolphin HD browser app when needing to see a video requiring Flash.
Very interesting additional Dolphin setting:
Getting back to the Main Settings page list, the FIRST one is "User Agent." I tend to use "Desktop" there because I hate ugly, oversimplified mobile-device optimized pages, which are built for small smartphones.
The webpages you visit with the tablet will tend to know you're a visiting Android, or Android device :-) and sometimes will not run Flash as a result.
For example, SOME TV video pages will actually not allow videos to run on Android devices but will allow them to run for "Desktop" devices or on iPads. This is where you can camouflage your device as a a 'Desktop' or iPad :-)
Remember to change it back when needing to use the Android setting though.
Troubleshooting. Restarts - I had an HD Youtube video close on me one night in October 2012 after a few seconds. Twice, after I'd been running the browser with many tabs open. When quite a bit has been run on a tablet, sometimes memory gets fragmented and there's not enough to hold what's needed in 'contiguous' mode and then an app will close.
In case that might be the reason, I just powered off the device from the Home page, which will clean up the memory the same way our computers do upon power-off or restart. After doing that, I had no problems with that same 9-minute Youtube High Definition video and played it full-screen a few times, using the Dolphin browser and the Adobe Flash Player file that members of the Kindle forums recommend.
Other app stores that are recommended when Amazon does not have a particular app Besides 1mobile.com, popular ones are androiddrawer.com, m.getjar.com, iapktop.com slideme.org, handango.com, and others. As with any appwstore, you can search for an app and download it to the tablet. This is because Amazon has always allowed the option of installing appication files "from unknown sources" despite what you'll read on large tech sites (for reasons I don't understand, since they spend space talking about 'rooting' the tablets or doing 'modifications' on them and the normal mode requires none of that. Just a checkmark on a box.
I always recommend though that people wait a few days before getting apps from any other sites, to see if anyone is having problems with malware (even at Google Play market, when Google allows access, but Google doesn't acknowledge Kindle Fire devices). Google doesn't take as much time to vet apps as Amazon does, to test for both malware or incompatability.
Amazon's appstore should be supported though. Of course, if Amazon carries the app, it's definitely best to get it from Amazon because Amazon does a strong vetting of the apps they offer and because it's the way they make revenue from (now the highest-quality hardware) tablets sold at cost. They also keep a copy of the app in your Amazon Cloud area, which is useful when you are getting another Kindle tablet or if you just need to re-install the file. I think it's important to support the Amazon Android appstore, but I also think it's important that Amazon make more good apps available to us at a faster pace, and maybe they should have a suggestion box for the more popular requests.
***The actual ADOBE statement on Flash Player support (or not)
for types of tablets and the Android versions involved
is now part of the Adobe Flash Player History page.
SHORTCUT Links for this blog article that will be easier to remember:
RELATED posts on Kindle Fire HDs which are useful also for the
(Descriptions of Kindle 7" features will apply to the 8.9" models also.)
. Getting non-Amazon apps on Kindle Fires
(The basic models of each Kindle Fire tablet line
have storage space limitations though.)
. Google Maps, Street View and other apps on my Kindle Fire,
via enabling one device setting
. Downloading and playing YouTube videos on Kindle Fire HD.
Also, TubeMate app for Youtube will download videos to play on your Kindle Fire,
and BSPlayer app will play almost ANY video format.
. Using the camera and Video, Panorama mode, Time Lapses
. Add Wi-Drive pocketable disk/stream'g for Kindle models
and for other tablet or phone devices,
or, Portable wireless 320G Patriot Gauntlet drive/stream'g for 7" & 8.9" devices.
. App for WiFi file transfers w/o cable.
For reference, here is the Current Global Listing of available Kindle devices.
Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources. Top 100 free bestsellers. Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.
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