Tips for Amazon's Kindle, Video on Demand, and Gold Box Deals

A couple weeks ago I showed you how to find free and discounted e-books for your Kindle. Today, let's talk about another kind of reading material: Web content.

For example, suppose you want to save a killer Hassle-Free PC post for later reading on your Kindle. Or an online interview with your favorite movie star. It's easier than you might think: all you need is Kindlebility, a clever bookmarklet that clips and sends Web pages to your Kindle.

I love this thing. It's great for those times when, say, you're about to head out of town and want something besides a book to read. Or when you want to archive something useful for later reference.

Once it's set up, using Kindlebility is literally as simple as clicking the bookmarklet on whatever page you're viewing. And speaking of setup, it's pretty much a three-step process: simply enter your e-mail address on the Kindlebility page, drag your bookmarklet to your browser's toolbar, then authorize Kindlebility in your Kindle's account settings. If you need more help, check out this this short how-to video.

Watch Amazon Video Downloads in Windows Media Center

If you're a Windows Media Center die-hard like I am (I use an HP system with Ceton's InfiniTV 4 as the hub of my home theater), you've probably wished for a way to buy and rent movies and TV shows, then access them all from your couch.

iTunes can supply the movies and TV shows, of course, but there's no way to watch them within Windows Media Center. (Actually, there's a plug-in--MCE Tunes--that makes this possible, but it doesn't support Windows 7.)

That leaves Amazon's Video on Demand service. Although it offers no direct integration with Windows Media Center, it does make watching your downloaded videos easier than you might think.

To get started, download the free Amazon Unbox utility to your media-center PC. Install it, run it, and then sign into your Amazon account.

If you've already purchased some videos, just click the My Videos tab in Unbox, choose the one you want, and download it. You can also shop for movies and TV shows within the program, or just use your Web browser.

By default, the program will save your downloads to an Amazon Unbox subfolder within your Videos folder. The next time you load Windows Media Center, navigate to Pictures + Videos, Video Library, then click the Amazon Unbox folder. Presto: you should see your downloads! Choose one and start watching it like you would any other video. (Note that you can't start watching a video until Unbox completes the download.)

To recap, Amazon Unbox automatically saves videos to folder that's already accessible in Windows Media Center, so you should have no trouble watching Amazon Video on Demand purchases--without getting off the couch. Neat!

Get a Sneak Peek at Amazon's Gold Box Deals

As a self-proclaimed cheapskate, I'm a big fan of Amazon's Gold Box. It features a different "spotlight" deal every day (today's is any complete season of The Simpsons on DVD for just $13.99), plus various Lightning Deals offered throughout the day.

The latter are kept fairly secret (Amazon shows only a terse description) until they go live at their designated times, but the Shopping Assistant add-on for Firefox and Chrome shows you a preview of each upcoming Lightning Deal.

All you do is click the plus sign next to any entry marked Upcoming Deal, then mouse over the little gold treasure-chest. You'll see a preview image of the product and a link to its Amazon page. (Keep in mind, though, that the price you see there is the non-sale price. To find out the sale price, you'll have to wait until the deal goes live.) It's a neat little hack for sneaking an early peek at Amazon's deals.

That's not Shopping Assistant's only trick. When you search for a product on a selected site (Buy.com, Newegg, etc.), it provides similar items from other sites (including Ebay and Walmart), thus allowing for quick price-comparisons. It also links you to a price-history chart (though only for Amazon), which is helpful in determining if the product you're after has ever been cheaper--or might be again.

Definitely a nice little tool for bargain hunters!

If you've got a hassle that needs solving, send it my way. I can't promise a response, but I'll definitely read every e-mail I get--and do my best to address at least some of them in the PCWorld Hassle-Free PC blog . My 411: hasslefree@pcworld.com . You can also sign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week .

Subscribe to the Daily Downloads Newsletter

Comments