HD2 tips & tricks: Watch your movies using the HTC media player

Transformers look fantastic on the new T-Mobile HTC HD2, but when you go to play your other loaded movies you may find them only playable in the lame Windows Media Player Mobile app. There is actually a way to use the HTC media player to enjoy these movies so here are the steps.

I am really enjoying my T-Mobile HD2 and after a couple of days with the lock screen freezing up and device locking up I have had two and a half days of rock solid stability. I think it may have been one of the 20+ 3rd party apps I loaded right away, but it may also have been due to the Contact Favorites bug since I have had these favorites synced across multiple devices in the past. Every review I have read has been quite positive of the device, even with Windows Mobile 6.5 powering it so as much as some people complain the operating system is still a viable choice that does offer a high level of customizability. I just read a very good review over on PC Magazine that was thorough and truthful. One thing mentioned by the reviewer was the apparent inability to view video files, other than the included Transformers movies, with the slick and simplified HTC media player. I wanted to post another tips & tricks article for the HD2 since you can indeed use this player.

Windows Mobile devices have had Windows Media Player Mobile loaded as the default media player for years and it has not changed much since I started using Pocket PC devices back in 2001. It is rather clunky and requires lots of jumping around and interaction to get things up and running. HTC has several utilities loaded on the HD2 that offer better alternatives for many default Windows Mobile ones. I previously wrote about the excellent HTC music player that looks a lot like an iPhone with album art flying across the screen.

OK, enough chatter about HTC utilities, let's get down to business. In your T-Mobile HD2 Sense Today screen you will find a tab for Photos & Videos. When you jump to it you will find you can flick your finger up or down and view thumbnails of your photos. You may then ask, "Where are the videos?" and unfortunately this looks like an oversight on HTC's part since videos are not shown in this preview area. Here are the steps to get to your video files and enjoy them with the HTC media player rather than Windows Media Player Mobile:

  1. Tap Albums from the Sense screen.
  2. Tap Albums from within the screen that now opens. (Mine is labeled Camera Shots at the top left.)
  3. Scroll down to your Storage Card area (if that is where you placed your movies) and you should see a thumbnail for Movies with the number of movies you have loaded on the right in parenthesis. You will also see a Transformers folder here.
  4. Tap the folder and then tap on the movie you want to view using the HTC media player.

Now, this is a rather convoluted way to get to your movies, so here is what you can do after drilling down to your Movies folder as detailed above.

  1. Tap the Menu soft key on the right.
  2. Tap on "Set Album as Favorite"
  3. Your Movie album will now be the default on the Sense Today screen so you can flip through your movies there. Unfortunately, you can only have one favorite on the Sense Today screen so you cannot have both camera shots and movies placed there.

You could set the All album as your favorite, but then you end up with album art images, B&N book cover images, game icon images, emoticons, and every other image file in your Sense Today screen area and that is too cluttered for me.

Even though you can see your BlockBuster rentals in the File Explorer, they do not appear in the Photos & Videos app so I have not found a way to play them in anything other than Windows Media Player Mobile. I assume the HTC application does not have the proper setup for viewing licensed DRM movies. I also discovered that movies are automatically erased from your storage card after the rental period expires.

By the way, did you know that you can tap the Facebook icon when you jump into the Albums area to see photo albums from your Facebook friends too? There are a lot of hidden treasures in the HD2 and I will share some major ones with you moving forward.