Use a Media RSS Feed as Your Video Source

You can configure your Amazon Creator app using a Media RSS (MRSS) feed as the source for your video content and details. With MRSS, you host the video on your own server and reference the media files in your feed. Amazon Creator will identify the necessary elements from your feed to create the web app.

Sample Media RSS Feed

Media RSS extends the RSS specification with some elements that are specific to media. These media-specific elements are identified through the media namespace. You can view the MRSS specification here. All of the elements listed in the specification will be valid in your feed. If you have iTunes elements (identified through the itunes namespace) in your MRSS feed, these iTunes elements are also valid.

Here's an example MRSS feed. (This code sample is shortened down to just two elements in the feed.)

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<rss xmlns:atom="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom" xmlns:media="http://search.yahoo.com/mrss/" version="2.0">
   <channel>
      <title>Calm Meditation</title>
      <link>http://sample-firetv-web-app.s3-website-us-west-2.amazonaws.com</link>
      <language>en-us</language>
      <pubDate>Mon, 02 Apr 2018 16:19:56 -0700</pubDate>
      <lastBuildDate>Mon, 02 Apr 2018 16:19:56 -0700</lastBuildDate>
      <managingEditor>tomjoht@gmail.com (Tom Johnson)</managingEditor>
      <description>Contains short videos capturing still scenes from nature with a music background, intended for calming or meditation purposes. When you're stressed out or upset, watch a few videos. As your mind focuses on the small details, let your worries and frustrations float away. The purpose is not to entertain or to distract, but to help calm, soothe, and surface your inner quiet. The videos contain scenes from the San Tomas Aquinas trail in Santa Clara, California.</description>
      <image>
         <link>http://sample-firetv-web-app.s3-website-us-west-2.amazonaws.com</link>
         <title>Calm Meditation</title>
         <url>http://sample-firetv-web-app.s3-website-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/images/calmmeditationlogo_small.png</url>
         <description>Contains short videos capturing still scenes from nature with a music background, intended for calming or meditation purposes. When you're stressed out or upset, watch a few videos. As your mind focuses on the small details, let your worries and frustrations float away. The purpose is not to entertain or to distract, but to help calm, soothe, and surface your inner quiet. The videos contain scenes from the San Tomas Aquinas trail in Santa Clara, California.</description>
         <height>114</height>
         <width>114</width>
      </image>
      <atom:link href="http://sample-firetv-web-app.s3-website-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/feed.xml" rel="self" type="application/rss+xml" />
      <item>
         <title>Shade</title>
         <pubDate>Mon, 23 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700</pubDate>
         <link>http://sample-firetv-web-app.s3-website-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/shade/</link>
         <description>Quiet the mind, and the soul will speak. - Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati</description>
         <guid isPermaLink="false">http://sample-firetv-web-app.s3-website-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/shade/</guid>
         <media:category>All</media:category>
         <media:category>Trail</media:category>
         <media:content url="http://d1nixf144dcz0j.cloudfront.net/shade.mp4" language="en-us" fileSize="37000000" duration="120.0" medium="video" isDefault="true">
            <media:title type="plain">Shade</media:title>
            <media:description type="html">Quiet the mind, and the soul will speak. - Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati</media:description>
            <media:thumbnail url="http://sample-firetv-web-app.s3-website-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/images/thumbs/shade.jpg" />
            <media:credit role="author" scheme="urn:ebu">Tom Johnson</media:credit>
            <media:copyright url="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/" />
         </media:content>
      </item>
      <item>
         <title>Spectators</title>
         <pubDate>Thu, 12 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700</pubDate>
         <link>http://sample-firetv-web-app.s3-website-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/spectators/</link>
         <description>"Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own thoughts, unguarded." – Buddha</description>
         <guid isPermaLink="false">http://sample-firetv-web-app.s3-website-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/spectators/</guid>
         <media:category>All</media:category>
         <media:category>Grass</media:category>
         <media:content url="http://d1nixf144dcz0j.cloudfront.net/spectators.mp4" language="en-us" fileSize="19000000" duration="120.0" medium="video" isDefault="true">
            <media:title type="plain">Spectators</media:title>
            <media:description type="html">"Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own thoughts, unguarded." – Buddha</media:description>
            <media:thumbnail url="http://sample-firetv-web-app.s3-website-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/images/thumbs/spectators.jpg" />
            <media:credit role="author" scheme="urn:ebu">Tom Johnson</media:credit>
            <media:copyright url="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/" />
         </media:content>
      </item>
   </channel>
</rss>

This MRSS feed has just two items in it, each identified through the item element.

When you insert the URL to your MRSS feed into Amazon Creator, it reads the feed's channel and item (the first item element in the feed) and attempts to map these elements to elements in the Amazon Creator app. In some cases (for example, with media:credit role="author"), you may need to select from a drop-down menu to identify how the elements should be mapped.

MRSS feed mapping

The media asset (for example, MP4, M4V, or MP3 file) will automatically be selected.

Not all of the elements in an MRSS feed are actually used in the web app. Only the elements matched when Amazon Creator validates your feed are used. Additionally, your app will display only the latest 50 items per category.

Where to Host Your Videos

If you trying to find a host for your videos, consider using the YouTube source option because YouTube hosts video content for free. If that option doesn't work for you, consider using AWS and Cloudfront. You can upload your videos into an AWS S3 bucket (S3 offers a simple storage service), and then pull the videos into a CDN (content delivery network) through Cloudfront. For details, see Deliver Content Faster with Amazon Cloudfront — if you're following this Cloudfront tutorial, in step 3 in the tutorial, select the "web distribution" rather than RMTP.)

Setting Categories for Items

In your MRSS feed, the category set for each item influences the category navigation bar in the Amazon Creator app. The following image shows the category navigation bar with its options expanded:

For example, the category tags in your MRSS feed might be as follows:

 <media:category>Trail</media:category>

Amazon Creator reads these categories and populates the category navigation bar in the app accordingly.

Thumbnail Image Sizes

The media:thumbnail element in your MRSS feed refers to the video thumbnails that will appear in your app. Although the exact sizes are flexible in Amazon Creator, as a best practice, consider using 800px x 450px (width x height) images. This is a 16x9 aspect ratio. Note that titles are not superimposed over the video thumbnails.

Limitations with Multiple MRSS Feeds

Note that with MRSS feeds, you cannot have multiple feeds. Additionally, you cannot have a single feed that features multiple feeds (as this leads to different metadata in the feed).

Previewing App Updates After Changing Your MRSS Feed Details

If you update some aspect of your MRSS feed, the app preview (Manage Apps > Preview) might not reflect the updates, even when reloading the app preview page. If you don't see the updates, your browser might be caching the old files. Either open an Incognito/Private tab, or clear your cache. To clear your cache, see instructions for your browser: Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer.

Troubleshooting

If you have invalid MRSS feed, the Amazon Creator parser won't work. You can check that your feed is valid using a tool such as Feed Validator.

Next Steps

After you create your app, go on to Step 2: Preview Your App.