Amazon Prime 4K streaming is finally coming and at no extra cost
by Stephan Jukic – November 11, 2014
After an enormous amount of anticipation that has been building for several months now, Amazon is finally promising that its much vaunted Ultra HD 4K content streaming service will be hitting consumer’s UHD TVs by the end of the year.
We could sort of call this a new year’s resolution for higher resolution from the gigantic internet retailer and its streaming entertainment media arm Amazon Prime.
Amazon has been promising the arrival of 4K streaming content for several months and many customers, currently with only access to the competing Netflix service, have been heavily anticipating what Amazon Prime would bring to its customers. In addition to the promises of eventual delivery of the content, the company has also claimed that all of its new shows as of 2014 would be filmed exclusively in native 4K resolution.
And in addition to these promises, Amazon has also been busy making agreements with companies such as Panasonic and Samsung to provide its streaming app and easy access to HEVC encoded UHD content on their 4K TVs. Now we’re finally on the verge of seeing the fruits of all the hype and planning by the media arm of Amazon.com.
Amazon had originally promised the delivery of content in the next-generation Ultra HD format as early as in January of this year, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. However, despite consistent price drops for 4K TVs to the point where some of the smaller models by major brands like Vizio cost less than $1500 USD, Amazon’s 4K content has remained relatively elusive.
Netflix is the current streaming 4K content leader on the web and has been in this position since spring of this year thanks to the company’s heavy investment in taking the resolution format seriously. Nonetheless, the selection of Ultra HD content Netflix offers is still meager and consists of just a few TV shows like “Breaking Bad”, “House of Cards” (but only Season 2), “Orange is the New Black” and also some movies like “Smurfs 2” and “Ghostbusters” among a few other choices.
In other words Netflix selection of ultra HD content is still more of a novelty list that users can use to show their friends what native 4K looks like on a 4K TV, instead of being a real, broad entertainment option. And while Netflix has plans to expand this selection dramatically, the process will take at least a few more months.
Because of this, the addition of Amazon Prime will be a highly welcome extra to the overall ultra HD entertainment landscape with a very decent (if also still small) selection of choices including: Lady Gaga concerts in 4K and the Amazon-made series “Transparent”, “Alpha House” and “Mozart in the Jungle”, all of which were filmed in native 4K resolution.
There will also likely be a selection of ultra HD movies available with the Amazon service when it arrives.
Best of all, the Amazon 4K streaming service won’t cost users extra. Unlike Netflix, which charges an extra $4 for access to its monthly plan which offers 4K content, Amazon will be including its selection of UHD as part of its regular streaming package, priced at $99 per year.
Viewers who want to subscribe to Amazon Prime 4K streams will obviously need a 4K TV with HEVC decoding capacity and will definitely have to make sure their internet connection is good for at least 20Mbps but may also have to make sure the Amazon Instant Video App that they have in their TVs is updated.
Story by 4k.com