What Amazon Prime and Netflix are Offering and which 4K TVs can Handle Them

by on September 30, 2014

by Stephan Jukic – September 30th, 2014

We’ve discussed the development of Netflix and Amazon prime 4K content rollouts numerous times on this site, but let’s take a moment to get down to a review of the specific details of what exactly both of these two streaming digital 4K content providers are or will be offering and exactly what TV brands are best designed for accepting it, or able to accept it at all.

So far, one of the biggest still continuing problems with 4K Ultra HD is the shallow pool of content available for it, and although this is definitely on its way towards changing drastically in the coming weeks, months and years, it is worth pointing out that even Netflix and Amazon are just beginning with their 4K streaming development.

Netflix has been showing a limited selection of movies 4k and shows for no more than 6 months and Amazon is only now, in October, going to be releasing its first native Ultra HD shows and films to audiences watching from select TV brands and in possession of an internet connection powerful enough to handle the data needs of UHD video.

So what do Amazon and Netflix offer in their very new 4K services?

Netflix for its part, as the first TV streaming content service to launch 4K content, has been online since April, when it launched House of Cards in 4K. Their first 4K offering was the second season of House of Cards and this was later than upgraded to also include the first season in the same 3840 x 2160 pixel resolution.

Now, Breaking Bad, Smurfs 2 and Ghostbusters are the latest new offerings of the 4K Netflix service. While these are great pioneering efforts, they also represent a very limited range of video so far.

However, just as is the case with Amazon, Netflix is also making sure that all of its new original shows as of now are filmed in native 4K, so that the company’s selection can keep growing. These upcoming shows include the Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul, the Wachowski brother’s Sci-fi series Sense8 and a number of series based on Marvel comics that include Daredevil, Like Cage and Jessica Jones.

Amazon Prime is much newer to the audience ready 4K streaming game than Netflix since it hasn’t even begun actually releasing its Ultra HD streams to the public. However, the subsidiary has also promised that all of its original native movies and shows for 2014 and beyond will be filmed in 4K resolution.

The exact titles of these Amazon shows are still not well known but we do know that studios such as Warner Bros, Lionsgate, 20th Century Fox and the Discovery Channel have all been named as Amazon partners for future 4K content creation.

One in-house series of Amazon’s that is known is the TV show Extant, which stars Halle Berry and this series is only one of many the company is either already filming or will be filming eventually.

Now the obvious question of which 4K TVs can support either of these two services comes along.

So far, Netflix is the more flexible of the two services. While it does require HEVC (H.265) decoding in the TVs that receive its signals in order to be visible, the content the company offers can apparently be watched on any UHD TV that has H.265. These include the LG UB range, Samsung’s HU and S9/S9V TVs, Sony’s X-Series, Panasonic’s AX900 TVs and the new Vizio P-Series sets.

Panasonic's AX900 Line of TVs will support both Netflix and Amazon Primer 4K streaming

Panasonic’s AX900 Line of TVs will support both Netflix and Amazon Primer 4K streaming

As for Amazon companies that have touted compatibility with Amazon Prime 4K streaming include Sony, Panasonic Samsung (the same TV models as for Netflix) and the Vizio P-Series TVs.

For either Netflix or Amazon 4K streaming, even if you do have a compatible TV, you will need a very good broadband connection that offers at least 20 consistent Mbps of connectivity for the 4K content to work properly.

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