Now that Amazon Prime Instant Video’s 4K Streams have launched, here’s what you get

by on December 12, 2014

by Stephan Jukic – December 12, 2014

As we’ve already covered a number of times, Amazon has been pushing media attention onto its streaming 4K service for months now, but unlike Netflix’s 4K content –which has been available since April 2014- Amazon’s service is only now finally available to audiences (something which we’ve already announced as well).

So, now that we finally have the much awaited Amazon Prime Instant Video 4K selection in hand, how can audiences get their hands on it and what exactly does it offer?

As far as getting the Amazon service operational in the home goes, it’s pretty simple. Users who want it need three key things. First, they have to be living inside the U.S because, unlike Netflix, Amazon Prime 4K content is currently only available to American customers.

Second, customers need to have an internet connection with a strength of at least 15 Mbps and ideally closer to 25 Mbps. Anything less than a bare minimum of 15 and the 4K shows simply won’t stream at all.

And third, not just any 4K TV will play Amazon Prime 4K content. It has to be a newer model set with HEVC decoding capacity built into it. TVs that have this include the 2014 models from Samsung, Sony, LG, Panasonic, Vizio (the most affordable of the bunch) and a couple of other better known brands.

If you’ve got these essentials covered and ready to go, the new 4K shows and movies from the Instant Video service are yours for only $99 per year, as part of the general Instant Video package.

Now onto what you get:

Currently, the available selection is still a bit slim and certainly smaller than what Netflix is offering but this is expected to change quickly as both companies compete with each other and other major players in the steadily growing 4K entertainment content marketplace.

As of now, available shows include Alpha House, Orphan Black (a BBC series), Transparent, and the children’s TV series Gortimer Gibbon’s Life On Normal Street.

Like we said, this is a pretty limited selection at the moment. However, shows that are coming up almost imminently consist of Hand of God, Real Oaks, Mozart in the Jungle, Bosch, and The After.

Following these releases, we’ll also see the early 2015 arrival of several pilot series that have been made by Amazon’s own studios. These include Cocked, Down Dog, Mad Dogs, Man in the High Castle, Point of Honor, Salem Rogers and The New Yorker Presents.

As for movie selections that come with the subscription price, what you get is also currently a bit limited and consists of a quartet of Sony Pictures Entertainment films which consist of: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Funny Girl, Hitch, and Philadelphia.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon on Amazon Prime in 4K

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is one of four 4K movies that come included with your Instant Video subscription

However, when it comes to 4K selections you can outright buy (which don’t come with the Instant Video Subscription) the movie choices expand somewhat. These are all available for download at prices starting from $19.99 and include: After Earth, American Hustle, Captain Philips, Elysium, Godzilla, Hancock, Moneyball, The Mask of Zorro, The Monuments Men, The Amazing Spider Man 1 and 2, The Da Vinci Code, The Patriot, Think Like a Man Too, and This is the End.

Netflix is currently charging a premium $13.99 monthly charge for access to its larger library of 4K content while Amazon’s service costs only $99 for the whole year. So at first glance Amazon Instant Video looks like the better deal for 4K movie fans. However, given that Netflix includes a wide and growing selection of movies right in its plan instead of making them available for individual sale like Amazon, it seems that the better deal is actually the Netflix 4K service, at least so far.

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