Save your FREE seat for Streaming Media Connect this August. Register Now!

Amazon Introduces 4K Video Streaming, But Only for Newer 4K TVs

Article Featured Image

All those people buying 4K TVs this holiday season—or during the pre-Super Bowl TV sales—might actually have something to watch (although buyers of 2013 4K TVs are out of luck). Amazon announced yesterday that it's offering 4K video streaming. For no extra cost, Amazon Prime subscribers can watch a handful of TV series in 4K, such as Amazon's Alpha House and the BBC's Orphan Black, or movies including Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Funny Girl.

For non-Prime subscribers, the options are less limited, but come with a fee. Movie purchases start at $19.99 and include more recent titles, such as American Hustle and Captain Philips. Netflix was previously the only large provider to offer 4K, but Amazon is offering many more titles.

The rollout shows why consumers don't want to be early adopters on 4K. Amazon video is in HEVC, and only some 2014 TVs from Samsung, LG, Sony, and Vizio are compatible. Most 2013 4K TVs are not. Amazon has a list of compatible sets.

CNET ran some quick side-by-side comparisons and found the streaming 4K video more detailed than 1080p and comparable to Blu-ray. CNET also noted that some supported 4K TVs couldn't find Ultra HD content in the updated Amazon app.

Streaming Covers
for qualified subscribers
Subscribe Now Current Issue Past Issues
Related Articles

Amazon Increasing Original Program Budget to Compete With Netflix

Original series and movies are proving crucial for video-on-demand services, so Amazon is doubling down from its $1.3B 2014 budget.

From Small Things: Why Shooting Ultra HD Video Matters Today

Streaming 3D was a non-starter, but 4K/Ultra HD is a different matter. Here's why producers should future-proof their workflows in 2015.

HDMI Fails at 4K; Will CES Show a Faster Wireless Connector?

Streaming 4K video will be a major theme at next week's CES, but manufacturers need to ditch the outdated HDMI connector for TV viewing.

Vimeo Goes Ultra High-Def: Lets Creators Offer 4K Video Downloads

Vimeo Pro members who shoot and upload video in 4K can now let people download their work in the same 4K resolution.

Amazon Intros Fire TV Stick, Competes with Google Chromecast

The TV device market is getting crowded, but that didn't stop Amazon from unveiling its second device, this one a compact stick with remote.

Is 4K Doomed to Be the Next 3D? Akamai Says No

Not long ago, 3D was the next big thing in home video. The problem was that no one wanted it. Why will 4K video be any different?