Amazon Announces Streaming 4K Content for Prime Members

Amazon Prime members who enjoy free two-day shipping and unlimited streaming of music and video can soon add Ultra HD to their subscription perks. Amazon announced yesterday that it is releasing a catalog of television shows and movies that stream in 4K, joining Netflix in a move that may provide consumers with another reason to consider a UHD TV purchase. Current UHD models offered by LG, Samsung and Sony feature a built-in chip capable of decoding 4K video streamed from Amazon.

amazon_prime_smallAmazon’s initial 4K content will include original series such as “Alpha House” and “Transparent,” BBC series “Orphan Black,” and select Sony movies.

“There is no extra cost for streaming in 4K — Netflix charges its members extra — but people will need to have a TV that supports the higher resolution,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “Currently, that is only specific Samsung, LG and Sony TVs that shipped in the past year, ranging in price from $800 to $25,000.”

The new sets include the chip necessary to decode the 4K content streamed over the Internet by Amazon. Earlier 4K TVs do not have the chip, and recent UHD models from Panasonic, Toshiba and Vizio support Netflix 4K but not Amazon 4K.

“Amazon isn’t keeping 4K to Prime,” notes WSJ. “It says it also will soon sell individual 4K movies for $19.99 and up, pricier than what it charges for traditional HD movies.”