Amazon Instant Video will start streaming 4K video to your living room in October 2014… if your living room has a Samsung 4K TV in it.
Amazon has hinted earlier this year that Ultra HD (UHD) was on the cards very soon, telling PC Advisor that it is now filming all its original content in 4K – a decision that was inevitable following Netflix’s excited declarations at the start of the year.
Indeed, House of Cards and Breaking Bad were both touted by Amazon’s rival in January as on the way to 4K screens. House of Cards Season 2 is now available, even in the UK – but only if you have a compatible (read: very expensive) set. That is the main problem with the 4K movement; lack of content and lack of devices.
Manufacturers, though, are still keen to win over as many eyeballs as possible. (Samsung previously predicted that UHD TV sales will top 1 million by the end of the year, with figures expected to climb to 3.3 million by 2017.) It is fitting, therefore, that Samsung are the ones to make this latest announcement and not Amazon itself – although you can expect something official at the IFA very soon.
The company plans to launch Amazon’s UHD VOD service in October globally through its Smart Hub library of built-in apps, and has also expanded Netflix’s UHD VOD Service in Europe, which has been available in the US and other countries since March (see: House of Cards Season 2).
It is not just Amazon Instant Video stepping up to the UHD plate, though: Samsung has also reinforced its cooperation with other major European content partners, including maxdome, Wuaki.tv, and CHILI to secure more UHD content.
“The era of UHD has begun, and to continue even more widespread adoption, it is important to provide consumers with more choices when it comes to UHD content,” Won Jin Lee, Exec. Vice President of Visual Display Business, said in a statement.
“We are providing our customers with a wider array of UHD content to enjoy on our ultra-immersive Curved UHD TVs.”
As more services and (eventually) more content become available in retina-popping ultra high-definition, the future of 4K is getting closer. Until the broadband speeds up – Netflix recommends a bandwidth of at least 20Mbps for its UHD titles – and the prices drop, though, it remains a niche format with an equally small number of titles.