Amazon Prime takes aim at Netflix with 4k video at no extra cost
Staff Reporter | On 13, Nov 2014
Amazon Prime has just delivered an ultra-jab at Netflix by offering Ultra HD video at no extra cost.
4k streaming has been a growing emphasis of Netflix’s plans this year, as they introduced remastered ultra high-definition versions of shows such as Breaking Bad, as well as their original series, House of Cards.
While this was initially introduced for UK and US users in April, though, they later raised the price for new members in America wanting to stream in 4K. (As with their previous price hike, Netflix have frozen the price for existing customers for a couple of years.)
Now, though, Amazon has hit back by confirming that it will also be offering 4K video by the end of 2014 – with no additional fees at all.
“Amazon Prime members will have access to a great selection of Ultra HD content on Prime Instant Video at no additional cost,” said Michael Paull, vice president of Amazon Digital Video.
Does it really make a difference to your average Netflix or Amazon user? Not really: to stream in 4K, you need a compatible TV, as well as a compatible streaming device, both of which cost an absurd amount of money.
In the future, though, that will change, as the technology becomes increasingly commonplace and affordable.
Indeed, one report from Parks Associates forecasts that more than 46 million households around the world will subscribe to a 4K pay-TV service by 2018.
“To enjoy the true benefits of 4K, three things need to be present: the television, the content, and a way to get the content to the TV,” says Brett Sappington, Director of Research at Parks Associates.
“4K can deliver an enhanced experience to viewers, but these three factors are not yet aligned. Getting 4K content to the TV remains a key challenge as is the pace of production of 4K content.”
Amazon will soon start to contribute to that content. Taking a similar approach to Netflix, its original series will be released in UHD, including Transparent, Alpha House (pictured), Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga concert Cheek to Cheek and Mozart in the Jungle, most of them by the end of 2014.
“We want to be the best entertainment destination for customers,” added Paull.
“We’re confident that offering Ultra HD content, whether it’s a TV series or a film, will help create the ultimate viewing experience and can’t wait to start making it available.”
It may not mean much more than sore eye for Netflix at the moment – there is still no confirmation that 4K content will be released in the UK as well as in the US – but in four years’ time, this could prove to be a decisive move from the online retailer.