Amazon Instant Video Now Streams In 4K

Today Amazon joined the ranks of Netflix and YouTube by offering 4K Ultra High Definition streaming quality to its Instant Video customers. Movies such as American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Moneyball and The Da Vinci Code can be purchased or rented in 4K. Prime Instant Video subscribers can stream Amazon Original series including Alpha House and Transparent, and the BBC series Orphan Black and movies such as Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Philadelphia in 4K.

But in order to watch 4K streams, viewers need to purchase a 4K TV, which doesn't come cheap. Amazon's lineup of 4K TVs start at $897.99 with the Samsung UN40HU6590 40-inch TV and ranges all the way up to $24,998 for Sony's XBR85X950B 85-inch 3D TV. Further, a decent (and constant) Internet connection speed is required. Netflix recommends 25 Mbps when viewing its 4K content, so Amazon's standards should be about the same. Regardless of your choice of TV, you will be spending a lot of money on 4K.

At the moment, it's unclear as to what else Amazon Instant Video has planned for a 4K makeover. Like Netflix and YouTube, most of the content is still available in HD. Although it seems that 4K is the next big thing in TV resolutions, there hasn't been enough time for a majority of media to adopt the new resolution. Like HD before it, the use of 4K on TV shows, streaming, cameras, and video games will take a few years. Hopefully by then, most 4K TVs won't cost as much and will be widely used in most visual mediums.

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  • MustSee4KTV
    I got my 50" Vizio 4k UHDTV for $698 + tax on Thanksgiving from Walmart. Only tried YouTube 4k, which is not as good as the demos that I have seen at CES. It's a pretty good TV though and definitely worth the price.
  • TechyInAZ
    Yikes 24mbps!!! If you want to watch a 4k video then most people are gona have to use amazons unbox player to download the video first so buffering isn't an issue. ;)
  • Coloradorocker
    Nice, got a 60" Vizio 4K for a steal during the Thanksgiving madness. I know that it will be compressed in order to stream, but I'm still excited by the growing amount of 4k content that is available. Just waiting for some 4k physical media, that's still quite a way out though.
  • airborn824
    Sony is by far the 4k leader. Keep in mind that these early 4k tv are top of the line and they have up scalars and great panels. Sony has already adopter 10 bit panels ahead of everyone else. With phones and tablets these days 4k will hit hard and fast so don't be afraid of it. and again if your looking for a quality 4k tv Sony and Panasonic are light years ahead of the competition.
  • ubercake
    I honestly did not think providers would be streaming 4K this soon.

    Is the required bandwidth for the stream 4x that of a 1080p stream? Anyone know?
  • kapitalistas
    who"s buying 4k tv"s anyway .i watch blue-ray movies i use my monitor 25"with that kind of money for tv which you only can use for same movies not on daily bases watch news.
  • -Lone-
    Get the Panasonic AX900 for $7,500 :D
  • trog69
    I admit that I am a PC gaming fanatic, and so I don't really know about streaming movies, but did they just skip over 1440p/1600p and go straight from 1080p to 4k? I see on YouTube that there are a lot more 4k videos than 1440p ones already.
  • slowur
    4k Samsung here. Been waiting to use my bandwidth on something. 192 Mbps from COX.... Yea baby!!!
  • bit_user
    Lol, even at 25 Mbps it's not gonna look much better (and might even look worse, in some cases) than 1080p, at least assuming they're not using H.265 (which I doubt most devices yet support). Bluray goes up to like 50 Mbps.

    And just running the numbers... a 100 minute movie will use almost 19 GB of whatever your ISP's monthly bandwidth quota is.

    The other problem is actually getting 25 Mbps at peak hours.

    For now, I think I'll just stick to Redbox & discount bin blu-rays on my 1080p plasma.