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.