Large screen 4K televisions have slowly fallen in price and are now affordable for most buyers. As a result, the hunger for 4K movies and TV shows is greater than ever, including from streaming services like Amazon Prime Video.
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Whether you access via a smart TV platform, TV stick, or set-top box, new subscribers to the Amazon Prime Video service who also own 4K TVs are likely to be wondering what kind of 4K content, if any, is available to to stream their televisions.
Fortunately, the short answer is yes: Amazon Prime Video supports 4K movies and shows. That’s not the full story though, so we’ll take a closer look at what kind of 4K content Amazon’s Netflix rival has to offer below.
How to Watch 4K UHD and HDR Content on Amazon Prime Video
If you subscribe to Amazon Prime, you can stream a variety of movies and shows in 4K, as well as almost all of the service’s original creations. That means if you have a supported 4K TV, you can stream original Amazon Prime shows like Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, The Grand Tour, The Man In the High Castle, The Expanse and many more in 2160p resolution.
Almost all of Amazon Prime Video original shows also support High Dynamic Range (HDR) features, which should give those shows a wider range of colors and better contrast.
Amazon Prime Video 4K movies and TV shows support three HDR standards. One is simply the standard HDR standard, and the other uses the standards created by Dolby Labs, and the shows that support that standard are referred to as ‘Dolby Vision’. The other standard is HDR10 +, and the shows that use it are labeled as such.
In addition to all of the thousands of movies and TV episodes on Amazon Prime Video available with an Amazon Prime subscription (some of which are 4K compatible), the service also offers movies and TV shows for rent or purchase. An increasing number of those movies and shows are now available in 4K UHD resolution. You can expect to pay more to rent or buy these movies and shows in 4K, compared to their HD and SD versions.
What Internet Download Speeds Are Needed?
Officially, the company says you need an internet connection with at least 15 Mbps for download speeds to stream Amazon Prime Video content in 4K resolution. While these are some pretty high requirements from Amazon, keep in mind that Netflix’s download speed requirements for its 4K videos are even higher at 25 Mbps.
Should I buy a more expensive streaming plan?
Unlike Netflix, which forces its customers to pay more to access its supported videos in 4K resolution, Amazon Prime Video is a one-price business plan. In other words, when you sign up for Amazon Prime, either through the main service or with the standalone video plan, you can access the videos with all its resolutions, including 4K, at no extra cost. Again, this is only for the movies and series under the Amazon Prime Video plan; videos that you need to rent or buy directly through the service may still come at a higher price if you want to watch them in 4K.
Which devices support Amazon Prime 4K?
Smart TVs with 4K and HDR support
Amazon’s support page reveals that officially all Ultra HD smart TVs from Sony, Samsung and LG made in 2015 and beyond can support streaming of 4K video from Amazon Prime Video. Additionally, the service’s HDR support is supported by select 2015 or later Samsung SUHD TVs, along with select 2015 or later LG OLED and Super UHD TVs, and all 2015 or later Sony Ultra HD TVs.
Additionally, 4K UHD support is available on supported Phillips, Visio, Sharp, Grundig, JVC, TCL, Skyworth, AOC, Changhong, Haier, Hisense, Panasonic, and Vestel 4K TVs. That includes smart TVs from companies using Amazon’s own Fire TV operating system or the Roku operating system. Panasonic Blu-Ray players from 2016 also support 4K streaming.
Game consoles with 4K support
Microsoft’s Xbox One and the new Xbox Series X / S game consoles support streaming of the supported movies and TV shows on Amazon Prime Video in 4K resolution. Additionally, Sony’s new PlayStation 5 console supports 4K streaming with the service.
Set-top boxes and streaming sticks with 4K UHD support
Of course, Amazon’s own Fire TV 4K Stick will allow 4K televisions without smart TV access to stream movies and TV shows from Amazon Prime Video in 5K UHD resolution. The same goes for the Fire TV Cube set-top box. Other sticks and set-top boxes that support Amazon Prime Video in 4K include the Google Chromecast Ultra, Roku Streaming Stick Plus, the Roku Ultra, the Apple TV 4K, and the Nvidia Shield TV.
Smartphones and tablets with 4K support
Currently, the Android Amazon Prime Video app supports 4K streaming for select movies and TV shows. Of course, your phone or tablet must also support 4K resolutions for this to work. The iOS version of the app does not currently support this kind of resolution.
Do Desktop and Laptop PCs Support 4K UHD Streaming for Amazon Prime Video?
If you are streaming movies and TV shows from Amazon Prime Video on your Windows, Mac or Linux laptop or notebook, or even on your Chromebook, the bad news is that you cannot stream the supported 4K videos at that high resolution . Due to copyright restrictions on those platforms, HD is the highest resolution you can get for those devices.