Amazon Video just got its first Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR) content, available now to streaming customers.
HDR has been an increasingly popular feature on smartphone cameras for years now, notably improving picture quality by delivering deeper colors and a wider range of gray shades in between.
As a TV technology, however, HDR is still in its early beginnings, just now starting to gain ground. Netflix, for its part, released its first HDR show back in April and promised more than 100 hours' worth of HDR titles set to roll out this year.
Amazon is now getting in the game, adding HDR content such as The Smurfs 2 to its Amazon Video offering. Amazon Prime subscribers who already have a high-end TV that supports Dolby Vision will likely rejoice at this news, albeit not many may fit into this category.
Dolby Vision is currently available on just a few 4K Ultra HD TVs from LG and Vizio, but more options should become available as HDR gains ground as a TV technology. While Amazon first added HDR on Amazon Video last year, the new move brings the first HDR content in the Dolby Vision HDR format.
"The Dolby Vision ecosystem is garnering momentum, affirming that the best way to enjoy stunning content with expanded dynamic range and ultra-vivid colors is with Dolby Vision," says Curt Behlmer, Dolby Laboratories senior vice president of Content Solutions and Industry Relations. "With the increased number of Dolby Vision enabled TVs now in market, Amazon's commitment to deliver Dolby Vision content to consumers marks another leap forward in providing viewers around the world with access to exceptional movies and original content that come to life on screen."
If this news sparked your interest, here's what you need to know. First off, there are different formats. The HDR content Netflix offers, for instance, supports playback on Dolby Vision TVs and HDR10-compatible TVs (such as select Sony, Samsung and LG smart TVs), with HDR10 being the standard supported by the Ultra High Definition Alliance. As of now, both Netflix and Amazon support both HDR10 and Dolby Vision HDR formats.
Besides the available HDR titles, however, there's also a notable pricing difference between Netflix and Amazon. With the former, you have to get the Ultra HD tier to get access to the entire HDR library on Netflix, which amounts to $12 per month, $2 more than the standard plan.
Amazon, meanwhile, allows Prime customers to watch Bosch in HDR at no extra charge, but Dolby Vision movie titles will require separate fees and specific pricing details are yet to become available. Dolby Vision HDR titles on Amazon Video include The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Elysium, Men in Black 3, Chappie, After Earth, Salt, Hancock, Pineapple Express and Fury, in addition to the aforementioned The Smurfs 2. Current HD movie prices are around $13, but it remains to be seen what prices Amazon announces for Dolby HDR titles.
These select movies from Sony Pictures now in Amazon's Dolby Vision catalog make up a section of the titles Amazon has in its trove on the HDR10 format.
Amazon says that the new addition of Dolby HDR content is just the beginning, as it plans to add more movies and TV series down the line.