4K big-screen televisions have slowly come down in price and are now affordable for most buyers. As a result, the appetite for 4K movies and TV shows is stronger than ever, including from streaming services like Amazon Prime Video.
Read more: What’s new on Amazon Prime
Whether you’ve got access through a smart TV platform, TV stick, or set-top box, new subscribers to the Amazon Prime Video service that also own 4K TVs likely wonder what sort of 4K content, if any, is available to stream onto their televisions.
Thankfully, the short answer is yes: Amazon Prime Video does support 4K movies and shows. That’s not the full story, however, so below we’ll be looking further into what kind of 4K content Amazon’s Netflix rival has to offer.
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 nearly all of the service’s original creations. That means that if you have a supported 4K TV, you can stream Amazon Prime original shows such as Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, The Grand Tour, The Man In the High Castle, The Expanse, and many more in 2160p resolution.
Nearly all of Amazon Prime Video’s original shows also support High Dynamic Range (HDR) features, which should give those shows a larger range of colors, along with better contrast.
Amazon Prime Video’s 4K movie and TV shows support three HDR standards. One is just the basic HDR standard, and another uses ones created by Dolby Labs, and the shows that support that standard will be labeled as “Dolby Vision.” The other standard is HDR10+, and the shows that use it will be labeled as such.
In addition to all of the thousands of movies and TV episodes on Amazon Prime Video that are available with an Amazon Prime subscription (some of which are 4K compatible), the service also offers movies and TV shows for rental or purchase. An increasing number of those movies and shows are now available in 4K UHD resolution. You can expect to pay more for renting or purchasing these films and shows in 4K, compared to their HD and SD versions.
What internet download speeds are needed?
Officially, the company says that you will need an internet connection with at least 15Mbps for download speeds to streaming Amazon Prime Video content in 4K resolution. While those are some fairly high requirements from Amazon, keep in mind that Netflix’s download speed requirements for its 4K videos are even higher, at 25Mbps.
Do I need to purchase 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 fits all” business plan. In other words, when you sign up for Amazon Prime, either through the main service or with the standalone video plan, you get access to its videos with all of its resolutions, including 4K, at no extra charge. Again this is just for the movies and series under the Amazon Prime Video subscription; videos that you have to rent or buy outright on the service may still have a higher price if you want to watch them in 4K.
What devices support Amazon Prime 4K?
Smart TVs with 4K and HDR support
Amazon’s support page shows that officially, all of the Ultra HD smart TVs from Sony, Samsung and LG made in 2015 and afterward can support streaming 4K video from Amazon Prime Video. In addition, HDR support from the service is supported by select Samsung SUHD TVs from 2015 or later, along with select LG OLED and Super UHD TVs from 2015 or later, and all of Sony Ultra HD TVs from 2015 or later.
In addition, 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 those companies that use Amazon’s own Fire TV OS or the Roku OS. Panasonic Blu-Ray players from 2016 or after also support 4K streaming.
Game consoles with 4K support
Microsoft’s Xbox One and the new Xbox Series X/S game consoles support streaming the supported movies and TV shows on Amazon Prime Video in 4K resolution. Also, 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
At the moment, 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 as well for this to work. The iOS version of the app currently does not support that 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. Because of copyright restrictions for those platforms, the highest resolution you can get for those devices is HD.