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Amazon Prime Video's ad-supported subscription tier is worse than you'd expect

You have to pay more to enjoy Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.

Published onFebruary 13, 2024

Amazon Prime Video stock image 4
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
  • Amazon has silently removed support for Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos on the ad-supported subscription tier of Prime Video.
  • Users must upgrade to the ad-free subscription tier to enjoy Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.
  • Amazon has recently hiked its prices for the ad-free tier and introduced a lower ad-supported subscription tier but had not disclosed these downgrades.

Amazon Prime Video is the only place you can catch some amazing Prime Video original shows, but you need a subscription for that. Amazon recently raised its subscription prices in the US, asking users to pay an additional $2.99 per month unless they want to see ads in their subscription. If you stuck around with the original prices and made peace with the ads, Amazon has snuck in another downgrade: You don’t get Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos on the ad-supported subscription tier.

4KFilme found out that Amazon Prime Video’s ad-supported subscription tier (which still costs at least $8.99 monthly) does not support Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos 3D sound. The report mentions that the Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos options remained missing from Sony, LG, and Samsung TVs that they tested it on. The ad-supported streaming tier supports a maximum of 4K resolution, with HDR10 and Dolby Digital 5.1.

In a statement shared with The Verge, an Amazon spokesperson confirmed that this is a deliberate move. The spokesperson says, “Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos capabilities are only available on the ad-free option, on relevant titles.”

Both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos were previously offered on the base ad-free $8.99 monthly tier before the price hike kicked in. Amazon did not mention these restrictions in its announcements of the price hike and introduction of the ad-free tier. Essentially, users are stuck watching poorer video and audio feeds, have to watch ads, and also pay Amazon for the subscription to the content. It’s like cable TV all over again, and that’s not a compliment.

Amazon has offered no reason for why the feature was removed. But since Dolby charges licensing fees for Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, we presume Amazon may want to avoid paying that on the lower subscription tier, as that is the most plausible explanation. Instead, the company could push HDR10+ forward as the open and royalty-free standard.

Would you pay extra for Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision?

348 votes
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