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Amazon Launches Free 4K Streaming for Prime Instant Video - Analyst Blog

Amazon.com ( AMZN ) has taken its streaming game a notch higher by providing 4K/ Ultra HD resolution for some movies and TV titles to Prime subscribers through Amazon Instant Video.

This ultra HD resolution offers four times the number of pixels compared to standard full HD and thus provides exceptionally clear images.

The Competition Increases Twofold

With Amazon launching its 4k streaming service, there is more competition in this space. Amazon now joins Netflix Inc. ( NFLX ) which also lets owners of 4K TVs watch an assortment of Ultra High Definition movies and TV shows.

Amazon versus Netflix

While Netflix charges new subscribers an additional $3 for its 4K content, Amazon's new offerings are available free of cost to Prime members with 4K TVs through its Instant video service.

Amazon Prime Members get to choose from series originals, including the second season of Alpha House, the new show Transparent, Gortimer Gibbons Life on Normal Street and Orphan Black.

Amazon will also feature 4K UHD versions of its upcoming originals- Mozart in the Jungle, Bosch, Hand of God, The After, and Red Oaks.

Just like Netflix, Amazon will also offer a small collection of 4K movies, including Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Hitch, Philadelphia, and Funny Girl.

That's not all, Amazon will also be offering live concerts in alliance with LG, Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek LIVE!, a taped live concert available for instant streaming.

All That Glitters is Not Gold

The service is not offering the best 4K UHD titles for free. To access these, the user has to purchase it and store it on Amazon's cloud. The prices of 4K titles start from $20.

Netflix, on its part, does not allow 4K title ownership. Though Sony allows such ownership, it requires the user to buy its FMP-x10 media box and utilize its storage. This limits the number of titles that can be stored given the space available.

Popular movies that do not come for free for Prime members include American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Hancock, The Mask of Zorro, The Monuments Men, The Da Vinci Code and many more.

Currently, the hardware required to take Amazon's new 4K UHD tour includes UHD TVs only from LG, Samsung and Sony.

Looking Ahead

Video-sharing site Vimeo is also getting into 4K. Though the option to stream Vimeo videos in 4K is not available, users can download the video files and view these on compatible screens like the Retina 5K display, available with the latest version of iMac.

On the other hand, streaming 4K media from a smartphone to an ultra-high definition TV looks possible in the near future. Manufacturers will start to replace the current USB 3.0 ports with the next-gen USB 3.1 by the end of next year. This will double the transfer rate.

Amazon currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Better-ranked stocks in this industry include Mercadolibre, Inc. ( MELI ) and Overstock.com Solutions, Inc. ( OSTK ). Both the stocks carry a Zacks Rank#2 (Buy).

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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