Seattle — Amazon made a statement of support for the 4K Ultra HD format Wednesday by saying it will not charge Prime members extra to view Ultra HD content on the Prime Instant Video platform.
“We want to be the best entertainment destination for customers. We’re confident that offering Ultra HD content, whether it’s a TV series or a film, will help create the ultimate viewing experience and can’t wait to start making it available this year,” stated Michael Paull, Amazon digital video VP.
The news came shortly after Netflix’s recent rate hike to $11.99 per month for new and current subscribers to receive 4K streaming content. The fee represented a $4 per month increase for subscribers who signed up for 4K service after May 9th, although current subscribers who have been paying for 4K service prior to Aug. 12th were grandfathered into the older $7.99 a month plan until Aug. 12, 2016.
Netflix raised the price of its standard HD package service from $7.99 to $8.99 for new subscribers on May 9th.
Netflix’s rate hikes were in part the result of peering fees the over-the-top video service agreed to pay broadband providers to allow faster speeds required for HD, Ultra HD and other streaming content.
Amazon announced at International CES last January that it would make Ultra HD content available in 2014.
Paull said, “We’ve already announced that the ‘Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga: Cheek To Cheek Live!’ concert will be available in the premium resolution as well as Amazon Original Series including ‘Transparent,’ ‘Alpha House’ and the upcoming ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ series, and we’re excited to unveil even more titles that Prime members and customers can watch in Ultra HD later this year and into next year. Amazon Prime members will have access to a great selection of Ultra HD content on Prime Instant Video at no additional cost.”
Amazon’s $99-a-year Prime membership program provides two-day shipping on most items, Cloud storage, and access to a vast library of video and music content, all at no additional charge.