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Amazon Begins 4K Streaming

Updated! Seattle — has begun offering video content in 4K resolution.

The higher standard is initially available for a handful of films from Sony Pictures Entertainment, select TV shows, and all Amazon original content through the company’s Instant Video library.

Amazon, in partnership with LG Electronics USA, will also begin streaming what’s been billed as the world’s first UHD concert, “Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek Live!” which was shot live in 4K last summer at Lincoln Center.

Viewing Amazon’s UHD content requires compatible, app-equipped Ultra HD smart TVs from LG Electronics, Samsung and Sony, the e-tailer said, with more models to be added next year.

The company also confirmed its prior commitment to provide the higher-res streams to members of its $99/year Prime service tier at no additional cost.

A selection of digitally-delivered UHD films is also available for purchase starting at $20.

“We want to deliver the best entertainment experience, and offering Ultra HD movies and TV shows raises the bar on quality and innovation that customers have come to expect from Amazon,” said digital video VP Michael Paull. “We’re also excited that Ultra HD is the latest benefit of the Amazon Prime membership, giving members instant access to great movies and TV shows in a premium picture resolution at no additional cost.”

Dave VanderWaal, who heads up marketing for LG Electronics USA, said of the 4K concert offering, “We couldn’t think of a better way to bring 4K content to the public than by teaming up with a terrific partner like Amazon and such iconic and extraordinary performers as Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga.”

He added that LG has sold hundreds of thousands of UHD TVs this year in the U.S., and consumers are “clamoring for more native 4K content to enjoy.”

The concert first aired in October, in HD, on PBS.