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Amazon to Stream Video in High Dynamic Range Format in 2015

Amazon, after launching select titles in 4K Ultra HD high-resolution video, said it plans to add support for High Dynamic Range displays — promising a richer visual experience — to its Prime Instant Video service later this year.

The company said Amazon Studios’ original series will be the first to arrive in HDR video quality. Amazon’s originals include Golden Globe-winning “Transparent” (pictured above), “Bosch,” “Mozart in the Jungle” and “Alpha House.”

In addition, the e-commerce giant said it is working with Hollywood studios, tech companies and consumer-electronics companies to add expand HDR features for the Prime service. Amazon’s Prime Instant Video is currently available in the U.S., the U.K. and Germany to members of its free-shipping program.

High Dynamic Range televisions, compared with conventional HDTVs, provide much greater contrast with detailed shadows and distinct highlights to make colors appear brighter and more lifelike. Indeed, many in the entertainment biz are more bullish on HDR than on 4K, which quadruples the screen resolution in terms of the number of pixels to 3840 by 2160.

“4K Ultra HD picture resolution was just the beginning — we’re excited that Prime members will soon be able to view movies and TV shows including Amazon originals in HDR quality,” said Michael Paull, VP of digital video at Amazon. “HDR is the natural next step in our commitment to premium entertainment, and we can’t wait for customers to have even more choice in how they watch their favorite titles on Amazon Prime Instant Video.”

An Amazon rep declined to reveal additional details, including whether the HDR video on Prime Instant Video would be compatible only with certain Ultra HD television units.

In December, Amazon launched a select number of titles in Ultra HD, and the company continues to expand selections available in 4K. Prime Instant Video content available in the high-resolution format include original series “Transparent,” “Alpha House,” “Mozart in the Jungle” and children’s series “Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street,” as well as BBC’s “Orphan Black.” Netflix also offers Ultra HD video selections but requires subscribers to take the $12.99-per-month “family tier” to access to 4K content; Amazon has pointedly noted that it offers 4K content at no additional charge to Prime members.

In addition, Amazon’s Instant Video storefront provides for rent or purchase of recent releases like “Gone Girl,” “Boyhood” and “Birdman” as well as classics like the “Star Wars” saga, in addition to in-season shows like “The Walking Dead,” “Scandal” and “Better Call Saul.”

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