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Amazon to Add 4K HDR Titles

In a notable example of the push to improve the visual quality of streaming 4K video, Amazon has announced that it will begin offering content with high dynamic range (HDR) in 2015 to its Amazon Prime members in the U.S., U.K. and Germany.

The move comes less than six months after Amazon first began streaming 4K titles and only three months after a number of TV set manufacturers showed TVs with HDR capabilities at CES in January.

The sets with high dynamic range offer better blacks and improved image quality than existing 4K content, with more detailed shadows and distinct highlights to make colors appear richer, brighter and more lifelike.

Some research suggests that HDR and wider color gamut offers visual improvements that are more noticeable than simply increasing the resolution.

But the number of titles available with HDR is relatively limited and the HDR files are also likely to require more bandwidth. 

Amazon says that the first titles will be from their slate of Amazon originals but that it is also working with Hollywood studios and others for programming.

“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, in a statement. “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.”