Amazon's HDR play, like 4K, may have limited audience

With 4K off to a stuttering start in the online video space, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) is looking to differentiate itself from competitors like Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX), announcing that some of its original series, including Mozart In The Jungle, will be available in the newly standardized high dynamic range format.

"HDR is a technical innovation that provides a truly stunning viewing experience and we're thrilled to be the first to offer this unmatched picture quality," said Michael Paull, vice president of digital video at Amazon. "We can't wait for our Prime members to watch and re-watch Mozart in the Jungle in HDR at no additional cost to their membership, and we look forward to adding more titles and devices that support HDR this year."

However, it's not just limited content that could make the retail giant's announcement a bit of a dud. Currently there are only a few televisions on the market that can really take full advantage of HDR's richer colors and dramatically improved contrast. In fact, Amazon pointed out in its release that Mozart "can be enjoyed on compatible Samsung SUHD TVs starting today, with more ways to watch coming soon."

Like Netflix, Amazon offers a limited amount of content in Ultra High Definition (UHD), or 4K, resolution. The provider has slowly added titles to that 4K lineup over the past year, saying in its release that it now has "hundreds" of 4K titles. But, just like its HDR announcement, such a service is only as popular as the number of people who can watch those titles on 4K-enabled TVs.

"Though Amazon technically beat Netflix to launch with HDR support, it won't have a massive lead," TechCrunch's Sarah Perez noted. "Netflix says it will have HDR content ready to stream starting this summer, when HDR TV sets hit the market."

For more:
- see the release
- TechCrunch has this article

Related articles:
4K TV shipments hit record 3M units in April, IHS says
Amazon Prime to 'see a lot of invention' as platform builds
Netflix is fast-tracking 4K, HDR to push Open Connect, beat cable

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