Amazon, Vimeo announce 4K options for online video

Following through on promises that Ultra High-Def content would be available to subscribers soon, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) announced that some of its Prime Instant Video content can now be streamed in 4K. Likewise, Vimeo, an OTT provider that specializes in video by independent filmmakers, is easing into 4K, offering downloads of files in the format.

"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," said Michael Paull, VP of Amazon Digital Video, in a statement.

Just three of its current original series are available in 4K, including Alpha House, Transparent and Gortimer Gibbons Life on Normal Street. Amazon said its next crop of pilots, set to debut early in 2015, will be viewable in 4K.

Other 4K content includes the BBC's Orphan Black and Sony Pictures Entertainment movies such as This Is The End, American Hustle and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. An upcoming live concert event featuring Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga will be streamed in 4K as well.

Non-Prime subscribers can buy 4K movies from Amazon, though the selection currently is limited.

For contrast, Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) already offers some of its content in 4K, but subscribers must jump to its highest tier, at $11.99 per month, to access it.

Meantime, Vimeo is dipping its toe into the 4K waters, enabling its PRO members to upload 4K video files and On Demand sellers to enable 4K file downloads.

"Creators have been able to upload in 4K for some time, but now these files can be downloaded and played on those fancy, 4K-compatible displays some of us are lucky enough to own," the company noted in a blog post.

"And while we don't yet offer 4K streaming on our site, we'll be ready by the time broadband providers start widely supporting the high speeds required."

The 4K feature is offered at no additional cost for PRO members, who currently pay $200 per year for a subscription, a Vimeo spokesperson told FierceOnlineVideo. Meantime, Vimeo is working on a 4K streaming option, something it's "looking forward to providing when the timing and viewer bandwidth support makes sense."

For more:
- Amazon has this release
- Vimeo has this blog post

Don't miss FierceCable's "Roadmap to 4K Readiness" breakfast panel at CES, featuring top-level executives from Comcast and Samsung. Register today right here.

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