With falling prices for 4k/UHD TV sets, the remaining question for the TV industry is how to provide UHD content to the consumer? While the consumer may be intrigued by the excellent images seen in the retail store, the question is how impressed he will be once the UHD TV is in his living room. So far, the most likely source for UHD content is the TV internal scaling engine. Now the number of streaming services offering UHD content is growing.
YouTube and Netflix are offering UHD streaming for quite some time now, as were services for smart TVs by Sony and Samsung. Now, Amazon is also offering streamed UHD content for its streaming video app as well as for Prime customers.
The service is initially only available in the US. Amazon also streams only to 2014 or younger smart UHD TV sets from Sony, Samsung and LG. As a side note, Amazon states on the website that the user can stream UHD content at no extra cost. While the number of movies and shows available in UHD is still somewhat limited, the offering will grow quickly as most TV shows acquire most of the footage already in 4k/UHD.
There are no concrete details on the Amazon website stating what the technical requirements are for streaming in UHD. It would appear from the TV set requirements, an internal HEVC decoder in the TV may be required for the stream. There is also no indication of what bandwidth the stream requires.
As we have reported in recent weeks, European service Wuaki.TV has just started to provide UHD content to Germany and France. It promises to extend the service soon to the UK, Italy and Spain.
The latest entry comes from Vimeo, that allows its Pro users to download UHD content. This option does not include UHD streaming but the ability to download and watch offline later. This does add some 4k content, but is not what the average consumer will look for in UHD TV. Vimeo sees UHD streaming as a new technology that is still in its infancy.
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There you have it, content is available, not in abundance but comparable to HD content availability during the early days of FHD TV. I would even expect that the content offering will grow faster than FHD in its days, and if this is not fast enough there is still upscaling. – (NH)