Samsung Announces UHD Content Deals with Amazon

CES 2014, Samsung announced it was working with Netflix and Amazon to deliver original UHD programming to Samsung UHD TVs. In March, Netflix began streaming “House of Cards” in 4K to Samsung and other brand TVs. Now, Samsung is the first to announce plans to stream original UHD content from Amazon starting in October. Will content be exclusive to Samsung 4K TVs? Apparently not as sources indicate that other brands are in discussion with Amazon to likewise receive the streaming content. That’s a good thing as it would not be good to see a repeat of the early days of 3D where 3D Blu-ray titles were portioned to brands on an exclusive basis.
Back in December 2013, we reported that Amazon planned to shoot new original TV series in UHD. The plan was to shoot a number of pilots and let viewers decide which pilot to turn into a series. No announcements have been made on what this content will be it seems.
Increasing UHD/4K native content is very important for the sale of these sets and acceptance by consumers. But scaling of 1080p content on top tier 4K sets is very good and probably indistinguishable from a native 4K feed of the same content when viewed from more than 6-8 feet. While native 4K content is good, it is not as critical as native 3D content was for that technology’s roll out, as converted 3D did not look very good.
Samsung is certainly taking a leading role in encouraging more 4K content and making it easy for consumers to access it. It has been especially active in Europe lately announcing new plans to expand Netflix’s UHD VOD Service in Europe.
Samsung has also reinforced its co-operation with major European content partners, including German service Maxdome, Italian service Chili, and, which is available in the UK and Spain. In May, it teamed up with the Vienna State Opera to provide UHD live streaming of “Nabucco” with Placido Domingo, one of The Three Tenors, through the Vienna Opera App. The premium content was broadcast worldwide. For the season 2014/15, 10 more performances are planned in UHD. The company also partnered with RTP, a Portuguese national broadcasting company, and Portugal Telecom (PT) – through MEO, to offer live-streaming of the World Cup warm-up matches in UHD. This event was the world’s first UHD live-streaming sports broadcast that exclusive viewers could watch on the Samsung Curved UHD TV, without a separate set-top box – a special event for sports enthusiasts.
Last April in South Korea, Samsung launched a service that allowed users to enjoy live UHD broadcasting without a set-top box, by partnering with cable provider “CJ Hello Vision.” Samsung will also work with CNM and T-Broad to launch a UHD broadcast service by the end of this year. As well, users of Samsung UHD HU9000 TVs are able to use a “B TV” app to watch 20 UHD VOD titles with a subscription to “SK Broadband.”
In the US, the focus has been on working with leading Hollywood studios. In July, the company, in partnership with 20th Century Fox and Paramount, launched a UHD Video Pack, a 500 gigabyte drive pre-loaded with a total of 40 titles in UHD picture quality, including popular movies, such as Star Trek Into Darkness and Life of Pi, and documentaries. – Chris Chinnock