Update ! Amazon becomes the next of the over-the-top streaming services to get into the streaming Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR) game today by offering select titles in 4K Ultra HD with Dolby’s flavor of the wide contrast system.

Owners of LG’s HDR-supporting TVs will be able to receive and view the new programming from Amazon’s video streaming service beginning today, but owners of Vizio P- and M-series Dolby Vision-ready HDR TVs do not have access to the Amazon Instant Video streaming app on the SmartCast (a variant of GoogleCast) streaming system, due to lack of a carriage agreement between between Google and Amazon.

According to information on their website, Vizio Reference Series TVs, which use the VIA streaming platform instead of GoogleCast, should support Amazon Instant Video, however.

According to a statement from Vizio: “Vizio’s SmartCast displays offer access to thousands of streaming apps, but do not currently support the Amazon Instant App”.

The initial slate of Dolby Vision metadata-carrying content includes Amazon’s original series Bosch, which is available through Amazon Prime Video, along with a number of movies from Sony Pictures including: The Smurfs 2, Men in Black 3, Salt, Fury, Pineapple Express, and Elysium, which are available for purchase through Amazon Video, the company said.

“We’re thrilled that starting today customers have access to titles, including our binge-worthy Amazon Original Series, in Dolby Vision HDR,” stated Jim Freeman, Amazon Video VP. “Today is just the beginning. We will continue to expand our selection, adding more movies and TV series for our customers to watch and enjoy in the premium picture quality of HDR.”

The move follows by about a year Amazon’s delivery of its first 4K Ultra HD content with HDR-10. HDR delivers much more demonstrable picture improvement benefits than increased resolution alone.

Read more on Amazon’s roll out of Dolby Vision content after the jump:

HDR content expands the range of contrast from deep blacks to very bright whites while keeping visible picture detail in both the dark and bright areas of the picture at the same time. The result is much more natural looking images, with richer saturated colors.

On HDR-supporting flat-panel displays, spectral highlights in very bright elements like bright lights, camp fires, etc, can be boosted to be significantly brighter than the surrounding image, giving an almost 3D-looking appearance.

Dolby Vision HDR streaming through Amazon currently includes  LG Electronics’ Super UHD and OLED.

“With support for both HDR formats, LG Super UHD and OLED TVs offer consumers access to all the HDR content available today, and peace of mind that their TV will handle new content to come,” LG electronics said in an official statement. “With only one format, consumers risk missing out on content that becomes available exclusively in Dolby Vision.”

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Some contend that Dolby Vision is the superior HDR format for a variety of reasons, including enhanced picture quality. But others say that the HDR-10 format, which is the base-line HDR standard for Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and Ultra HD Premium certified HDR TVs (as specified by the multi-industry Ultra HD Alliance) is better for showing details in blacks and producing high luminance ranges.

Samsung has been a strong supporter of the HDR-10 format in its 2016 SUHD TVs, and has tried to play down the notion of a brewing HDR format war.

As for other content streaming services: Netflix also supports both Dolby Vision and HDR-10 with movies and television programs, while Walmart’s Vudu movie streaming service currently supports about 30 movies from Warner Home Entertainment in Dolby Vision.

TV’s Amazon is pretty much playing catch up at this point. But for owners of Vizio’s Reference Series TV and LG’s Super UHD and OLED sets — both of which support the Dolby Vision format — the move should be a welcome addition.

By Greg Tarr

 

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