Amazon Lights Up 4K Service

Offers Free Fare For Prime Subscribers Alongside Selection Of Paid Titles
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Amazon gave 4K TV owners something to cheer about Tuesday with the launch movies and TV shows in the Ultra HD format, including several titles that will be available for free to subscribers to Amazon’s prime service.

The offering, streamed through Amazon’s Instant Video app, is compatible with select UHD connected TVs from LG Electronics, Samsung and Sony.

Amazon announced earlier this year that Prime customers would get access to some 4K content as part of their subscriptions. The free-to-Prime-subs offering includes the sophomore season of Amazon original Alpha House, Transparent, and children’s series Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street. Prime Instant Video also has exclusive online-only subscription rights to BBC’s Orphan Black in the new format.

Amazon is also teeing up several new Amazon Studios titles that will be offered in 4K, including Mozart in the Jungle, Bosch, Hand of God, The After and Red Oaks, with availability set for later this year and into 2015.

The seven new pilots from Amazon Studios—Cocked, Down Dog, Mad Dogs,Man in the High Castle, Point of Honor, Salem Rogers and The New Yorker Presents—will also be offered in Ultra HD.

Additionally, Prime subs will get free access to select, older titles from Sony Pictures Entertainment movies in 4K -- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Funny Girl, Hitch and Philadelphia.

All Amazon customers will be able to buy 4K titles, starting at $19.99, from Sony, including After Earth, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Elysium, Godzilla, Hancock, Moneyball, The Mask of Zorro, The Monuments Men, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, The Da Vinci Code, The Patriot, Think Like a Man Too, and This Is the End, among others.

Amazon is the latest OTT and electronic sell-through provider to introduce a 4K offering. Netflix launched a small but growing UHD library in April, followed by the recent introduction of 4K content from M-GO.

On the MVPD front, DirecTV has also begun to offer select VOD titles in 4K, and Comcast is expected to launch a 4K streaming app before the end of 2014.