If you're reading about high dynamic range (HDR) and 4K television sets, chances are you've been following the news surrounding Microsoft's newest console, the Xbox One S, which will support full HDR color. While the S marks the first time a console will support the new format, streaming services like Amazon and Netflix have been working on it for quite some time, with certain series and movies now being offered with full HDR, 4K support.
But whereas all someone needs to access fully supported 4K, HDR content on Amazon is an Amazon Prime account, on Netflix, a basic service plan won't do. If you're looking into purchasing a new and expensive television set to gear up for the incoming generation of 4K, HDR supported games on consoles, here are some things you should know about your streaming options.
Amazon first announced that it was looking into HDR-supported streaming for a few of its series back in 2015. In July, Amazon released its award-winning series Mozart in the Jungle in HDR for Prime members. It was the first time a series or film was readily available for a mainstream audience in HDR.
At the time, Netflix had a variety of series already available for those with 4K television sets, including original shows like Marco Polo and House of Cards, but it didn't have anything that supported HDR coloring. It wasn't until this past February that Netflix finally started supporting some of its series for HDR streaming, including the second season of its original program, Daredevil.
Now, both Amazon Prime and Netflix have a couple of HDR supported series, including the second season of Amazon's exclusive detective series, Bosch, but there are some differences. Today, Amazon announced that it would now support Dolby Vision HDR-supported streaming, which is different than the HDR10 method supported by most series on Netflix. Certain titles, like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and The Smurfs 2 are among the first to be available for those with sets that support Dolby Vision HDR play. While Samsung and Sony are backing HDR10, the format that many studios have been using to create their content, Dolby Vision is technically superior, but demands dedicated hardware in both the television set and content. It's something to take into consideration when browsing different models.
To access Dolby Vision HDR-supported content on Amazon, users will need an Amazon Prime subscription and a specific type of television set. The different TVs that support Dolby Vision can be found here. On Netflix, however, while people will have to have to pony up for the streaming service's top-tier option, they should have a wider array of options for television sets. The premium streaming option, which allows up to four screens to stream at the same time, is the only tier that supports HD and Ultra HD, and will cost $11.99 a month. Other streaming services like Hulu currently do not offer HDR-supported streaming.
If you're looking to buy a new TV specifically for the new generation of consoles, be sure to check out Polygon's piece on the differences and our guide to 4K in general.