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Amazon starts streaming HDR video in UK

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Amazon has become the first major streaming firm to start offering HDR video in the UK. HDR will be available at no additional cost to Amazon Prime TV subscribers... although you'll need a television capable of decoding the HDR footage in the first place.

HDR, or high dynamic range, boosts the tonal range of footage, revealing a wider variety of colours in both dark and bright areas. Very few televisions on the market currently support HDR, however. Samsung's SUHD televisions are among the few that are currently HDR compatible.

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Our reviewer was bowled over by the picture quality when we tested the Samsung JS9000 4K SUHD TV earlier this year. "Lightning strikes during the climactic parting of the Red sea were brilliantly bright, creating a massive contrast with the dark clouds and churning water, without losing any detail in order to achieve the high brightness," Tom Morgan wrote of the sample HDR footage.

Amazon will stream two of its own original series in HDR to begin with, with more to follow. "HDR provides a truly stunning visual experience and we’re excited that our original series, Mozart in the Jungle and the pilot episode of Red Oaks are the first titles to be made available in the unmatched picture quality," said Jay Marine, Vice President Amazon Instant Video EU. "We can’t wait for Prime members to watch and re-watch these titles, and look forward to adding even more in HDR for all our customers to enjoy this year."

In addition to HDR, both Amazon and rival Netflix now offer 4K streaming to compatible televisons and set-top boxes. Netflix is planning to introduce HDR for its own original series later this year.