Amazon Prime Video makes Dolby Vision, Atmos a paid upgrade

A promotion to upgrade to an ad-free subscription on Amazon Prime Video.
Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

I’ve got bad news if you’re an Amazon Prime Video subscriber who hasn’t opted for the company’s new ad-free tier. Not only are you starting to see ads before you get to binge the latest season of Reacher, but you also won’t be getting the show streamed in Dolby’s most advanced formats — Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.

First reported by German website 4KFilme, then corroborated by Forbes in the U.K., it seems that Amazon has removed Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos from its free streaming tier, making the formats exclusive to those who opt-in to the $3 per month ad-free premium subscription.

Reacher on Amazon Prime Video.
Despite displaying the Dolby Atmos flag, season 2 of Reacher only streams in Dolby Digital 5.1 for ad-supported Prime Video memberships. Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Digital Trends can confirm that free subscribers that stream content labeled as Dolby Atmos are only getting Dolby Digital 5.1, and titles like The Lord of The Rings: The Rings of Power, which were previously available in Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos to all Prime subscribers, are now only available to those with an ad-free account. Regular Prime member can only stream the show in HDR10 and Dolby Digital 5.1.

Reporting Forbes, John Archer says that while Dolby Vision is no longer available within the ad-supported tier, HDR10+ remains an option. HDR10+ is a license-free alternative to Dolby Vision, which Amazon supports on nearly all of its content.

It’s not yet clear why Amazon has made this change, however some have suggested that Dolby’s licensing fees may have played a role. It doesn’t appear any efforts were made to inform existing Prime members of the new limitations either via email or through the official Amazon blog.

Digital Trends has reached out to Amazon for comment and while that request has been acknowledged, no statements had been provided by the time this story was published. We’ll update this article as soon as we hear back.

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