Amazon has confirmed it’s not a mistake — your Amazon Prime Video subscription no longer includes Dolby Vision HDR or Dolby Atmos surround sound. That’s on top of the ads that Amazon injected into the service on January 29th. Now, when you pay $2.99 a month to remove those ads, you can get Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos back as well.
That’s the word from 4KFilme, which discovered that their smart TVs from Sony, LG, and Samsung were now displaying content in HDR10 with Dolby Digital 5.1 as opposed to the higher fidelity options they’d enjoyed previously.
Amazon spokesperson Katie Barker confirms to The Verge that it’s a deliberate move: “Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos capabilities are only available on the ad free option, on relevant titles.”
While price hikes are no longer remotely unusual in the streaming video space, where Netflix now charges $22.99 a month for its 4K tier, it’s a bit harder to compare Amazon’s prices to Netflix.
Amazon Prime Video was originally only available as part of an overarching Amazon Prime subscription — I have Amazon Prime because I primarily pay $15 a month or $139 a year to get free two-day, one-day, and same-day shipping. Now I’d have to pay an extra 18 percent to get the full Rings of Power experience without ads and in full fidelity.
Prime Video is also available as an $8.99-per-month standalone subscription; if you subscribe that way and add $2.99 per month, it’s more like a 28 percent price hike.
If you prefer ads, Prime Video’s $8.99-per-month is a dollar less than Disney Plus with ads at $9.99 per month, though Netflix currently offers its 1080p service with ads at $6.99 per month.