“Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos capabilities are only available in the ad-free option, in relevant titles,” they told the publisher.
This may come as an unpleasant surprise for some users. In September of last year, Amazon started charging $2.99 extra for an ad-free video streaming experience. He company press release that announced the change, however, did not mention Dolby Vision or Dolby Atmos.
Dolby Vision is a set of standards for HDR (high dynamic range) video, while Dolby Atmos is a set of standards for surround sound. In the simplest terms, support for these standards means better picture and better sound for users who have the hardware that can take advantage of them.
Instead, advertising tier subscribers can now watch content in HDR10+ and Dolby Digital 5.1; It’s not horrible by any means, but not as good as Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.
Amazon’s move somewhat mirrors similar actions recently taken by its competitors. Netflix, for example, introduced a ad-supported level in 2022with less content available than in more expensive levels and without advertising. The streaming company removed its cheapest ad-free subscription plan earlier this year, making it increasingly expensive to view content without the intrusion of ads.
However, Amazon’s pricing is a little different than Netflix’s. As a standalone service, Prime Video starts at $8.99 with ads (and without Dolby Vision and Atmos), and the ad-free tier costs an additional $2.99. Amazon Prime membership, which includes other benefits besides video streaming, starts at $14.99 per month and also costs an additional $2.99 to get the ad-free tier.