Amazon Prime adds limited Dolby Vision support

Mike Wheatley

Dolby has secured another victory in its ongoing struggle to become the best-supported HDR picture format, with the news that Amazon Prime Video has enabled it on a very limited selection of shows.


It’s a big moment for Dolby because, until now, Amazon has only ever supported the rival HDR10+ format on its TV shows and movies. On the other hand, Netflix and Disney Plus both support Dolby Vision HDR.

However, there is a pretty huge caveat, with Dolby Vision so far supported on just three Amazon Prime shows: The Rings of Power, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan and The Wheel of Time.

In addition, TechRadar reports there’s a second limitation, in that Dolby Vision support has only been enabled on TVs at the moment, not smartphones and tablet devices that are otherwise capable of supporting the format, such as the iPhone 13 Pro.

Movie streaming apps support three kinds of HDR, including HDR10, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision.

The most basic version is HDR10, which is often considered to be the “standard” HDR. Compared to SDR content, it adds a wider colour gamut and dynamic range. However, it has to tone map brightness and darkness levels using just a single setting for the entire movie or show, so if the film you’re watching has both extremely dark and extremely bright scenes, it usually loses some detail in those parts.

HDR10+, as the name suggests, is superior because it allows for dynamic metadata that enables tone mapping to be performed on a scene-by-scene basis. This means the TV can alter the image in different ways on darker and brighter scenes. It adds more nuance and detail to both kinds of scenes.

Dolby Vision essentially does the same, with the difference being that it has a much wider selection of supported content. It also offers some other tricks, such as support for 12-bit colour, though this is something only future TVs will support.

While all HDR TVs tend to support the standard HDR format, most will only support either Dolby Vision or HDR10+, but not both. There are a few that do support both formats, but these are few and far between. Famous brands to have embraced Dolby Vision include LG Electronics, Sony, Panasonic and Philips, but Samsung Electronics is notably a hold out, and instead its TVs only support HDR10+.

The major video streaming services also tend to support one or the other. While Netflix, Disney+, HBO and Apple TV+ have all opted for Dolby Vision, Amazon Prime Video instead went with HDR10+.

With Amazon Prime now seemingly ready to accept that Dolby Vision has emerged as the winner of the HDR wars, the question now is whether or not Samsung will follow suit and give up on HDR10+? This year, the company finally added support for Dolby Atmos, the surround sound format, so it does at least have a relationship with Dolby at last. No doubt, we’ll have to wait until CES 2023, when Samsung announces its new TV lineup for that year, to see if Dolby Vision will finally be included.