Amazon Prime Video is depriving my eyes of pixels I've paid for

I love Amazon Prime Video but it's short-changing me when it comes to 4K movies

Amazon Prime Video
(Image credit: Amazon)

If I’m being honest, Amazon Prime Video is becoming a favourite streaming service of mine. There is a lot of fantastic stuff to watch and a truly wonderful selection of strange films to enjoy. The Expanse, for example, is gold standard sci-fi in a world with too many shows about real housewives and too few about spaceships. 

My main gripe, the thing that annoys the holy hell out of me every time I try and watch a movie, is the way Amazon hides 4K content. Recently I went on “Jennifer Lawrence in dystopian fiction” bender and got howling drunk on The Hunger Games, but I was brought crashing back to sobriety by the absolute faff of having to search, specifically, for the 4K version of the movies.

Let me be quite clear, I did not spend my own hard-earned money on an LG OLED55CX6LA to have it sullied with piffling 1080p content. And yet, Amazon consistently pushes this version to me unless I remember to use search to find everything it has already offered me on the home screen. This turns the convenience of recommendations into a minor chore and in a world where everything has gone to hell, it’s really these minor inconveniences that demand wordy opinion articles.

An additional point of irritation is that the flag for UHD content is absolutely tiny. So when you’re presented with a selection of images from search (which don’t display the title, just cover art) it’s fairly hard to tell which is the HD and which the UHD. I took a photo of this phenomenon during another Jennifer Lawrence search I was doing. While it’s just about possible to spot the UHD version, I wouldn’t describe it as especially clear (it's the one on the right). 

Amazon Prime Video search screen

(Image credit: Future)

What’s perhaps most baffling of all is that this problem does not seem to affect Amazon TV shows, although that is a recent development because I remember struggling with previous seasons of The Expanse. Perhaps Amazon is, in fact, aware of this problem and is working hard to rectify it. 

Of course, Amazon has quite a few problems with its user interface in general. This irritation is mild when compared to the persistence of the boxes pushing paid content at you. I am forever having my hopes raised by an exciting movie or TV show on offer, only to have those hopes dashed on the rocks of an additional subscription to StarzPlay. 

In conclusion, I am very pleased that Jennifer Lawrence is available in 4K but I am very displeased that it is so hard to find her in that resolution. 

Ian has been involved in technology journalism since 2007, originally writing about AV hardware back when LCDs and plasma TVs were just gaining popularity. Nearly 15 years on, he remains as excited about how tech can make your life better.