Amazon Prime Video on Apple TV limited to 2.1 stereo sound, despite streaming 4K HDR video...

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited December 2017
Though owners of an ultra-high definition 4K TV set with high-dynamic range will get full visual fidelity from Amazon's newly released Prime Video app for Apple TV, the sound quality won't match that best-in-class experience, as it is apparently limited to 2.1 channels at launch.




Tests conducted by AppleInsider corroborate separate reports indicating that audio on the new Amazon Prime Video app is limited to 2.1 -- the first digit for a pair of speakers, and the second for a subwoofer. That's well below the basic 5.1 standard -- five speakers, one subwoofer -- for modern high-definition content.

Even the most basic surround sound configurations include three front speakers and two side speakers for an immersive, 360-degree audio experience. Yet as of Wednesday's launch on the tvOS App Store, Amazon Prime Video only broadcasts in stereo, even for content specifically listed as 5.1.

More advanced home theater setups have 7.1 speaker arrays and beyond --technology more likely to be adopted by consumers who embrace advanced video like 4K and HDR. Accordingly, both the Apple TV 4K and its predecessor support up to Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 surround sound.

Notably, the Amazon Prime Video app does support both 4K and HDR. The app itself spotlights "Ultra HD 4K" content available to stream, and swiping down on the Siri remote while watching a video will show if the program is in HDR.




Conversely, AppleInsider verified on Wednesday that 5.1-capable content on a first-generation Amazon Fire TV does, in fact, broadcast sound on the full assortment of speakers when provided, unlike the tvOS app.

Given that Amazon Prime Video for Apple TV supports advanced standards like 4K and HDR at launch, it's possible that the limitation to vastly outdated 2.1 audio is attributable to a bug in the new software.

The debut of Amazon Prime Video for Apple TV was highly anticipated, as it marks the first time users can browse and stream original content from the online retailer on Apple's set-top box. Popular programs produced by Amazon include "The Grand Tour," "Catastrophe," and "The Man in the High Castle," as well as acclaimed films like "Manchester by the Sea" and "The Big Sick."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33
    It seems to me it is not 2.1, but just plain stereo, maybe encoded in Dolby Prologic II.
    Anyway, that is what my soundbar recognizes (and it can produce 2.1 sound out of this)/
  • Reply 2 of 33
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,232administrator
    jeromec said:
    It seems to me it is not 2.1, but just plain stereo, maybe encoded in Dolby Prologic II.
    Anyway, that is what my soundbar recognizes (and it can produce 2.1 sound out of this)/
    I'm positively getting 2.1. That said, it isn't 5.1 or 7.1 which the Fire and the streamed content supports.
    repressthis
  • Reply 3 of 33
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 1,998member
    That's pretty ridiculous about the sound. For me, I'm only getting PCM 2.0. I'm deleting it and will continue to use the app on my TV. Figures Amazon would do something like this. 

    EDIT: I read somewhere else Amazon is aware of the issue and a fix is coming. 
    edited December 2017 repressthisSoundJudgmentpscooter63netmage
  • Reply 4 of 33
    The current state of TV is such a mess. For myself, what I'll be doing now is using the Apple TV to find content, then if Amazon has it, I'll switch to the TVs built in Amazon App and watch it there. If I watch it on my Apple TV I won't get surround sound and I won't get HDR. The Apple TV displays horribly on my Samsung TV if I output HDR. And this is just one service. Factor in all the other services and apps and it's a labyrinthine mess that makes betamax vs. VHS look like halcyon days.
    repressthis
  • Reply 5 of 33
    This faux pas is similar to the Netflix app on Dish Network where only 2ch audio is available even if the video is 4K HDR. Dish has known about this for more than a year, yet does nothing to remedy the “bug.” Therefore, I use other Netflix apps on my Samsung Smart TV (ARC), Apple TV 4K, or Samsung Smart UHD Blu-Ray player. Since the new Amazon Prime Video app for Apple TV falls short of today’s audio standards, I will exercise the same options until someone gets their proverbial act together.
    SoundJudgmentpscooter63
  • Reply 6 of 33
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,901member
    I was about to get ATV 4K and this really holds me back. I’m ok to live with the inconvenience of using build-in Netflix and Anazon Video apps in my smart TV to stream the 4K contents or just use my Xbox One S to do that. Save my $160 there.
    edited December 2017
  • Reply 7 of 33
    I suspect this is intentional.  Amazon wants people to buy Fire devices for Christmas.  Afterwards the “bug” will suddenly be fixed.

    I recommend voting with your feet and buying a Roku instead.

    The infighting between Apple, Amazon and Google is disgusting and anti-consumer.

    Apple’s “walled garden” sometimes gets out of had, but Amazon and Google are worse (lately).


    rocketmanSoundJudgment
  • Reply 8 of 33
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,240member
    fallenjt said:
    I was about to get ATV 4K and this really holds me back. I’m ok to live with the inconvenience of using build-in Netflix and Anazon Video apps in my smart TV to stream the 4K contents or just use my Xbox One S to do that. Save my $160 there.
    This seems like a very temporary issue. This app was only release a few hours ago.
    StrangeDaysSoundJudgmentjbdragon
  • Reply 9 of 33
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,232administrator
    Soli said:
    fallenjt said:
    I was about to get ATV 4K and this really holds me back. I’m ok to live with the inconvenience of using build-in Netflix and Anazon Video apps in my smart TV to stream the 4K contents or just use my Xbox One S to do that. Save my $160 there.
    This seems like a very temporary issue. This app was only release a few hours ago.
    I guess that depends on if it is actually a "temporary issue" or a design decision.
    mac_128
  • Reply 10 of 33
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,240member
    Soli said:
    fallenjt said:
    I was about to get ATV 4K and this really holds me back. I’m ok to live with the inconvenience of using build-in Netflix and Anazon Video apps in my smart TV to stream the 4K contents or just use my Xbox One S to do that. Save my $160 there.
    This seems like a very temporary issue. This app was only release a few hours ago.
    I guess that depends on if it is actually a "temporary issue" or a design decision.
    They haven't done it to any other device, and I'd argue that they more directly compete with Roku for this space. Plus, I think that the majority of people with 4K+HDR TVs are only using the TV's speakers which means this won't affect them, while keeping 4K content out of he Prime Video app for the Apple TV would be a clear indicator that they want to steer you to a different device.
  • Reply 11 of 33
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 747editor
    Soli said:
    Soli said:
    fallenjt said:
    I was about to get ATV 4K and this really holds me back. I’m ok to live with the inconvenience of using build-in Netflix and Anazon Video apps in my smart TV to stream the 4K contents or just use my Xbox One S to do that. Save my $160 there.
    This seems like a very temporary issue. This app was only release a few hours ago.
    I guess that depends on if it is actually a "temporary issue" or a design decision.
    They haven't done it to any other device, and I'd argue that they more directly compete with Roku for this space. Plus, I think that the majority of people with 4K+HDR TVs are only using the TV's speakers which means this won't affect them, while keeping 4K content out of he Prime Video app for the Apple TV would be a clear indicator that they want to steer you to a different device.
    You think the *majority* of people who own 4K HDR TVs use the built-in speakers? I don't have any data to dispute that, but I would suspect that people who own 4K HDR TVs are the most likely to *not* use the built-in speakers. Certainly early adopters would be most likely to have a full home theater setup. The only question is whether we are past the "tipping point" where casual consumers are now the majority of not only 4K television buyers, but Apple TV 4K buyers as well. Who also happen to use Amazon Prime Video.
    mac_128Scot1gatorguyglynh
  • Reply 12 of 33
    What crap is this Amazon?!
    rocketman
  • Reply 13 of 33
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,240member
    nhughes said:
    Soli said:
    Soli said:
    fallenjt said:
    I was about to get ATV 4K and this really holds me back. I’m ok to live with the inconvenience of using build-in Netflix and Anazon Video apps in my smart TV to stream the 4K contents or just use my Xbox One S to do that. Save my $160 there.
    This seems like a very temporary issue. This app was only release a few hours ago.
    I guess that depends on if it is actually a "temporary issue" or a design decision.
    They haven't done it to any other device, and I'd argue that they more directly compete with Roku for this space. Plus, I think that the majority of people with 4K+HDR TVs are only using the TV's speakers which means this won't affect them, while keeping 4K content out of he Prime Video app for the Apple TV would be a clear indicator that they want to steer you to a different device.
    You think the *majority* of people who own 4K HDR TVs use the built-in speakers? I don't have any data to dispute that, but I would suspect that people who own 4K HDR TVs are the most likely to *not* use the built-in speakers. Certainly early adopters would be most likely to have a full home theater setup. The only question is whether we are past the "tipping point" where casual consumers are now the majority of not only 4K television buyers, but Apple TV 4K buyers as well. Who also happen to use Amazon Prime Video.
    From what I've observed, yes. Same goes for people using EarPods and other included headphones on devices capable of much better audio. 
  • Reply 14 of 33
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,208member
    That they offer 4K HDR makes me suspect restricted sound channels is a bug.
    Scot1pscooter63
  • Reply 15 of 33
    The current state of TV is such a mess. For myself, what I'll be doing now is using the Apple TV to find content, then if Amazon has it, I'll switch to the TVs built in Amazon App and watch it there. If I watch it on my Apple TV I won't get surround sound and I won't get HDR. The Apple TV displays horribly on my Samsung TV if I output HDR. And this is just one service. Factor in all the other services and apps and it's a labyrinthine mess that makes betamax vs. VHS look like halcyon days.
    I have a Samsung JS 9000 and HDR from Apple TV looks great on it.  In fact I see not a lot of difference between it and my 4K HDR blu-ray player.
  • Reply 16 of 33
    I remember a few years ago when DD5.1 stopped working on Netflix on Apple TV following an OS update. Apple kept saying it was a Netflix problem and Netflix kept saying it was an Apple problem. A few months passed before it was finally fixed during which time Netflix issued a credit to my account for the months the feature didn't work.

    I still can't believe that Hulu doesn't support DD5.1 on any device in this day and age.

    On the other hand, the vast majority of people I know don't have the equipment to decode and reproduce DD5.1. If they do have the equipment, it's not properly configured. If it is properly configured, they don't know how to operate it. If they do know how to operate it, they're deaf in one ear. So, I guess for the vast majority of the population DD5.1 vs. stereo makes no difference - especially for those who only use their TV speakers or have cheap sound bars from Malwart that are used in addition their TV speakers (CRINGE!).
    rocketman
  • Reply 17 of 33
    I suspect this is intentional.  Amazon wants people to buy Fire devices for Christmas.  Afterwards the “bug” will suddenly be fixed.

    I recommend voting with your feet and buying a Roku instead.

    The infighting between Apple, Amazon and Google is disgusting and anti-consumer.

    Apple’s “walled garden” sometimes gets out of had, but Amazon and Google are worse (lately).

    Apple has done nothing wrong here.  They would have put this app on Apple TV a long time ago.
    StrangeDaysjbdragonapplepieguy
  • Reply 18 of 33
    MAJOR FAIL! I fault Amazon for issuing a sub-standard app; I fault Apple for releasing a sub-standard app on its platform. As it stands, home theater enthusiasts are the ones most affected.
    edited December 2017 pakitt
  • Reply 19 of 33
    Never mind the sound, I keep getting errors, most of the content comes up as "not available in your current location", even Amazon's own shows. And what little does play, plays in horrible pixelated SD.  AirPlay comes up on the iPhone app but it won't actually let me tap on the icon...  a half-baked half-a**ed attempt?
  • Reply 20 of 33


    The website said 5.1 should be a matter of time before it is and it must be a bug!
    Solinetmagepscooter63
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