I'm furious about Amazon Prime Video's new prices, and not because of the ads

The 50-inch Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED on a white table with an image from animated TV show Invincible on the screen
(Image credit: What Hi-Fi? / Amazon Prime Video, Invincible)

Much has been made of the pricing changes that Amazon has recently made to its Prime Video service. You probably already know what the furore's been about: adverts, which have been introduced to the paid subscription for the first time. Removing them now incurs an additional charge of £2.99 / $2.99.

Needless to say, very few people are happy about the change. No one likes ads, after all. But did you realise that at the same time it added adverts to your existing Prime Video subscription, Amazon also took a couple of things away?

As initially spotted by 4kfilme.de and brought to my attention by Forbes, Amazon has, with no warning, explanation or justification, removed Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support from the standard subscription tier of Prime Video, and getting them back involves paying that extra £2.99 / $2.99 for the 'Go Ad-Free' tier. I have now personally tested this on an Apple TV 4K, LG B3 and Panasonic LZ1500 and can confirm that it's true.

Now, I was just as annoyed as everyone else about the arrival of ads on a service I was already paying for, but I am royally hacked off about the removal of Dolby Vision and Atmos. Partly, it's the spineless way Amazon has gone about the change, having not even announced it. Then there's the half-baked way it's been implemented, in that content still shows the 'Dolby Atmos' flag even if you can no longer access the Dolby Atmos audio. On top of that, HDR10 and HDR10+ are still available, with only the Dolby formats removed.

Annoyingly, I actually watched Saltburn over the weekend and just assumed it wasn't a Dolby Vision title. Turns out it is, and I just watched it in the inferior HDR10. If I'd watched it a week ago, it would have been in Dolby Vision.

If you're thinking (perhaps hoping) that this is all just a mistake and that Dolby Vision and Atmos will be restored in short order, I'm afraid that I have it on good authority that it isn't and that it won't. I have reached out to Amazon for confirmation and comment, and will report back once I've had a reply.

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Tom Parsons

Tom Parsons has been writing about TV, AV and hi-fi products (not to mention plenty of other 'gadgets' and even cars) for over 15 years. He began his career as What Hi-Fi?'s Staff Writer and is now the TV and AV Editor. In between, he worked as Reviews Editor and then Deputy Editor at Stuff, and over the years has had his work featured in publications such as T3, The Telegraph and Louder. He's also appeared on BBC News, BBC World Service, BBC Radio 4 and Sky Swipe. In his spare time Tom is a runner and gamer.

  • Guy4510
    Thank you for pointing this out and you have every right to be furious. The way Amazon (and some other streaming services) treat their customers is appalling. I guess we have to speak with our wallets and decide if we want to support their model, personally I don't. We all have a choice, they are compromising performance for their profits, the majority of consumers won't even notice, or care, however enthusiasts like us should just move on, buy more content and own it, or subscribe elsewhere IMO.
    Reply
  • mafrost
    Thank you for highlighting the removal of Dolby Vision and more importantly to me, Atmos from the standard plan. I was willing to sit through the odd advert but am not willing to be forced to pay extra for Atmos. I'm speaking with my wallet and have subsequently just cancelled by Prime subscription.
    Reply
  • DegreesOfSeparation
    I cancelled my Prime subscription on the weekend before the ads were implemented, but I had no idea about Dolby Vision and Atmos. This just reinforces my original decision.

    If it wasn't for the fact I have a Kindle, I'd move away from the Amazon ecosystem entirely.
    Reply
  • Noonsy
    Ive tried to contact Amazon help, prime video and prime video UK and Ireland three times since January with no reply. It is not clear how when you have paid for a years subscription they can lower the level of service and change the T&C's of their service during a contract. I could understand if that would apply when I next renew but not during the contract itself. Ads was bad enough but now reducing the quality as well
    Reply
  • BanquoStarbon
    I too cancelled my prime sub. I don’t miss it one bit, and hearing this news further validates my decision.
    Reply
  • Friesiansam
    I strongly suspect most Prime subscribers don't even know what Dolby Vision or Atmos do, let alone have the equipment to take advantage of them.
    Reply