Amazon on Monday announced its Amazon Music HD streaming service. This new service claims to offer premium quality music with more than 50 million songs in High Definition (HD) and millions of songs in Ultra High Definition (Ultra HD). Amazon Music HD makes high quality lossless audio accessible to all those who prefer it, at an extra cost of $12.99 (roughly Rs. 900) per month for Prime members or $14.99 (roughly Rs. 1,000) per month for other users. This is an additional $5 (roughly Rs. 300) per month that existing Amazon Music Unlimited users (individual and family plan users) will have to pay for good quality audio streaming.
Amazon Music HD is currently only available in the US, the UK, Germany, and Japan. In these countries, Amazon is offering a 90-day free trial. The Amazon Music HD Family Plan costs $19.99 (roughly Rs. 1,400) per month (plus taxes). For now, there is no mention of expansion to other countries such as India, and we've reached out for comment. The new service offers HD tracks at 16-bit audio, with a minimum sample rate of 44.1kHz (16/44.1 is also referred to as CD-quality), and an average bitrate of 850kbps. Ultra HD tracks have a bit depth of 24 bits, with sample rates ranging from 44.1kHz up to 192kHz, and an average bitrate of 3730kbps.
All Echo-enabled devices, most iPhone and iPad models released since 2014, Apple AirPlay, Android devices released since 2014, and most Mac products released since 2013 can support Amazon Music HD. Notably, Amazon Music HD is not supported on Google Cast for now. As for Windows PC, the company claims that support for HD/Ultra HD playback depends on the built-in audio player and DAC, which varies by device.
Similarly, wireless headphones and Android devices that use advanced Bluetooth with either the Qualcomm aptX/aptX HD or Sony LDAC wireless standards, can support HD or Ultra HD playback.
Of course, Amazon Music HD will also require unending Internet as the download size is quite large. A typical three and a half minute HD song will take up 51MB of data, while an Ultra-HD song will take up 153MB of data. In comparison, and SD song takes up only 9MB. Amazon also recommends a steady Internet connection of 1.5Mbps to 2Mbps for HD streaming and 5Mbps to 10Mbps for Ultra HD streaming.
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