The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premiered last night on Amazon Prime Video (9:00 PM ET / 6:00 PM PT) and, after a few hiccups, delivered beautiful 4K visuals with HDR (on displays that support it) and audio in Dolby Atmos to deliver an immersive audio experience .
What were the disadvantages? Many Prime subscribers hoping to start streaming at exactly 9pm or 6pm (depending on your side of the country) couldn’t load episode 1. In fact, on our own mobile devices, the Prime Video app just showed a “Loading” message. And while trying to access the series through an Apple TV 4k media player, episode 1 just wouldn’t open. Other viewers complained that only episode 2 loaded first.
Still, with millions of users trying to stream everything at the same time, the episodes loaded just fine after just a few minutes, and in sequential order. The quality of the 4k image did not deteriorate (we expected some buffering) and the color (using HDR) was impressive enough to call this a “movie series.”
The episodes were reviewed on a 75-inch Sony Bravia with Dolby Vision HDR and the TV set in “Movie” mode to reduce brightness and overly saturated colors. We noticed that some highlights were slightly blown out in the sky (see image above), but other than that, black levels were rich and full of detail. The colors, especially in the firefly scene, were vivid and detailed. No banding (posting of colors) was noticed in the streaming video.
The soundtrack (reviewed separately on a 7.1 channel system and Sony Atmos soundbar) delivers a very crisp and dynamic range from low to high. Low frequencies are powerful with a subwoofer (or two!) installed. Surround sound effects are active with or without Atmos and provide an immersive experience for home viewing (surround effects are standard regardless of what your system supports). Dialogue is very crisp and always seemed to be clear over background effects and music.
Episode 1 “Shadow of the Past” and Episode 2 “Adrift” are a great start to the $715M series from Amazon Studios. The script (based on JRR Tolkien’s appendix and no specific novel), sound/video quality (4k/HDR/Atmos), characters and effects have certainly, at least so far, lived up to expectations. The series finale, episode 8, will be released on October 14, 2022.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power can be streamed from Amazon Prime on the Prime Video app for smart TVs, smartphones, tablets, media players and game consoles, as well as through browsers on PCs and Internet-connected devices.
Episodes can also be downloaded on supporting devices such as smartphones and tablets. Individual episodes will be available upon premiere and the entire season upon completion. Read How to Download Amazon Movies and TV Shows for detailed instructions.
Head over to Amazon Prime Video to watch The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.