The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premiered last night on Amazon Prime Video (9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT) and after a few snags delivered beautiful, 4k imagery with HDR (on screens that support it) and sound in Dolby Atmos to deliver an immersive audio experience.
What were the snags? Many Prime subscribers hoping to start streaming at exactly 9 p.m. or 6 p.m. (depending on your side of the country) could not load Episode 1. In fact, on our own mobile devices, the Prime Video app just displayed a “Loading” message. And, while attempting to access the series through an Apple TV 4k media player Episode 1 would just not open. Other viewers complained that only Episode 2 was loading at first.
Still though, with millions of users attempting to stream all at the same time the episodes did load fine after just a few minutes, and in sequential order. The quality of the 4k image did not suffer (we were expecting some buffering) and the color (utilizing HDR) was impressive enough to call this a “cinematic series.”
The episodes were reviewed on a 75″ Sony Bravia with Dolby Vision HDR and the TV set in “Film” mode to reduce brightness and overly-saturated colors. We did notice some highlights were blown out a little in the skies (see the image above), but other than that the black levels were rich and full of detail. Colors, notably in the fireflies scene, were vibrant and detailed. No banding (posterization 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 of lows to highs. 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 default whatever your system supports). The dialogue is very sharp 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 J. R. R. Tolkien’s appendices and no specific novel), audio/video quality (4k/HDR/Atmos), characters and effects have certainly, at least so far, met expectations. The series finale, Episode 8 will release on Oct. 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 web 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 when complete. Read How To Download Amazon Movies & TV Shows for detailed instructions.
Jump over to Amazon Prime Video to watch The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.