If you're watching pirate streams and end up with some poor quality video, there's not a whole lot you can do about it. While plenty of people will moan about it, and blast the people responsible for ripping the content, at the moment quality issues seem to be affecting anyone trying to watch Amazon content - regardless of whether they're stealing it or going through the correct channels (better known as subscribing).
TorrentFreak reports that the piracy community have been up in arms about the quality of Amazon Prime content this week. While many of them are annoyed with the piracy released groups, assuming it's their fault, some people have noted that the issue actually seems to be over at Amazon's end - even affecting the people who aren't pirates. Groups on Reddit have noticed that TV series filesizes and bitrates have been decreasing, leading to worse content.
Naturally there are plenty of theories as to why this is the case, but nobody knows the real story because Amazon has stayed silent on the matter. Amazon reps have allegedly told at least one legitimate user that the problem was “probably on his end”, though that user claimed to have used different devices and viewing methods without change. He compared the quality to watching a DVD, instead of the high definition content he paid for.
Meanwhile piracy groups have jumped on the criticism bandwagon to have a go at the retail/streaming giant, particularly noted release group DEFLATE ,, who released the following in a file attached to S02E07 of The Good Fight:
“Amazon, in their infinite wisdom, have decided to start fucking with the quality of their encodes. They’re now reaching Netflix’s subpar 1080p.H264 levels, and their H265 encodes aren’t even close to what Netflix produces.
Netflix is able to produce drastic visual improvements with their H265 encodes compared to H264 across every original. In comparison, Amazon can’t decide whether H265 or H264 is going to produce better results, and as a result we suffer for it.”
These are only being done in H265 because Amazon have shit the bed, and it's a choice between a turd sandwich and a giant douche
A source speaking to TorrentFreak believes that the issue may arise with how Amazon encoded its videos, using a profile “right on the edge of relatively good quality” that kept bitrates low without having much noticeable effect on the overall quality. Now though they theorise that Amazon attempted to reduce the bitrate and file size for an unknown reason - resulting in video that's more akin to SD than HD.
I've reached out to Amazon for comment, and will update if I hear back. [TorrentFreak]