Originally Posted by woodhead2
I downloaded the Showtime app, and it doesn't seem as clear as Netflix, or Amazon. Kind of hesitant to try HBO
Yes. Both Netflix and Amazon offer lots of content in 4K and 4K HDR, while Showtime and HBO both are limited to 1080p. And even regular 1080p on Netflix and Amazon looks better than 1080p stuff from Showtime and HBO, which are about the same in terms of streaming picture quality.
As mentioned above, picture quality for Showtime and HBO looks a little better if you subscribe to them as add-on "Amazon Channels" within the Prime Video app. In that case, the streams are encoded and sent to you by Amazon. Note that if you subscribe to those services as Amazon Channels, you not only can watch within the Prime Video app but you also can use the Showtime Anytime and HBO Now apps if you want.
Sometime in the next few months, Apple is going to do the same thing as Amazon, offering add-on subscriptions within the TV app on Apple TV, iPhone and iPad. Given how good 1080p content streamed from iTunes looks, I imagine that Showtime or HBO streams via Apple will also look better than through the native Showtime and HBO apps. I'll probably switch my subscription over to Apple's TV app when that option becomes available.
The bigger question is how long can those "premium" services, which cost as much or more than Netflix, hold out on offering their original series in 4K HDR? Netflix and Amazon have been doing it for a couple years now already!