8K TV Is Coming
8K TV Is Coming
Oh boy is this is going to be an interesting one. So remember before how I was saying that TV technology seems to advance at a rate that’s nearly impossible to keep up with? Well that’s proving to be truer & truer every single day.
I mean think about it; just within the last 5 years even, we’ve seen the likes of 4K, High Dynamic Range, and extended color go from publicly unknown, to essentially mainstream in the blink of an eye. What makes it even more surprising is the fact that these aren’t minor upgrades either; each one is a groundbreaking advancement in it’s own right.
However when they are combined, it provides for an experience that transcends explanation. So with that, you would think industry leaders have pretty much done it all when it comes to display technology right?
Well…..not exactly because here’s the thing; 8k TV is coming.
(cue the angry mob)
The History Of 8K
As hard as this may be to believe, the thought of expanding to 8k resolution started as early as 1995 by the company NHK. For those of you unaware, NHK is a Japanese company that places an incredible amount of emphasis on innovation.
Because of this and unbeknownst to most, they’ve been at the forefront of technology for quite some time now. Be it 3D audio, high resolution cameras, etc, they were always one of the firsts to conceptualize it. However creating a concept, and actually executing an idea are obviously 2 different things.
So even though work started in 1995, it wasn’t until 2002 where it was first demoed (which is still insanely early)
2007 was the year where things really started to materialize as it was finally standardized as an official video format by SMPTE (Society Of Motion Picture & Television Engineers) with the interface later being standardized in 2010.
Here’s a full timeline on 8K if curious. http://www.nhk.or.jp/8k/history/index_e.html
What Is 8K TV?
So with all this talk of 8K, what exactly is it? Well to put it simply, 8K resolution consists of 7680 pixels horizontally, and 4320 pixels vertically.
Basically you can think of it as having 4 times the total pixels of current 4K TVs, and a whopping 16 times the resolution of HDTVs.
Talk about a lot!
Why Is 8K Necessary?
If you haven’t witnessed 8K for yourself, it’s likely that you’d be poised to think of this high a resolution as complete overkill. While I would have to partially agree with you (at least for now) there’s actually a surprising number of real world benefits where 8k would actually be a welcome addition.
Reason #1 : Elimination Of Visible Pixels
One really big advantage to having a screen resolution this high is that individual pixels become indecipherable to the human eye, even when viewed close up. A common issue with larger displays is that the larger you go, the blurrier an image gets at the same distance.
This reason for this can be attributed to the fact that the same ratio of pixels get spread over a much wider area as you go up in size. What 8K would allow for is bigger screens having a much higher pixel density; dramatically improving picture clarity and detail all around since there would be more pixels to better represent the nuanced details in the image.
That’s a major win, especially if movie theaters adopt the format. Going to the movies would be an entirely different experience all together when that happens.
Reason #2 : Better Quality 1080P/4K
Another thing that you may not be aware of is that 8K could give a measurable clarity boost to current 1080p and 4K resolutions.
Through something called down sampling. To put it simply, down sampling is a method where something is recorded at a higher resolution and then formatted to be played at a lower one. By doing this, a lot of the original information of that higher resolution is kept.
As a result, the final image, along with other small details, are made much clearer than they would be otherwise at that same resolution. Here’s a good video that goes over how that’s done if you’re curious.
By recording content at 8K, 4K (and even 1080p) movies would look dramatically better than they already do. The best part about it is you wouldn’t even need an 8K screen to benefit since film directors/engineers would be the ones to record it and format for current displays.
Reason #3 : True 4k Virtual Reality
First off if you’ve never tried virtual reality, I’d highly recommend doing so; it’s mind blowing. But a common restraint on the technology as it sits currently is that it simply can’t provide a high enough resolution to give a 1 for 1 likeness with real life.
This is because the pixel density that exists in current headsets comes up short since it has to be divided between both eyes. This is what creates that sense of full immersion. Even with a bump to 4K VR (which surprisingly exists) that feeling of clarity still isn’t there since it has to again, be divided between 2 eyes; effectively making it 2K.
With a massive jump to 8K, true 4k virtual reality would be made (for lack of a better term) a reality since you would be getting the full 3840×2160 per eye. And on a random note, if you happen to be in Tokyo for the 2020 Olympic Games, Intel has plans to stream it in 8K VR over 5G. Yeah. I can’t even fathom what that would be like either… https://www.tweaktown.com/news/61007/intel-5g-promises-8k-360-degree-video-tokyo-2020-olympics/index.html
Reason #4 : Improvements In Photo Editing
8K cameras are actually already available (for exorbitant amounts) But like most technology, they usually start off as really expensive tech demos before becoming commercially viable years later. The same holds true here.
But a major benefit for photographers is that 8K would offer more true to life images with impeccable amounts of visible detail. Here’s an interesting article on that if you were interested in that aspect of it. https://nofilmschool.com/2018/02/beauty-8k-large-format
Reason #5 : More Realistic Images
Here’s something you may not have realized, humans can decipher image resolutions higher than 4K. In fact, human vision has been said to be the equivalent of…(drum roll) 8K!
8K seems to be the upper echelon of what we can accurately distinguish; anything higher reaches a point of diminishing returns.
So with a resolution this high, content will finally be able to match our own visual acuity. More on that here if curious. https://www.pcgamesn.com/both-nvidia-and-amd-are-preparing-for-8k-for-the-human-eye-that-resolution-is-close-to-perfection?
When Will 8K Be Available?
Here’s the real question, when will it be available?! The answer to that is a little complicated since it technically is and isn’t available at the same time.
The reason I say that is because on one hand, there are already companies like Dell and Nikon that sell 8K monitors & cameras available to the public right now. I mean heck, even Sony recently demoed their own 8K TV.
Not to be outdone, Samsung also recently released a commercial 85 inch 8K television that you could buy right now, dubbed the Q900 (which comes at a premium of course) It even supports Samsung’s QLED technology so no doubt it likely looks incredible; especially considering Pocket Lint called it the best HDR television they’ve ever seen.
The mass switch from 1080p to 4k broadcasting hasn’t even happened yet (though that actually is in the works finally) Until the switch to ATSC 3.0 is finalized (which is the name of the switch to 4K resolution cable) and they can then turn their attention to 8K, we won’t see it for quite a while. The infrastructure has to be built for it, which will take time to say the least.
Until that happens, it’ll remain a far off concept with a lot of promise. Now the thing to keep in mind though, is that the availability of devices, and the availability of content are two completely different things.
If we’re talking about when you’ll be able to buy the first 8K TV, then you technically can right now since Samsung already has one available, and LG will be entering the foray with their own offering in June, 2019. But if you’re wondering when 8K will go mainstream with a good amount of content, then my honest estimation is at the very least a decade.
Some might think it could happen sooner than that, but with the amount of things that would need to be done for that to happen, I can’t see that as a valid possibility. I’d love to be wrong though, because it’s an amazing idea. But the fact remains that the networks still haven’t fully switched to even 4K.
So as much as I want it to be a major format sooner due to what it has to offer, it’s more likely than not that it won’t happen for a good 10 or so years.
While I haven’t been fortunate enough to see 8K in person, I have personally seen 5k and 6K. Truth be told, It was nothing short of absolutely amazing. So to picture something even higher than that is hard to wrap my mind around honestly.
In any case, while it may not be as soon as we’d like, it will eventually become the de-facto standard at some point in the distant future. When this does happen, the world of media will be drastically different from how it is today.
But the real question is, will this be for the better or worse? Like most things in life, only time will tell. Just remember, even though it’s not popular now, without a doubt 8K TV is coming. 😉
Hey everyone it’s nice to meet you. I’m Jasmere, the founder of Easy Home Theater. I’ve been with this hobby for many years now, and decided to create this site to share everything that I’ve learned from personal experience with you. I hope you find it helpful, and if you ever have any questions, be sure to reach out!