What is 8K TV?

What is 8K TV? It is the very latest in flat panel display technology available to consumers. The advancement of TV technology is happening so fast that images that were groundbreaking just a couple of years ago are now being overshadowed by even more impressive offerings. The leap from standard definition to high definition completely changed the home viewing experience. The introduction of 4K has been an equally market-changing shift, especially as more and more content becomes available.

8K or Ultra HD (UHD) is the latest option that has moved, from something only seen in prototypes to a readily available consumer product you can install in your living room today. But what is 8K, how much better is it than existing 4K TVs and, is it worth the upgrade from your 4K set?

What is 8K?

Before we can answer the question “What is 8K TV?” we need to understand the evolution of resolution. 8K is currently the highest resolution flat-panel display available to consumers. At first glance, it may seem that 8K would offer twice the resolution of 4K. However, the format delivers four times the resolution, providing twice as many vertical and horizontal pixels.

Because the display is a rectangle, you multiply the vertical and horizontal and arrive at 33,177,600 pixels compared to 8,294,400 pixels on a 4K TV. That is enough to make a startling difference. That resolution is 16 times that of standard HD, meaning those who are skipping 4K and moving straight to 8K will likely be astounded by the difference.

This chart answers, “What is 8K TV" by comparing it to previously available resolution.

This increase of pixels from one generation to another can be seen in the following comparison chart:

What is 8K TV? This image show graphically the differences between SD, HD, 4K and 8K TV.

How Much Better is 8K than 4K?

Going all the way back to standard HD, 1080p sets, the standard was set at 2 megapixels, which was groundbreaking at the time. 4K moved that bar to 8 megapixels. Considering that 8K expands that to 33 megapixels, we are now talking about an exponential difference. This technology has the potential to create a new level of life-like immersion, especially for larger-format displays.

As a comparison, traditional 35mm film is equivalent to about 6K. 70mm IMAX film is, visually, more like 12K. However, digital effects in IMAX films are created in 8K. This means, especially given the relatively smaller picture size of 8K TVs, you have the potential to have an IMAX-like experience in your own home.

The verdict is still out on how much a difference 8K will make on smaller displays. However, currently, the smallest 8K set on the market is 65″, and that is where the exponential increase in pixels really makes a difference.

Who is Currently Offering 8K TVs?

  • Samsung was the first to widely release options in 8K its Q900R series of Ultra HD 8K sets. They are available in three sizes, 65″, 75″, and 85″. The Q950R series is their second generation and is available in 65″, 75″ and 82″.
  • Sony’s Master Series ZG9 will be available later this year and will be sold in 85″ and a massive 98″ set.
  • LG’s Z9 OLED TV 8K, also available later this year will initially be offered only in 88″.

All of these TV, being offered as premium lines provide the very latest technology in every aspect of the units. Samsung is showcasing its latest QLED and 8K Quantum Processor.  Sony is showing off its Picture Processor X1, TRILUMINOS™, and 8K X-Reality™ PRO all designed to get the most out of all the pixels. Meanwhile, LG is promoting itself as the first 8K OLED to hit the market.

The state-of-the-art features in these sets are impressive in their own right, before even adding the 8K resolution.

What is 8K TV Going to Offer in Content?

What is 8K TV going to offer in terms of content? Producers and delivery platforms are rushing to keep up with the advances in display technology. While content providers are now delivering more and more 4K content, it will be a little while before 8K content becomes mainstream. However, the roll-out of 8K may happen faster than the transition to 4K. Hollywood filmmakers are already beginning to shoot in 8K, meaning it won’t be too long before this content is available, at least on a limited basis.

Streaming service provider Rakuten TV, currently available in the UK, has announced that it will be delivering 8K content by the end of 2019.

While, for the moment, there is a lack of commercial and feature-length content, 8K TV owners can view a considerable amount of content on internet video services Vimeo and YouTube. Both services boast thousands of titles and are adding more each day.

Upscaling

Even if there is a wait for an abundance of true 8K content, up-scaling technology means that you will be able to see a noticeable difference on an 8K TV even while watching 4K content. Samsung’s 8K sets are equipped with a dedicated 8K processor with built-in artificial intelligence to optimise the content, frame by frame to make the most of the 8K display.

Is it Worth It?

A question more important than, “What is 8K TV?” may be “Is it time for me to upgrade?” For large-screen TVs, 8K is a revolutionary breakthrough pushing the limits of technology to reach closer to the limits of human sight. If you are expecting to have access to the hottest movies and TV shows in 8K, you have a little while to wait. However, the upscaling capabilities of 8K sets and the latest picture enhancement technology make them impressive even with 4K content. The availability of independent productions via online video services will allow you to get a glimpse at the possibilities of 8K while we wait for mainstream adoption.

Whether the investment in an 8K TV is the right choice is up to each individual consumer, but 8K is certainly an absolutely stunning picture and a giant leap forward in display technology.