8K TVs are finally here, with the likes of LG, Sony, Toshiba, Hisense, and Samsung leading the latest HD TV technology industry. The future of smart UHD TVs has just begun and this is everything we know and think you should know about the new smart 8K TVs.
Earlier this year at CES, we were completely amazed by the new 8K TVs shown off by LG and Samsung.
While this looked exciting at first, many couldn’t help but wonder, “Why in the world do we need an 8K TV resolution when we are still trying to adapt to the 4K?” and even if there is need for a higher resolution TV, the problem of contents popped in, “How do we find 8K Tv content when we many people are still struggling with getting 4K content?
Considering the fact that we’ve barely started the switch to 4K, and now 8K TVs are already on the market, the above questions are pretty much worth asking. However, here’s everything you need to know about 8K.
What is 8K TV?
8K Tv or the term 8K resolution refers to the horizontal resolution of the TV — that is, how many pixels run across the display from left to right. 8K TVs have twice as many horizontal pixels, but they have four times as many total pixels as 4K—and 16 times more than 1080p—when you look at the entire surface area.
In short, it’s a lot of pixels in one device, its 16 times the pixels of HD and four (4) times the pixels of 4K: Mathematically, 8K resolution = 7,680 × 4,320, or simply put, 33 million pixels (33,117,600, to be exact), instead of the regular 3,840 × 2,160 (8,294,400 pixels).
If you find that confusing, this visual image from digital trends will give you a better understanding.
Different TVs and their Pixels
- A 720p TV (or HD) is measured at 1280 pixels wide by 720 pixels tall.
- A 1080p TV (a.k.a. Full HD or FHD) is measured at 1920×1080 pixels.
- A 4K TV (a.k.a Ultra HD or UHD) is measured at 3840×2160 pixels.
- An 8K TV is measured at 7680×4320 pixels.
A careful look at the resolutions of these TVs reveals that after the 720p, both the horizontal and vertical pixels doubles with each new standard. This doubling in both directions is what leads to a vast jump in overall pixel count, and 8K TVs are just packed full of pixels.
8k TV Revolution: A Brief History of 8K TV so far
Looking at the new ultra-HD Tv, you might think this is a new technology invented in 2019. But the truth is, the 8K Tv concept was first thought about in 2000 by the Japanese broadcasting media NHK and was later branded 8K in 2012.
Before CES 2019 where things finally kicked off with Samsung, LG and sharp unveiling their 8K TV’s, Sharp showed off the first actual 8K TV at CES 2013, with an impressive 85-inch model. Although it wasn’t made available for consumers and home owners to purchase.
In following years, other companies began manufacturing and put on display their own 8K TV prototypes, even as content providers and media houses were struggling to keep up with 4K. Everything eventually changed, when the Japanese broadcaster NHK kicked off the first 8K satellite broadcasts in 2016. Of which part of the Rio Olympics 2016 in 8K, though viewers could only watch them in that resolution at special theaters.
8K Contents: Are they ready yet?
In November 2017, Vimeo, a video-streaming site added support for 8K, and currently now has over 6,000 (six thousand) videos tagged as 8K. YouTube on the other hand, adapted the 8K resolution and boasts thousands of 8K videos, although its search filters only let you look for 4K as a maximum resolution, which is strange.
In December 2017, NHK launched a test channel dedicated to showing 8K content, a test channel which later went on to become permanent in 2018. Thus, enabling Japanese consumers to enjoy this (limited) 8K content in their homes right with the right equipment installed.
8K TVs can upscale 4K content to 8K
According to Samsung, 8K TV’s can upscale 4K contents to 8K. For those who do not understand that properly, what it means is that you can watch 4K contents in an 8K Tv with an even clearer UHD of the content. Native 8K content isn’t the only reason to have an 8K TV if you’re looking at a large screen size.
To prove this point, Samsung put two 85-inch TVs side by side. While the first was playing 4K content in 4K, the other was up-scaling 4K content to 8K. The difference was very clear, with the upscaled 4K video playing on the 8K TV looking visibly.
How it’s done
Samsung’s latest 8K TVs are equipped with a dedicated 8K processor with an artificial intelligence system designed to upscale 4K content frame by frame in real time.
8K Content Providers: Where will 8K Content Come from?
While the new 8K television revolution might seem impossible to some, obviously because many are still trying to get 4K right, its growing faster than expected.
The most notable places to produce 8K contents are:
- Traditional TV production studios such as Netflix and HBO
- Olympics and sports viewing centers
- Microsoft, Dell, HP and other computer manufacturers
The first obviously producer of 8K contents is Hollywood, whose directors have already kicked off the use of the new RED Weapon 8K camera. While you may not be aware, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has already been filmed this way in 8K.
Traditional TV production studios such as Netflix
When 8K TVs goes truly commercial, there will be a growing market of 8K content from media houses such as Netflix, who is also pioneering the 4K Ultra HD movie streaming currently.
Olympics and sport viewing centers
The Tokyo Olympics is just around the corner, and will be broadcast in 8K by NHK in Japan. This means waiting until 2020 when everything officially kicks off.
Microsoft, Dell, HP and other computer manufacturers.
My guess though is that they will be on a custom order.
Does 8K TV need HDMI 2.1?
The simple answer is Yes, 8K TVs also needs HDMI 2.1 and they will all come packed with the new specification of the HDMI cable, which will of course allow 8K resolutions to pass through for the first time. Generally speaking, HDMI 2.1 is a major enabler of the 8K resolution and all other 8K tech displays, making sure TVs accept 8K resolutions at 60 frames per second (or 4K resolution at 120 frames per second).
8K TVs aren’t likely to feel like a necessary purchase for high-definition tech display among smart home owners and gamers right now, but there’s already enough content on the horizon for us to expect a bright future for the high-def technology.