8K TV?

2001: A Space Odyssey launches 4K TV channel in Japan

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What is 8K TV?

By Daniel J. McLaughlin

No sooner than we have marvelled at the wonders of 4K television, cooing at the crystal clear image on the screen, there is another advance in technology. The one-upmanship is provided by 8K television - but is it double the quality on our small (or not-so-small) screens?

In fact, 8K offers four times the pixels you get with 4K. Whether it is 4K or 8K, we are talking about the resolution of the television screen. According to Trusted Reviews, it equates to the number of horizontal and vertical pixels that a screen can display. "The more pixels of an image we can see, the better quality the image should be," they explain.

For instance, Full HD (high definition) offers 1920 x 1080 pixels. Its successor, 4K, is 2840 x 2160 pixels. And 8K trumps them all with a total resolution of 7680 pixels horizontally and 4320 pixels vertically.

8K televisions will need bigger screens, and the demand for them is growing. The highest demand for better screens and larger displays comes from China, where the average size of a TV is 54 inches, Tech Radar reports. In the United States, it is 50 inches; and in Europe, it is 49 inches. "In fact, 55 to 59-inch TVs are the biggest-selling size of TV in Europe right now, and it's a sector that's grown by almost a quarter over the last year alone," they write.

Wired argues that there will be "little likelihood" of 8K delivery for years from TV broadcasters to video streaming services: "The amount of data generated by a resolution as big as 8K is huge, so to realistically deliver it will require highly efficient compression systems and massive amounts of bandwidth." The TV industry is still trying to adopt to 4K, let alone 8K. And even if TV and film shoot at a resolution higher than 4K, they are released in 4K, and effects-heavy productions are sometimes released in 2K.

8K televisions are being teased, but there is currently no 8K content. As Which notes, there are no 8K Blu-rays, streaming services or channels. The only way to watch something in the resolution is to travel to Japan, and check out the trial from national broadcaster NHS. Or "buy an extremely expensive 8K camera, hire some actors and make your own show".

8K television is the next step in terms of resolution. It will be bigger, better and clearer - but we are still catching up to the advance in technology. It's coming, but it's not here quite yet.

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