Image Source: Flickr (Doug Kline)
We are still getting used to the idea of 4K television and most consumers are still waiting for more content to be available before purchasing a 4K compatible TV. However, the tech industry doesn’t hang around and it looks like the first 8K televisions could be hitting the stores any day now. Let’s take a closer look at what to expect from these new 8K screens.
What is 8K Technology?
First things first, let’s get down to the root of things by looking at what exactly 8K technology actually is and what it means for television viewers. 8K resolution is also known as Full Ultra HD (FUHD) and it is currently the highest resolution that exists in digital television and cinematography. The 8K in the name refers to the horizontal dimension of the picture which should be approximately 8000 pixels – the actual screen dimension is 7680 x 4320, but 7.68K doesn’t have quite the same ring to it! In order to put this into perspective, the current mainstream standard is HD which is 1080 pixels. As you can imagine, with so many more pixels, 8K is going to offer a much clearer and more detailed picture.
At present, manufacturers are pushing to make 4K (4096 x 2160) and Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) the industry standards by 2017, but this is already being seen as a stepping stone towards making 8K more mainstream. Samsung are reportedly pushing it even further with experiments into 11K resolutions in the works!
Just How Soon Can We Expect to See 8K TVs In Stores?
Most of the key electronics manufacturers have been experimenting with super hi-vision prototypes, but it looks like Sharp have won the race to produce the first commercially available 8K screen set to launch this month. However, before you prepare yourself to rush out and buy one you should be aware that the 85 inch top of the range television carries a price tag of around $133,000 which will no doubt make for some slow sales! Industry experts are predicting that 8K will not become a viable reality for most consumers until at least the end of the decade! Abhi Mallick of IHS Technology said, ”We’re not expecting 8K TVs targeted at consumers to be released until at least 2016, and we don’t expect they will cross one million units until after 2019.”
Do We Really Need Such Super High Definition?
As television viewers, we all want to get the best picture quality possible for the best television experience, but is 8000 (or even 11000) pixels taking it too far? It really comes down to a matter of personal preference, but there really is a massive difference in quality when you compare these new resolutions to even our current High Definition! Back when we were making the transition from standard definition to HD plenty of people thought it was all a gimmick, but now you would expect nothing less than full 1080p from not only your television screen, but also from your cell phone and other devices. It really just takes time to get used to a new format – of course, once the associated price tag lowers that becomes much easer too!
Another key factor which will influence how popular the 8K format will become is of course the amount of content that is available to watch. Right now although manufacturers are pushing 4K, if you check out the television packages that are available, for example http://satellitepackages.net/directv-select-package.html, then you will note that there are very few 4K channels being offered let alone 8K at the moment, so until that changes 8K can never become the norm.
There is little doubt that at some time in the future, 8K televisions will offer us a superior viewing experience, but perhaps the manufacturers need to give content the chance to catch up before they keep on pushing towards newer technology.