The launch of 8K TVs this autumn marks the fourth time in 20 years that the technology industry has promised a better viewing experience through an increase in television resolution. But will 8K give a visible improvement?
The term 8K refers to a screen resolution of 7,680 pixels above and 4,320 pixels high, compared to 3,840 by 2,160 pixels for today's 4K ultra-high definition (UHD) TV. There is no 8K programming available to consumers, so these TVs convert lower-resolution video to 8K.
But experts were not even convinced that 4K made a noticeable improvement. "When looking at typical viewing habits, the difference between HD and UHD was not noticeable," says Martin Banks, a visual science professor at the University of California, Berkeley. "The difference would be noticeable if you sat closer to the screen than the peers usually do." According to rtings.com, a viewer must sit within five meters of an 80-inch TV to see the difference between 4K and 8K.
Samsung's 85-inch QN85Q900, priced at $ 15,000, is likely to be the only 8K option that American video enthusiasts can buy in 2018. It has an artificial intelligence engine that analyzes the content of the image and optimizes its own best-performing settings.
Sharp's nearly $ 11,000 LV-70X500E 70-inch 8K TV is now available in Asia and Europe; The company says it will offer 60, 70 and 80-inch models in 2019. TCL recently demonstrated a 75-inch 8K model with Dolby Atmos surround sound. In addition, LG has shown an 88-inch model, and Toshiba a 65-inch, but none of the companies will predict pricing or availability.
Despite the questionable benefits and little selection for now, 8K TVs are likely to become standard. After all, 4K now dominates the television industry, although experts raised the same questions about it.