2019 is going to be the year of 8K for TVs in Australia with 8K being all the talk at CES just last month and actual 8K TVs set to land in stores in the first half of this year.
So, why 8K? Do you need to care? If you’re buying this year – why should you consider 8K? And most importantly – what will non 8K content look like on an 8K TV?
Lets break it down.
TVs are getting bigger, we’re not just talking 65 and enormous 75 inch TVs any more – we’re now talking 80-100 in TVs and that’s a large part of your lounge room wall we’re filling here.
What happens when you have a screen that big is that you start to get close to seeing the actual pixels. There’s no such thing as a Full HD 85 inch TV for a reason – It wouldn’t look great, at all.
A 4K 85 inch TV looks good, but it’s starting to push the limits of how your eyes and the TV interact.
Enter 8K – pack more pixels into the same sized screen and you start to get a greater definition to the picture.
Why consider 8K?
So you might be asking, why should I consider buying an 8K TV when there is virtually no 8K content currently available?
The number 1 reason to consider an 8K TV is if you plan to buy a mega TV. Certainly higher than 65 inches. With a 65 inch TV if you are sitting closer to it than a higher resolution will help, with the super-large sizes into the 70s, 80s and 90 inches you will really start to see the true benefit of 8K.
Then there’s the future proofing angle. You’re spending a lot of money on this new TV – it’s not a short term purchase. This TV might be with you for a number of years and streaming services are developing rapidly.
What will my favourite SD or HD and even 4K content look like on an 8K TV?
Long before any 8K content comes you’re still going to be flicking on your favourite shows and movies and they might be 4K if you’re lucky, are more likely to be Full HD and could even be SD.
This is where the power of the TV itself comes in. In time there will be a range of brands offering 8K TVs, just like there are today many options with 4K the real power isn’t in the number of pixels – it’s how the TV is able to arrange the content to fit into those pixels.
I spent some time at Samsung HQ in Korea late last year, they were demonstrating the most complex mathematical calculations used by engineers to determine which pixel shows what content on the screen.
Consider this – a 4K movie is storing information about 8.3 million pixels which make up the picture. An 8K screen has 33.2 million pixels on it – so how is that information spread around?
It requires powerful computer processors, and intelligent programming to help ensure that you see an incredible picture.
Although the picture quality of upscaled content will naturally vary depending on the quality and resolution of the source content, you should be able to notice on screen there are less jagged edges and more smooth lines, more detail and it really does show in a side by side comparison.
So when you’re buying a TV in 2019 – and 8K is an option for you, take some time to look at how well it copes with 4K, HD or SD content given the lack of 8K content – not just the demo reel being shown in store. The difference between one 8K TV and other might be quite stark.