You may have just purchased a new 4K flat screen TV and now 8K televisions are coming out later this year. Does that mean your new TV is obsolete? In talking to video production companies like Snowy Peak Entertainment and looking to experts like PC Magazine the answers is yes and no.
4K technology is still so new that people were shocked to hear experts like PC Magazine senior analyst Will Greenwald say that 8K TVs would be entering the US market by October 2018 with Samsung’s Q900FN QLED 8K. Before that, big TV manufacturers like Samsung, LG, and Sony had only shown their future 8K technology at industry press conferences with nearly all of their limited sales being in the Asian market.
Just as 4K is quadruple the pixel count of 1080p, so 8K is the quadrupling of the number of pixels in 4K since the horizontal and vertical pixels are each doubled. This gives 8K TVs 16 times the pixel count of 1080p HD! The simple terms 4K and 8K are used to express the number of horizontal pixels, which are rounded to 4,000 and 8,000 respectively. In other words, the industry could have just as well used the term 2K instead of 1920 by 1080p since from 1080p HD to 4K UHD to 8K each resolution is double the horizontal pixels of the previous one.
In the United States as in most places, 4K has only recently become the standard resolution for TVs over 40 inches. Although 4K TVs and movies are now widely available, popular streaming and digital services like Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu are still offering most of their programming in 1080p resolution. On this account, many people still prefer native 1080p resolution to upconverting 1080p to a 4K television, especially since the difference in resolution is less noticeable on TVs less than 40 inches.
The change has been very gradual from SD to HD and from HD to UHD, not merely because of the initial costs of higher resolution TVs, but because of the equipment upgrades needed with each increase in resolution. Higher resolution requires upgrades in cables, computers, game consoles, video players, and streaming devices so that often some sectors of the industry are slowing down the overall change to higher resolution. Not only is this ongoing transition to 4K a reality for the average consumer, but also for professionals.
professionals are still transitioning over to producing 4K content to match the
growing consumer market. Snowy Peak, a video production company based in
Denver, Colorado, has already had to upgrade their post-production equipment to
deliver 4K quality. They have upgraded their network infrastructure and
computers to double the storage capacity to make native 4K resolution possible.
With the advent of 8K TVs, production companies will need to make even investments
into future 8K technology.
Thankfully for 4K consumers and professionals, not only is 8K TV still in its infancy, but it will take years for 8K content to catch up to 8K TV availability just as 4K content is still catching up to 4K TVs. The price of 8K TVs will initially be very high for the average consumer like 4K TVs were, and along with needed upgrades in video devices and accessories, the 8K HDR or high dynamic range formatting of TV broadcasters has yet to be developed. The future of 8K TV and its superior quality to 4K is very promising, but for consumers and video production professionals the availability of 8K content is still a long way off. So is your brank new 4K television obsolete? No because there is not really any thing you can watch right now in 8K. Yes because there is one standard higher and only time will tell if that becomes the new standard for high quality entertainment.