8K Resolution - Beyond 4K

LG First To Bring 8K TV To Consumers With The 98UH9800
LG teams up with the MHL Consortium on the 98UH9800 8K LED/LCD TV. LG First To Bring 8K TV To Consumers With The 98UH9800

8K resolution represents 7680 x 4320 pixels (4320p - or the equivalent of 33.2 Megapixels). 8K resolution is effectively 16 times more detailed than 1080p. As a result, with that much detail, even if you are only a few inches away from a screen as large as 85-inches or more, the image appears to be "pixel-less".

The Main Force Behind 8K

One of the leaders in developing 8K resolution for television broadcasting is NHK of Japan which has proposed its Super Hi-Vision video and broadcast format.

This format is not only intended for displaying 8K resolution video, but also provides the capability to transfer up to 22.2 channels of audio. The 22.2 channels of audio can be used to accommodate any current or forthcoming surround sound format, as well as providing a way to supply multiple language audio tracks - which would make universal worldwide TV broadcasting more practical.

Stumbling Blocks In Implementing 8K

However, with billions of dollars having already been invested by broadcasters, manufacturers, and consumers on currently available HDTV technology, any widespread implementation of 8K resolution TVs and Super Hi-Vision TV broadcasting is still almost a decade away (about the year 2020) as current broadcasting and video format infrastructure cannot handle the extended bandwidth requirements - unless new breakthroughs in compression technology would be able to address this.

8K is not only a while off, but with 4K solidifying its position it in the mainstream consumer market, TV and home theater product makers aren't too excited about the prospect of having to retool again to accommodate 8K.

Also, as of 2016, standards for the future broadcasting of 4K resolution TV signals over the air or via cable/satellite is just in its infancy.

Also, while 8K resolution may be applicable for very large screen applications, 8K resolution on smaller screen sizes would be overkill - and then there is an issue of finding or producing 8K resolution content, as well as the cost for both broadcasters and consumers for not only the TV upgrade but other components.

Current Steps Towards 8K Implementation

However, despite the stumbling blocks facing mainstream application of 8K in the near future, NHK is aggressively testing 8K in the TV broadcasting environment with public tests having begun in association with the 2016 World Cup Soccer Tournament, with the eventual goal to provide 8K broadcasting feeds for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.

Of course, one issue is even if 8K broadcasting does become a feasible reality by NHK's 2020 target date - will TV manufacturers actually line up to make 8K capable TV sets for consumers that will actually be affordable.

To that end, Samsung and Sharp have both shown 8K TV prototypes at CES in past few years, and Sharp also showed off very interesting "beyond 4K" TV prototype at the 2015 CES which uses pixel-splitting technology to enable a 4K Ultra TV to display a screen resolution that approaches 8K. This approach may result in a practical 4K-to-8K bridge TV product that may bring the initial cost of buying into 8K for consumers more affordable. Also, for 8K connectivity, the MHL-consortium is pursuing physical connectivity options for further 8K-enabled source devices and forthcoming 8K TVs, and Silicon image has come forth with an 8K video processing chip.

How 8K Is Being Used Now

Although 8K has a way to go before becoming mainstream, where it is seeing use now on an increasing basis is in film restoration and mastering, where some movie studios, are taking select classic films and preserving them as 8K resolution digital files to be used in Blu-ray Disc and other high-definition mastering applications.

Even though the main current high-definition formats in use currently are 1080p and 4K, mastering from an 8K master ensures the best quality transfer available. Also, mastering in 8K means that films or other content would not have to be remastered every time a new high definition format comes into use for either theatrical or consumer applications.

More Info

Definitely, stay tuned as 8K developments proceed. This article will be updated accordingly.

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