A lot is going on in the 8K realm! LG has just released its 88-inch 8K OLED TV for sale in the US, UK, France, Germany, and Australia. 8K broadcasts are also becoming popular, with providers like Netflix and Amazon diving into content in the highest resolution. Among these developments, the 8K Association has released a set of performance specifications for consumer 8K TVs.
The 8K Association and Industry Standards
The 8K Association or 8KA is an industry group with a mission to grow appreciation and awareness of 8K products. The organization develops performance and interface specifications and coordinates with stakeholders to facilitate the building of the 8K market.
8KA has various members like Panasonic, Samsung Electronics, Samsung Display, TCL, Intel, and Hisense. The organization is trying to create a standard in terms of display performance, color performance and other aspects. 8KA is also working on a logo that will be displayed on 8K TVs that meet the specifications.
So what attributes we are talking about?
The released tech specs mention a number of performance and technical parameters-
- 8K Input Parameters: the specs related to frame rate, bit depth and chroma sub-sampling
- Display Performance: 8KA has released the standards for resolution, color gamut, peak brightness, white point, and black level
- Interface & Media formats: relates to HDR and codec
Breaking down the specifications, here are the exact requirements-
- Resolution: 8K TVs should have a resolution of 7680 x 4320 pixels
- Input Frame Rate: 24p, 30p and 60p FPS
- Display Luminance: 600 nits peak Luminance or more
- Codec: HEVC
- Interface: All 8K TVs should feature HDMI 2.1
The 8KA has also released additional interface and performance specifications that are available to members only.
8KA Executive Director, Chris Chinnock, said that the specs developed by the organization show how 8KA is committed to the growth of the next-generation video technology. He also added that the endeavor proves the cooperative spirit of the stakeholders and their enthusiasm for expanding the 8K ecosystem.
The tech specs from 8KA give consumers an idea of what to expect from an 8K TV which has a logo of the organization. The specs will bring some standardization in the video industry where 4K has just turned mainstream.
The Impact on the Industry
We have seen companies like Sony, LG and Samsung proudly showcase their 8K TVs in various tech shows like the CES and IFA. In 2019, more brands like Huawei are joining the race and it has become much possible to own an 8K TV.
The performance specs from 8KA will not bring much change in the 8K TV industry. Almost all 8K TVs, no matter which company produces them, meet these specifications. Some players in the industry have also gone much further, offering higher specs and technological features in their current 8K TVs.
For instance, Samsung announced just now that its 8K TVs will support 8K HDR10+ content. You will be able to enjoy the feature in all UHD and 2019 8K TV models. HDR10+ makes dark and bright areas more prominent by maximizing contrast ratio and optimizing brightness.
Some manufacturers may have to make a few changes to their existing models. For example, the Sony KD-85ZG9 8K TV comes with four HDMI ports, but only one of them meets the 2.1 specifications from 8KA. That means only one of them supports 8K content at 60 FPS. The others are limited at 30 FPS.
These minute details are not much significant right now, given the limited external 8K content sources. But as 8K adoption grows, more manufacturers will be looking to meet the 8KA tech specs. Likewise, content providers will also start providing TV shows and movies meeting the key attributes.
The Availability of 8K Content in the Market
8K TVs will need 8K content. Right now, there is not much 8K content available as 8K TVs hit the market only last year. That being said, places like Japan have experimented with 8K content quite early on. The Japanese Broadcasting Corporation, NHK, conducted a series of 8K trials in 2015.
After another round of successful trials in 2016, NHK launched the world's first 8K channel in December 2018. Currently, the channel broadcasts 8K TV shows for 12 hours daily.
Hollywood has also started experimenting with 8K. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 were shot in 8K using the new RED Weapon 8K camera. Providers like Netflix and Amazon may soon offer 8K content, going by their quickness in jumping on the 4K bandwagon.
The video streaming site Vimeo has already released some 8K content. You will also find a handful of videos in 8K on YouTube.
With Japan promising to broadcast the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in 8K, we might be entering the world of varied 8K content soon enough!
So, Should You Buy an 8K TV?
Screen size and distance to the TV are crucial factors for making the most of 8K. You won't be able to notice much difference between 4K and 1080p if you are watching a 40-inch TV from your couch.
8K and 4K will have a similar distinction, though it may be too early to tell.
Right now, it doesn't make much sense to buy an 8K TV. The prices are unreasonably high and can set you back by thousands of dollars. The LG 88-inch 8K OLED TV that we talked about costs $42,000. Other 8K TVs are also similarly priced. The prices may take some years to even out as the fad around 8K dwindles.
The lack of 8K content also makes it worthy to wait out on your 8K TV. It will still take a few more years before 8K content becomes mainstream. So it pays to be patient!
Yet, if you have the budget and required room size, an 8K TV can surely be your pride and your neighbor's envy!