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8K Ultra HD: everything you need to know

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In 2018 the time has come; As a consumer you can go to the store for a real 8K Ultra HD television. But, what exactly is that 8K resolution and can you already view content in 8K? In this article we discuss everything you need to know.

We are barely accustomed to the high 4k Ultra HD resolution, and we are dealing with more and more standards and techniques, including High Frame Rate ( HFR) and high dynamic range (HDR) . But the next development in the field of resolution is already around the corner; 8K Ultra HD

What is 8K Ultra HD?

8K Ultra HD stands for the resolution of image material. This means the number of horizontal and vertical pixels of an image. At 4K we speak of 3,840 at 2,160 pixels and 8K contains four times as many pixels; 7,680 at 4,320 pixels. An 8K image therefore contains even more pixels and more information. For clarification; 8K is sixteen times as sharp as Full HD (1,920 by 1,080 pixels).

8K Ultra HD televisions and players

To view 8K content you obviously need hardware that supports the resolution, starting with the television. In recent years, several prototype 8K televisions have been shown during exhibitions such as CES and IFA, but the consumer in the Benelux has not yet seen 8K televisions in the shops. In 2018 there will be a change, because various manufacturers have indicated that 8K now really bring to the consumer. Samsung is one of the first, with the Q9S series launched in 2018. The televisions in this series have a panel that can display the 8K Ultra resolution. But, the limiting factor at the moment is that 8K content can only be shown via streaming. Via HDMI the resolution is only supported when HDMI 2.1 is integrated, something that we expect in 2019. For now, Samsung also indicates that the TV particularly excels in ‘scaling up’ from lower resolution material to the high 8K Ultra HD resolution. Some 8K televisions are also available outside the Benelux. For example, Sharp has released some models in Japan that may also come to Europe.

About 8K Ultra HD players can hardly be heard at the moment, especially so first HDMI 2.1 must be used by manufacturers of players and televisions. As soon as that hurdle is taken and more clarity about 8K content via physical discs appears, the players will also follow.

8K Ultra HD content

In terms of content, 8K Ultra HD is also in its infancy. There are several large broadcasters, including NHK in Japan, who experiment with the high resolution but a stable supply of content is not yet available. The expectation is that the streaming services will support the higher resolution first. Vimeo and YouTube already do this and probably services such as Netflix and Amazon will soon follow when filmmakers release content in 8K.

When can we expect 8K Ultra HD?

For us in the Benelux we still have to wait have to have. As with the introduction of 4K Ultra HD the first hardware must have ‘upscaling’ and the introduction of content is still far away. Now the distribution of content will be faster at 8K since we all already have access to streaming services like Netflix and Amazon, but it is unlikely that these services already have a large offer within 2 years. At the moment we do not recommend 8K Ultra HD as an important factor when buying a new television. The hardware is not yet completely ‘futureproof’ and there is simply no content yet.