Just when everyone thought 4K televisions were going to rule 2018, the tech industry decides to one-up itself. Samsung, LG, and TCL all showed off their snazzy 8K televisions at the biggest European tech show, IFA 2018, last week. They’re not just a concept anymore (the first 8K TV debuted at CES 2013). Samsung’s QLED 8K TV is set to hit the stores end-September.
A standard 4K TV boasts a resolution of 3840×2160 pixels, which adds up to almost 8.3 million pixels. 8K technology will be twice of that squeezed into a paper thin frame. That’s a whopping 33 million pixels, each individual one coming together to generate a crystal-clear, ultra-sharp image.
But does anyone need that level of technology now? 8K is still very much in its infancy, and there’s hardly any streamable content that can proudly show off its fancy badge-of-honour. Even Netflix — champions of content streaming — only has a maximum of an Ultra HD resolution, which is a simpler term to say 4K.
The biggest blockbuster that was filmed entirely in 8K was Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Shot on RED’s WEAPON 8K VV cameras, the movie grossed over US$863 million (S$1.1 billion) worldwide. It definitely made its mark at the box office. But that’s just one movie, and there are only so many times you can watch Groot repeat the same three words.
Besides, 2018 is the year of mobile. Our smartphones and tablets with their OLED and retina displays are more than enough for the average pair of eyes. You can also take your movies and TV shows with you on the go with a single tap.
The commercialisation of 8K televisions is just the first step in taking high-definition to the next level. But as Neil Hunt, Netflix Chief Product Officer said in an interview, “The future of TV is in better pixels, not just more of them.” There is no need for you to go out and buy an 8K television now unless you’re a tech junkie set on future-proofing your home. It will take years before you’ll find a drama series worthy of its pixels. By then, 16K televisions will be the next big thing.