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8K Resolution: What Does This Bring TV Users and PC Players?

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At the IFA exhibition, Sharp introduced a new television and monitor with 8K resolution, designed for regular sale. After years of testing, the 8K format ushers in a new era for the world of television, entertainment and more.

8K

4K is Already Standard

Where are the times when Ultra HD 4K resolution was a hot novelty? Today, a lot of Internet video services (like Netflix) offer videos in 4K, you can order 4K Blu-ray dvds online within seconds, and even on Youtube you will find more and more videos in 2160p resolution. 4K resolution is now standard, and it was only a question of time until the 8K format, which began testing as early as 1995, would make its way to the light.

The First 8K Television in the Wkorld

It's happening right now! At the IFA exhibition, Sharp introduced a new 8K television; it will no longer be just a subject of research or a mere object of presentations, but available for regular sale.

The TV is called Aquos (the full name being Sharp LC-70X500) and it is available in China from October, in a 70" format. In December, Aquos should arrive in Japan and Taiwan, but Europe will have to wait until spring of the next year for the first 8K televisions. 

Sharp LC-70X500
Sharp Aquos LC-70X500, the first 8K television on the market. The television was introduced in Berlin.

Over the course of time, the TV should be available in other sizes, namely 60, 65, and 80" formats. The Sharp LV-70X500E 8K monitor will also be on the market, and it is clear that 8K will be one of the leaders of this year's CES 2018 .

8K Resolution is 16 Times Better Than Full HD

Now let's talk about the 8K format itself. It offers a resolution of 7680×4320 pixels, or 4320p. Compared to 4K resolution with 2160p, it boasts 4x more pixels.

While the amount of feedback on 8K in practice is still very low, according to initial impressions, it seems that we have something to look forward to. If your current television has a maximum of 1080p resolution, the 8K format will offer you a 16x more detailed picture!

 The difference between Full HD, 4K and 8K

The 8K image is so detailed that even when viewed close-up, the pixel grid will not be seen on conventional screens. Even with your nose touching the screen, you won't be disturbed by the unsightly and familiar "squares." Sharp says 8K will reproduce images at "ultimate reality" with "details even the naked eye cannot capture." 

As for other features, the 8K format supports HDR, so you can enjoy highly detailed images with high-quality colours and wide contrast.

An Incredible 8K Monitor for PC Gamers

8K resolution will not only be for watching movies and TV shows. As mentioned above, Sharp will launch the LV-70X500E 8K monitor in addition to the new TV. But that's not all. In our offer on Alza you can find two 8K monitors that won't be as expensive as the televisions.

If you're interested in what game play will look like, 8K resolution offers a frame rate of up to 120Hz, which is twice that of standard screens. With 8K resolution, the monitor offers gamers a whole new dimension. However, we will still have to wait for efficient hardware components that can handle such a huge number of pixels at a high frame rate - given that today's available graphics cards sometimes choke even at 4K.

8K monitor

But it's not just about games: you can enjoy incredible image quality for watching movies, TV shows, or sports programmes on your monitor, and if you'll be right in front of your screen, you'll appreciate the pixel-free 8K image. 

Super Hi-Vision Offers Up To 24-channel Sound

8K offers not just great a picture but also high-quality sound. Super Hi-Vision boasts incredible 22.2-channel sound.

In practice, this means that if you want to build a home cinema, you can create surround sound in your living room with 2 subwoofers and up to 22 speakers! It will be up to you to arrange the sound system according to your preferences, but with Super Hi-Vision, you always have more options.

i Know how to set up a home cinema? If not, get inspired by our article "How to choose a home cinema."

It's not just for a home cinema set-up, but also for regular TV broadcasts: if switched to 22.2-channel Super Hi-Vision, it would mean that movies, news, TV shows, and sports broadcasts could be broadcast in multiple language versions at the same time, and you would just choose your own. This option supports the idea of creating global televisions that could distribute one broadcast to multiple countries simultaneously.

The Japanese public broadcaster NHK, which is one of the world's foremost pioneers in the field of 8K resolution, is now lobbying for future television broadcasting in Super Hi-Vision that would make full use of the 22.2-channel sound.

Early Problems with 8K Resolution

There are many things about 8K resolution to look forward to, but as is always the case with progress, it comes with complications.

The first unpleasant fact is that the first 8K televisions will certainly be very expensive - there is not much optimism in this regard, but perhaps at least 8K monitors will not be as expensive as first assumed.

Sharp LC-70X500

Another issue: 8K content. Where do you get videos to watch in 8K resolution? The only 8K content currently available is provided by the before-mentioned Japanese NHK television via satellite broadcasting.

Yet, you can already find the first 8K content on Youtube, but so far it consists of promotional videos, especially landscapes - not what you would like to spend the night watching on TV.

NHK is now intensely looking for ways to get 8K resolution into a regular TV signal. However, this effort runs into the problem of an overloaded TV band, and even after the successful completion of the DVB-T2 transition, there is no guarantee that it will be enough.

And while we're at it: The 8K signal stream is so extensive that the existing HDMI cable won't be able to handle it, so you'll need to use the latest interface standards.

Television tower in Berlin

However, NHK isn't giving up and is already planning the first 8K broadcasts to be premiered at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 (but it should be noted that this is a slip since the premiere of 8K transmissions was already scheduled for the sports broadcasts of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games).

As for movie players, this will also be difficult: movies will have to be converted to a new format and burned to new 8K Blu-ray discs, which will force you to buy a new 8K Blu-ray player. Sharp, along with NHK, is aware of this and is already furiously developing new 8K receivers and 8K cameras to make the creation of an 8K ecosystem as quick and smooth as possible.

If you are not interested in an 8K TV and are more intrigued by 8K monitors for playing games, you will not have it easy either (nor cheap). As we have described above, playing 8K games requires the most powerful hardware, which even nowadays does not guarantee a seamless experience for graphically demanding titles. We will have to wait for the next generation of graphics cards and processors.

Finally, it should be noted that Sharp promises that 8K resolution is useful not only for entertainment, but also for medical, business, and other contexts. Whether this is true or not, only time will tell.

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