As technology advances at a break-neck pace and humans become ever more connected with each other, we are pushing the boundaries of what is possible. One of these possibilities is the concept of 8K resolution- images that are four times clearer than 4K images, and sixteen times clearer than standard high-definition. With this much visual power at our fingertips, the question must be asked: will 8K ever become a reality? In this article, we’ll take a look at 8K technology, its potential benefits, and the challenges it faces before it can become a reality.
What does 8k Technology means?
In spite of the popularity of 4K video on platforms such as YouTube and Netflix, its successor, 8K, is already at our doorsteps. So, how is 8K resolution different from 4K?
8K resolutions have four times the number of pixels as their predecessor (4K), making them simply the next generation of technology. Displays with nearly 8,000 horizontal pixels are defined as 8K displays. They have an exact dimension of 7680 x 4320 pixels, which is sixteen times as many pixels as standard FHD (full high definition, or 1920 x 1080) displays, which is about 33 million pixels.
Major Players pioneering 8K technology and what drives it
The 8K technology space is dominated by Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, Sony Corporation, Jvckenwood Corporation, Sharp Corporation, Canon Inc., Red Digital Cinema, Dell Technologies, Leyard Optoelectronics, and Digital Projection.
Several market players are trying to maintain their dominance in the global market by launching new products. For example, Samsung Electronics launched a line of 8k TVs in April 2022 called Neo QLED 8K & Neo QLED TV. These TVs are much more than just a TV, they can be a game console, a virtual playground, a smart hub. Samsung electronics is also working on flexible displays which will be able to view 8K content.
Large-screen TVs, wearables, and advances in smartphone displays are the main reasons 8K technology is growing. Besides the growing desire for 8K UHD displays over traditional imaging technology for better experiences, changing lifestyle preferences, and the willingness to use smart electronic devices have all contributed to the growth of 8K technology.
Is 8k Gaming possible?
Despite the fact that PCs have technically been able to output 8k resolution since DisplayPort 1.4, there are still a lot of limitations due to a lack of compatible monitors and GPUs. Until now, 8k gaming has been hampered by bandwidth, but with HDMI 2.1, which can theoretically support sources with up to 10k resolution and graphics cards that support them, this is slowly changing. NVIDIA’s RTX 3090 is the first graphics card to support HDMI 2.1, allowing for 8k @ 60Hz gaming over a single HDMI connection. It’s a big step towards 8k gaming.
It’s possible to play 8k on the PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles, but there are some limitations. For instance, the frame rate is one of the biggest drawbacks. A lower resolution allows you to play at a higher frame rate even on newer and more popular 8k TVs that only support compressed 8k at 60Hz. A serious gamer might want a 4k TV that supports HDMI 2.1 and take advantage of the new 4k at 120Hz consoles over 8k.
What does the future hold?
This new wave of 8K means we’ll see more electronic products with 8K resolution rather than TVs, like VR headsets, gaming systems, and projectors.
This means game experiences, movies, and social media will be more enjoyable. Movies and shows will even be available on streaming services in 8K.
For the most part, it shows how far technology has come and how quickly it’s evolving. It also means that 8K will often be paired with premium features and formats, so it may not always be a viable option.
8k content hasn’t hit the mainstream yet, but countries like Japan and China have been investing a lot in it. The vast majority of broadcasters and streaming platforms are expected to start offering 8k soon. The most 8k content is on YouTube, mostly demo footage of travels and landscapes.
On the other hand, movies are often shot in higher resolutions such as 4k, 6k, and increasingly 8k, but most movies are still finished in 2k (2048 x 1080 is the cinema standard) since movie theaters can only project 2k. The real advantage of shooting movies in higher resolution is that it gives you more editing and post-production options. However, due to the higher cost, storage, and processing power required to create and distribute true 8k content, industry standards are likely to move slowly.
So, no matter how amazing 8K TVs are, there’s less content for them. In the next few years, 8K displays and 8K content will become more widely available, but since newer and likely better TVs will be available then, it’s not necessarily worth buying one now unless you can afford it.