It seems like we’ve only had 4K for five minutes, but 8K has arrived, there’s a buzz around it, and of course everyone now wants to know if they need to jump on the bandwagon. We’ve got the answers.
First things first, what actually is 8K? We now know that 4K (often confused with UHD, which is actually a slightly lower resolution) is just like having four 1080 HD screens arranged in a grid, so 8K must be like having 8 of them right? Actually, no. 8K has a much higher number of pixels than that - it has 16 times the pixels of a normal HD screen, which is four times the pixels of a 4K screen. Imagine a 4x4 grid of HD screens, and you get an idea of how many pixels we’re talking about.
It’s safe to say that this translates to frankly amazing picture quality. It’s absolutely noticeable even over 4K, which is still hugely impressive. Football especially looks really good, and we’re not that far away from it genuinely looking like you’re watching from the stands. Bigger screens tend to do better at showcasing 8K’s ability, though there aren’t many small screens out there at the moment anyway.
Which leads us on to the next point - availability. Even 4K hasn’t found its way into everyone’s home just yet, so you won’t be surprised to know that at the time of writing, there aren’t any 8K TVs out for you to just jump online and buy. A few major manufacturers like LG have teased them, but they aren’t here just yet.
Which is a fairly moot point really, because as things stand, you and I have pretty much no way of getting hold of any 8K content anyway. It’s not broadcast anywhere yet, and there are only a very select number of video services that have some samples for you to watch. It is worth noting, however, that 4K scaled up to 8K is in fact better than just 4K alone. So, if you have money to burn when 8K TVs come out - you can potentially take advantage.
There you have it. 8K is here (actually, it’s been around for nearly five years but without a lot of attention), but it’s not really ready for the general market yet. You can go out and buy a 4K TV and you’re not going to feel left behind any time soon. In fact, you can go out and buy an HD TV and there’s still not that much more that 4K users can watch that you can’t!