Please Don’t Worry About 8K Televisions Yet

The best news out of CES involves flexibility, not resolution

By Kirk Miller

 
Samsung 8K
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09 January 2019

As someone who finally traded in a 2009 Sony Bravia — a high-def set that worked just fine — for an LG 4K TV, let me tell you something:

Ignore everything you hear about 8K for a few years.

You’re going to be hearing a lot about these ridiculously high-standard sets while the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is going on. And while it’s fun to read about 98-inch, $15,000 8K sets that are “more screen than your eyes can handle,” you simply don’t need ‘em yet.

A quick refresher: 8K quadruples the number of pixels from your already stunning 4K set. So yeah, they presumably look brilliant, but what exactly are you going to watch?

Let’s count the negatives here:

No one you’ve heard of is making anything for it. Companies like Netflix have come out and said they have little interest in making 8K content. (As Gizmodo points out, pretty much only YouTube is releasing 8K content.)

Brands are only just introducing these 8K sets this year globally, after a 2018 that saw only 400,000 total 8K sets ship (and those were pretty much in China).

Oh, and good luck getting that rich content through streaming. As this 2017 Light Reading article notes, “4K requires bit rates of between 15 Mbit/s and 25 Mbit/s for high-quality, fast-motion content like live sports. 8K could push those requirements up to 80 Mbit/s or even 100 Mbit/s for each channel/stream.” For the everyday home internet user, those Internet speeds are a few years away.

And a few reviewers have already claimed you can’t really tell the difference between 4K and 8K. (There is an idea that you can start noticing differences once the screen sizes get above a certain point; Light Reading suggests it’s 55-60 inches, which might be the reason the debut 8K sets at CES are so damn large.)

So relax. 4K TVs are finally the norm, comfortably under $1000, and — based on my three weeks with a set — still dealing with a lot of content that wasn’t built for such high resolution.

Besides, the really exciting CES trend in screens? LG’s flexible OLED, which retracts and disappears into a speaker base.

Because sometimes less is more.

Photos: Samsung

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