8K overhyped, or next big thing?

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Chris Chinnock, a respected figure on the high-resolution scene, and regular contributor to Display Daily, has been appointed to look after the newly-formed 8K Association (8KA). The grouping, which has AUO, Hisense, Panasonic, Samsung and TCL as member, and hopes to expand to include more brands and component suppliers over the next year.

Chinnock admits there are there are many doubters and naysayers regarding the need for 8K. “There is indeed some valid concerns and legitimate push back. I don’t see 8KA as simply a tool of the display industry to push a product that end users don’t want. Instead, I see our mission as one of listening to those naysayers and helping to craft solutions that address industry concerns,” he commented

He invites critics to – by all means – argue with him but, in essence, to ask whether 8K will follow the path of 4K adoption? “There are many parallels and similarities but there are also differences. For example, new 10.5G class fabs will enable larger sized (>65”) displays to be made at ever lower prices and so will be pushed into the market with many moving to 8K resolution. That is like the 55” 4K industry push over the last number of years. Market research firms predict that nearly every TV over 50” will be 4K by the end of 2019. Will everything over 65” move to 8K in six to seven years? Maybe.”

Chinnok also reminds us that the transition to 4K was aided by the introduction of new codecs – HEVC and VP9. In development of the next versions of these codec: Versatile Video Codec and AV1.

He also states accurately that the cost of production (and especially post-production) at the start of the 4K transition was much higher than HD/FHD production. “The same is true of 8K compared to 4K production today, but I think the relative cost is similar. Over time, 4K production costs have declined, so maybe 8K will as well.”

“4K adoption was led by OTT service providers. We think history will repeat for 8K, but we must dialog with these companies to understand what they need to make a business and technology case for an 8K service.”

“4K adoption was clearly aided by the introduction of HDR. HDR will be part of 8K TVs, so that extra boost in visual performance won’t be there. But, 8K TVs will require better upscaling which is driving the use of sophisticated AI algorithms that can continue to learn and improve. This will be especially important when upscaling SD and HD content and where bandwidth limitations introduce objectionable encoding artifacts.

“Adoption of 4K by broadcasters has been very slow and we don’t expect them to embrace 8K except in some special circumstances (there will be a bunch of 8K cameras for the Super Bowl, I understand, and for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and other sporting events,” he suggests.

Chinnock admits that there are 101 aspects to the transition to 8K that need addressing, and that this move is just the beginning. But so was the introduction of 4K back in 2012/2013 (just as long as it doesn’t develop into a 3D ‘white elephant’).


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