Advanced Television

Report: 8K mirroring 4K evolution

May 24, 2019

By Chris Forrester

A major report in Display Daily focuses on 8K, and asks whether viewers need the new technology, what difference the technology makes and – key for most buyers – are 8K displays worth the extra cash?

“Much of the criticism of 8K TV has been that you can’t see the extra pixel when viewing the TV from typical viewing distances of 8-10 feet. This assessment is based upon standard measure of visual acuity – i.e. how well we can see based on the Snellen eyechart. The argument is that adjacent pixels in an 8K TV are so close that we simply can’t resolve them. While the science behind this conclusion is solid, human vision is far more complex than the simple acuity metric might suggest. The reality is that you can see the difference between a 4K and 8K TV image.”

The report argues that 8K makes a material difference. There’s a 35 percent improvement overall on 4K, an improvement of 30 percent in Image quality, and a 30% improvement in Depth perception.

“Two recent studies are confirming this. In one study by Dr. YungKyong Park of Ewha Womans University in Seoul, side by side 4K and 8K 65” TVs were set up and calibrated at 500 nits of peak luminance. Observers were pre-tested to be sure their simple acuity was 20/20 and that they had normal colour vision. All 120 observers sat 9 feet from the displays in a dark room – typical nighttime TV viewing conditions. All participants were shown the same 16 images and 3 videos representing a perse range of visuals.”

But more pixels are also very beneficial for creating more realism in colours. Subtle hue changes can result in banding of these colours even if there is sufficient bit depth. Having four pixels to change the hue instead of one leads to a smoother and more lifelike image.

Inevitably the argument will also cover the availability – or more accurately non-availability – of content.  “It is true that is limited native 8K content today, but that was also true of native 4K content 5 years ago. Today, there is a decent amount of native 4K HDR content available and I believe 8K content will come along at a similar pace in the coming years,” states the report.

“Japan is already broadcast 8K content on an 8K satellite channel and is gearing up to broadcast the full 2020 Summer Olympics from Tokyo in 8K. With this precedent set, it will be hard for major sporting events to now not be captured in 8K. China is expected to be a major market for 8K TVs so content creation is expected to heat up there soon, and also in Korea. In Europe, Rakuten in Spain has announced the first 8K streaming service.”

“Streaming service providers led the adoption of 4K and I expect them to lead with the adoption of 8K. None have made public announcements yet, but with the introduction of improved compression technologies in the next 2 years allowing 8K streaming at acceptable data rates, don’t be surprised to see these companies vying to be the leader in 8K streaming. And, Sony has announced that the next PlayStation platform, PS-5, will be 8K capable. This is also expected to arrive in 2020.”

The report says that all the pieces are coming together to drive creation of 8K content in 2020 and beyond. But the reality is that almost all content for the next two years is going to be in 4K and 2K resolution, and asks whether this isn’t a problem? In short, no.

“The new 8K TV have very powerful upscaling engines that create an image that has more pixel than the incoming image. Upscaling has been done for decades in all kinds of devices where the incoming image resolution does not match the display resolution. But this term is now obsolete because the algorithms to do this are now much more sophisticated. Maybe a better term is image restoration.”

“The pieces for the 8K transition are in place and progressing in ways that mirror the way 4K was adopted. There remain headwinds for the wide adoption of 8K, but similar headwinds were faced by 4K 5 years ago – and look where we are today. I expect the 8K roll out will likely be a little slower and less comprehensive than the 4K roll out. Nevertheless, 8K images and even images restored from lower resolution content are already compelling today and they will only get better and more abundant in the future,” quotes Display Daily.

Categories: Articles, Equipment, UHD, Ultra-HD/4K